Microsoft Studio’s Creative Director Causes PR Nightmare on Twitter

A Microsoft Studio’s creative director goes on a embarrassing Twitter rant, and in doing so, might have spilled the beans on a key aspect to the next Xbox.

Xbox 720 Not In 2012 Image

Kotaku, Edge, and a wave of other gaming news outfits have recently hit upon a saucy rumor about Microsoft’s next console – codenamed Durango – that doesn’t seem to want to go away like I’d wish Harlem Shake videos would do.

In the past weeks and months, numerous unnamed sources within the gaming industry have hinted that the heir apparent to the Xbox 360 will need a persistent online connection to play its games, a situation almost similar to how the latest SimCity from Electronic Arts worked.

And given how well that turned out for EA (hint: not so good), plus the immediate negative response from a good swarm of gamers to all mentions of the words “always online” regarding next-gen consoles, you would think the proper response to such claims would be a tried-and-true “no comment.” It’s SUPER EFFECTIVE, I hear.

That insightful memo probably didn’t reach the desk of Adam Orth though, a creative director down at Microsoft Studios, who took to the social soapbox of Twitter to give his own opinion on the matter, and in doing so, possibly earning him in my eyes at least, the coveted award of bone-head of the year.

Here are his tweets, collected by the helpful members of the NeoGaf forums – thanks, you guys – right before Orth locked down his Twitter account due to the swift backlash that his comments made; context-wise, I should note that the conversation that Orth is having is with a game designer at Bioware:

Adam Orth's Twitter comments image 1

Ai caramba!

Oh, but it gets worse as Adam Orth continues with his Twitter rant. You want to know what’s worse than taking pot-shots (albeit jokingly) at people who live in middle-of-nowhere cities? Using lame analogies to make your point! Case in point:

Adam Orth's Twitter comments image 2

Horrid analogies in the history of horrid analogies aside (Seriously? You’re comparing a vacuum to the Internet? That’s the best you can come up with?), Orth’s tweets soon made the rounds of media outlets such as Venture Beat, JoyStiq, GameInformer, and parts elsewhere. Heck, it actually trended worldwide on Twitter for a good day and a half.

And honestly, I’ve seen some public relations blow-ups before (Geeze, SimCity’s online disaster is barely a month old or so for Pete’s sake!), but holy cow duders, this one ranks CRAZY high in my book.

Not only does Orth act totally condescending towards people who live in non-major cities (ahem *points at self*), but seeing as he works for Microsoft, who’s about to reveal their next console soon enough, shouldn’t he be – oh, I dunno – not giving his opinion on the matter.

Adam Orth's Twitter comments image 3

Certainly, Orth’s poorly amassed diatribe is no indication that the Durango will indeed require a consistent online connection to play game, but to cause such bad publicity, especially the kind that might infer what’s going on behind doors at Microsoft, seems like an extremely bad idea.


A day after the public mess of Adam Orth, Microsoft’s Major Nelson issued a formal apology to those offended from his official blog — a nice consideration – although he totally avoided the subject of the “always on” status of the next Xbox like I avoid social interactions with my extended family at Thanksgiving.

Let the record be known that I’m not saying that kind of public relations “ignore the man behind the curtain” spin is practically a “yes” on the always online issue, but from an observation, it doesn’t help qualm speculation in any respects.

To be fair to Nelson though, orders from up top must have every (well, almost every) Microsoft employee and Durango devkit-holder gagged tight from saying one detail about the console in question, so there’s good reason why no one can dispel these rumors, even if they’re off base.

Next Xbox Mock Console Image

And until Microsoft does decide to reveal its next gaming machine – reportedly, sometime next month – there’s no true way of knowing if Orth’s tweets have any validity to them or if they where just the typical stupidity caused by people on social websites.

We will know in due time (I know, I say that phrase too many times), but right now, whether Microsoft likes it or not, its upcoming console is surrounded by a lot of cold public reception due to its continuing silence about their next platform.

As for Orth, everyone one makes mistakes from time-to-time, and if he apologies for his words (which he sort of did in one of his following tweets), then I hope he doesn’t loose his job over this. But perhaps the damage has been done on such a massive scale that it’s the only course of action Microsoft must take, which will definitely be a sad end to all this truth be told.

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