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Adam Orth leaves Microsoft as "always on" conversation takes toll

Adam Orth leaves Microsoft as "always on" conversation takes toll

Thu 11 Apr 2013 7:18am GMT / 3:18am EDT / 12:18am PDT
PeopleHardware

Ex-Game Director thought to have resigned after Twitter exchange

Adam Orth has left Microsoft, say reports - a move which is being interpreted as a direct result of his comments about an "always on" requirement for the next Xbox.

Speaking to an anonymous source, but confirming it with Microsoft subsequently, GameInformer is reporting that it is unsure as to whether Orth offered his resignation voluntarily.

The Ex-Microsoft Game Director became the subject of a number of news stories, as well as a lot of public attention, last week after having an apparently facetious, but very public, conversation about the necessity of a constant internet connection for the new Microsoft Console.

In a Twitter exchange with Bioware designer Manveer Heir, Orth had posted about not understanding why people would have a problem with "always on" before proceeding to joke about people who did and the remote locations they may live in. He has since locked his Twitter account and closed his Linked In page, apparently due to threats he was receiving from the public.

Despite claiming that the whole exchange was a passage of jokes designed to troll Heir, who is a close friend of Orth, the conversation lead Microsoft to issue a formal apology.

Whilst that apology distanced Microsoft from the jibes which Orth directed towards rural customers, it didn't openly deny the concept of a necessity for "always on", leading to a further swirl of rumour and speculation.

Microsoft was contacted for further comment on both sides of the issue but has stated that it will not be commenting further on the issue.

51 Comments

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

199 1,091 5.5
Popular Comment
Deal with it, Adam!

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Chris Madsen

22 10 0.5
I don't expect them to kiss our butts to sell their product, but talking down to us by saying " deal with it" at the end made it more discouraging to wanna buy their console.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Craig Burkey
Software Engineer

172 223 1.3
I feel sorry for him if he lost his job, what he did created valuable customer feedback and created a positive platform to announce the console without the much hated feature

Posted:A year ago

#3
I'm sorry he lost his job but... he did stick his foot in the bucket with that tweet.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,154 939 0.8
I'm usually all for freedom of expression but with the power of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, restraint is required or it really can cost you your career and maybe your life. The number of jobs publicly lost in the past couple of weeks, across different industries and sectors is ridiculous.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 11th April 2013 10:45am

Posted:A year ago

#5

Wesley Williams
Quality Assurance

131 68 0.5
When you make such a public PR gaff that hurts your company, you've got to expect serious ramifications.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

949 166 0.2
Popular Comment
So Orth's PC at Microsoft isn't always on anymore then.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Marty Greenwell
Software Developer

56 38 0.7
It's not so much a freedom of speech thing, but the way the opinion was put across; he could have said more-or-less the same thing without giving people (that is Microsoft's customers) the middle finger. The long term damage to Microsoft is probably minimal, losing his job over it is perhaps OTT - but this once again shows how powerful social media can be.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Marty Greenwell on 11th April 2013 11:23am

Posted:A year ago

#8

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

902 1,332 1.5
I wonder if he'll end up at EA.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
You dont treat customers like this, much less when you want them to buy your product. I could care less if he lost his job. He was behaving like a prick... "Deal with it."

Posted:A year ago

#10

Neil Alphonso
Lead Designer

48 17 0.4
Popular Comment
Considering he fell on his sword, I'd say he did deal with it.

Also, loving the irony of developers posting publicly about a developer posting publicly. So meta.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Neil Alphonso on 11th April 2013 1:39pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

Steven Hodgson
Programmer

81 121 1.5
Now there is a terrifying thought, always on microtransactions, a literal interpretation of pay to play

Posted:A year ago

#12

Jim Wood
Support Analyst

4 1 0.3
Did he fall on his sword or was he pushed? Who cares, he was an arrogant sod who got what he deserved.
Deal with that Ortho.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

314 206 0.7
Have some of Rupert Murdoch's ex employees moved into the news room? We even have a developer mugshot.

Low point for the games industry gossip/journalism.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
That's the picture from his twitter account Sandy.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Tim Browne
Lead Game Designer

20 40 2.0
Popular Comment
Irrelevant of what you think of his actions I really don't think it makes you look big or clever making a joke about the fact that a fellow developer due to a mistake is now no longer employed.

What with how turbulent the games industry is at the moment where every month, sometimes every week another studio closes down and more people are out of work I thought some people might have a little compassion for him.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Nick McCrea
Gentleman

178 231 1.3
Agree with Tim. It's a bit disproportionate to wish unemployment on someone because he said something about a games console you didn't like. That's not to say he didn't deserve it, from MS' point of view; he's damaged their PR efforts not inconsiderably amongst the gaming cognoscenti.

Simply that gloating about it is a bit undignified, isn't it?

Posted:A year ago

#17

Erik Yuzwa
Developer

7 0 0.0
It's too bad really. Everyone wants transparency and 1-1 discourse and someone with a backbone, yet when someone sticks their neck out just slightly more than the rest, they get wacked.

This is dumb. Everything we own is "always on". This is 2013, not 1999. So he slightly spilled the beans before the regular Microsoft Marketing puke machine gets rolling. Big hairy deal. If it was CliffyB saying this stuff, he'd be given a medal and ticker tape parade.

He should've got a promotion.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Erik Yuzwa on 11th April 2013 5:01pm

Posted:A year ago

#18

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
This is dumb. Everything we own is "always on". This is 2013, not 1999
And what about all the people who live in areas with bad connections? or the people who have Internet caps? I don't think it would be such a bad thing if it actually had ANY benefits to the consumer but it has zero its just a business move to force ads and subscriptions onto people.

Can you imagine if you couldn't do anything with your mobile phone unless it had a full connection? How stupid would that be?

Posted:A year ago

#19

Dan Lowe
3D Animator

46 68 1.5
Popular Comment
It would be nice if we could live in a world where the press assume that an individual's opinion does not reflect that of their employer. Granted Orth was in a position of influence at Microsoft, and granted people are hungry for information on the next generation, but when casual Twitter comments can lead to a guy losing his job (if that is the case), you can't then have journalists complaining that individual developers don't speak up more.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Lowe on 11th April 2013 5:35pm

Posted:A year ago

#20

Adam Jordan
Community Management/Moderation

113 65 0.6
I suppose this would be a good argument as to why people should leave communications to those that know how to do it.

It's unfortunate that this has led to him losing his job (Whether voluntary or not) but this situation rings many alarm bells and wake up calls. Firstly jokes whether meant publicly or privately do not communicate well over the Internet/in text unless the person receiving them or reading them knows you well. Secondly, such poor, poor timing.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, everyone is entitled to share it and argue it but at least throw it out there like it isn't fact (Unless it is and can't be disputed...like today is Thursday in the UK) especially when your (former)employer is in the middle of a rumour-mill regarding whether their next product will actually have the very feature implemented that you feel so casual about.

I'm not saying that developers and employees can't voice their opinions but with today's social frenzy being so sensitive, the next decade or so is going to be all about treading carefully and minding words that to some may not hold power but to others could be the most powerful words that they could literally lose you the very source of your income

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 11th April 2013 5:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#21

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
It would be nice if we could live in a world where the press assume that an individual's opinion does not reflect that of their employer.
When I was a kid, at my secondary school we were told not to untuck our shirts or take our ties off UNTILL we got home because it reflected negatively on the school. It sounded crazy back then that they could think that but it is true and its the same with twitter/facebook, You can't just go onto Twitter and kick up a storm when you're affiliated with a company and think there's not going to be any consequences.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Dan Lowe
3D Animator

46 68 1.5
I guess that's the real question, is Adam Orth wearing his "Microsoft school uniform" when he's on Twitter? Is he entitled to have his own opinions and be allowed to participate in public discussion, or is a developer to be branded with their employers stamp: "property of [employer], anything that comes out of this dude's mouth is representative of us", when he signs on with a company?

I appreciate that Twitter is a grey area because discussions are public, and typically the greyer the area the more caution a developer needs to take, but this isn't a press release, or a stage demo, or a GDC talk, it's his own personal account.

Developers aren't a hive mind. Within teams there are a lot of individual opinions and a lot of disagreements about the best ways to do things. When all those arguments are resolved, PR's job is to communicate the company line; a consensus message that represents the company policy. What I was saying in my last comment was that the press say they'd like access to the discussion; that they're tired of just getting the PR line and they want to speak to real developers without the PR filter, but then when they do get access to real developer opinion, as with Adam Orth's Tweets, they're careless with how they present that. They extrapolate and allude to that being the company line, or representative of Microsoft strategy, instead of just a guy making casual conversation with a developer friend on Twitter.

Maybe Orth shouldn't have posted these things because maybe that press/PR ecosystem doesn't exist. All I'm saying is if the press want access to real developer opinions, then they have to take care with how they present what they say to the public, if they present it at all.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
I guess that's the real question, is Adam Orth wearing his "Microsoft school uniform" when he's on Twitter?
The latest from Orthy (@adam_orth). Creative Director at Microsoft Studios.
Yes.

Having an opinion about something and insulting potential customers are quite different.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 11th April 2013 7:32pm

Posted:A year ago

#24

Emily Rose
Freelance Artist

80 34 0.4
@Adam Campbell - indeed, freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence.

Never want someone to lose their job, but maybe he went on a rant because he wanted to leave, who knows. Either way someone else will likely get a position out of this so I doubt it's a negative overall.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,154 939 0.8
Expanding my thoughts on the topic, I really do feel bad for him, assuming this is the outcome.

I still strongly believe people need to show a bit more restraint, and in this case be mindful of their incidental PR duties, as known, high profile members of major companies.

However, I completely forgive the fact that 'we' as a modern society have yet to completely get used to the nature of social networking and how it has changed language and communication. As I mentioned earlier a lot of people are losing their jobs, facing public embarrassment and so on. We just haven't had enough time to learn and discover the full implications.

Knowing that, perhaps authorities and employers in some ways should be a bit more mindful of this. Its easy to step back and say "how stupid!" but that's often not how it seemed at the time. Its not just what people are saying in the present either, many people are finding themselves in trouble because of their history on social networks and something they may have said months or years ago...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 11th April 2013 8:19pm

Posted:A year ago

#26

Adam Jordan
Community Management/Moderation

113 65 0.6
When I worked at Next, they sent a memo around regarding activity on Facebook (Twitter wasn't really that big or much of an impact at the time for a clothing retailer)

It basically was short and sweet, stating that common sense should be applied when talking about work, like with schools telling pupils not to take off their ties and emblems until they get home. Not only that but of course, while they don't want to intrude on their employee's personal lives, they simply just wanted to make people aware that when they post something..."unprofessional" to a public place, it's not just the employee's reputation and image being thrown out there but also the employer's.

With Twitter, I think it's a case of the same thing with common sense...stating "I work for "such and such" but this is my personal account and my opinions don't reflect that of my employer" shouldn't be used as a scapegoat but it does give that initial impression that someone shouldn't hold your words against your employer, however at the same time, it doesn't give anyone the right to talk down to the same people that provide your employer with profit and more importantly your wages.

There is a right way and a wrong way to converse and share your opinion, sadly Mister Orth chose the wrong way. Furthermore, whilst the situation might have been to "troll" a fellow developer or have jokes with him...it is being seen within a public place. Just the same as a group of kids would be seen throwing eggs and flour at each other in the street after they move up a year...it's funny to them but to onlookers outside of the joke radius, it's not

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 11th April 2013 8:30pm

Posted:A year ago

#27

Erik Yuzwa
Developer

7 0 0.0
Everyone's going to go that way regardless. This poor guy just ran out of the trench first. Sony will go there, Nintendo will go there, etc. You can bet they're crafting their own launch strategies now based around this.

Apple has been dictating to us since the 1980's that we "deal with it" and they're held up as visionaries and luminaries because of it.

If you don't want it, you don't buy it.

Posted:A year ago

#28

Micaiah Stevens
Owner & Freelance Game Designer

13 6 0.5
Conversation? Or yelling, nice how you try and mitigate what he did. There has been plenty of reasonable open discussion on Games Industry, telling your customers to deal with it, isn't a conversation!

Posted:A year ago

#29

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

93 124 1.3
@Dan Lowe
"...when casual Twitter comments can lead to a guy losing his job (if that is the case), you can't then have journalists complaining that individual developers don't speak up more...."

Except in this case, it wasn't casual comments. He appeared (to me, and obviously Microsoft) to be very snide and intentionally antagonizing regarding the topic. I'm not saying he should have lost his job (if that is indeed the case) but as someone who has worked PR and marketing in the past..I knew when I read it that there would definitely be some sort of repercussions. It wasn't a case of him speaking up more..it was the manner in which he did it that caused the problem.

Posted:A year ago

#30

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

412 579 1.4
So what you're saying Spencer is that you can have your own opinion in public, so long as it isn't "snide".

Personally, I thought it was a crappy comment, but I don't see the need to spike the proverbial football that he's out. I hate this result, and it stinks of "Humpty Dumpty was Pushed"

Posted:A year ago

#31
I have thought on his issue a little longer than most - I watch the original Tweet - watched the MS denial and then apology.

Fundamentally - the consumer game scene and the executive ranks will need to grow up a lot more if they hope to survive. I just wonder if the pool of talent and measured executives is so little and fractured that it may be a good thing for the console sector to go through a bit of culling to get back to basics, and the fundamental needs of a Billion Dollar industry - removing the hangers on and child like executives!

Posted:A year ago

#32

Dave Herod
Senior Programmer

521 749 1.4
@Adam Jordan
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, everyone is entitled to share it
Not when it's an opinion about something confidential that's protected by an Non Disclosure Agreement contract that you've signed. It doesn't matter what the outcome is, if you signed a legal document agreeing not to discuss confidential information, then don't discuss it. This was a mistake, but companies have to enforce their rules or no one will ever take them seriously.

Posted:A year ago

#33

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

280 180 0.6
Apple has been dictating to us since the 1980's that we "deal with it" and they're held up as visionaries and luminaries because of it.

If you don't want it, you don't buy it.
@Erik
Well in that case it was a bit like (and probably still is) "if you want it or even buy it and then you cannot use it as it pleases you, it is not our problem and we don't care".

Should it be written on the box "Product requirements : You live in a remote area ? To use this product you will need to relocate, sell your house, find a new school for you children, or even change job - This product is also not recommended for travel and holiday use and requires a top broadband connection (not provided)." ? I mean, this is getting a bit ridiculous (I am eagerly waiting for the always-online bread toaster to show up, though what made sense for phones may not make sense for everything else, just guessing). This always online vision of the world seems to set aside maybe a vocal minority (but only maybe, since most of the people leaving in remote areas or too busy to get heard at this time of the process are of course a silent minority that add up to the vocal minority, which at the end lead to a bigger complaining minority... or maybe to a group surpassing the complying majority especially when even customers who bought it with all the perfect conditions to run it may loose or change their job or any other reason that requires them to relocate maybe to one of those "remote areas" they may find out "oh my console is now useless, that always-online is rubbish" and grow the ranks of the disappointed).

To my understanding, a part of the marketing is about understanding people, understanding your customers as well and once you do, you make your next product as much appealing for both. It is not about throwing a product at them and say "I am happy with it, you should be too because if I am you should be". Nor it is about not considering changes that may occur in those people's lives and think only about Day 1 sales. What is going to be your after-sale customer support if even before the release of the product you tell your potential customers that you don't care about what they think ? I mean, you gonna dismiss everyone's issues with your product based on the statistical fact a sufficient ratio of the customers did not have issues with your product ? Well, in that hypothetical case, why even bother having a Customer Support ?

Besides all this, I partially agree with Dan Lowe on his argumentation about the PR/Media relation and Media responsibility and also the fact we should not rejoice here, a guy lost his job because of a major PR mistake (even for a minor comment) and he will perhaps carry this burden for any future employment since this was very very public. Adam may have a mortgage, children and family to take care of and honestly, he did not commit anything like a crime here that deserve such a punishment (unless he voluntarily resigned) and even less being mocked.

Now, that said on an individual level, like Kevin Williams mentioned it also, there has been a lot of social medias or medias comments going way out of line recently whenever that led to a job loss or not for the emitter. That implies that maybe the risk of loosing his job should be a reminder of the Damocles Sword hanging above our heads at any time and as such those sad consequences are a good thing for the industry (or any industry) as a whole in terms of making it aware of its responsibilities.

Edited 9 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 12th April 2013 2:20pm

Posted:A year ago

#34

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,076 0.5
Amusingly enough, I get the press release below in my inbox about some white paper I don't need to read. Look, like it or not kids, ANY social/public forum is unsafe to use as one's personal joke box because (DUH), it's PUBLIC. If this guy wanted to toss his sense of humor around on Twitter and thought his comments wouldn't be seen as insensitive and just dumb (especially if he was revealing Microsoft's plans ahead of schedule), wellllll... as the press release below says:

YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BE ANTI-SOCIAL

Social media networking is here to stay. It has become a leading source for your audience to connect with and absorb information about your brand. Too often businesses large and small are in engaging in social media without a plan. In a world where social media is part of everyday operations and an integral part of reputation management, that's a big risk.

In this complimentary white paper, we would like to share with you:
The best methods to engage with your audience before, during, and after a potential crisis
Real examples of businesses that have experienced a crisis and the steps they took to recover from it
The value of managing and monitoring what others are saying about your business

Posted:A year ago

#35

Christopher Thigpen
Lead Producer

47 92 2.0
Honestly, if he wasn't being a complete ass, as he is stated to saying, he would have just apologized and gotten back to work. But he "resigned" which indicates that he was at fault and he did mean everything he stated in those tweets. Basic Psychology. Those who are innocent will apologize for their candor. Those who are guilty will run and hide.


I guess Mr. "DealWithIt" got Dealt With.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

280 180 0.6
Look, like it or not kids, ANY social/public forum is unsafe to use as one's personal joke box because (DUH), it's PUBLIC. If this guy wanted to toss his sense of humor around on Twitter and thought his comments wouldn't be seen as insensitive and just dumb
@Greg
I only partially agree about that. Social Media Management is not only about being formal (I know you did not imply that, I am just giving an example) in the Gaming Industry (while it would work for a bank or a settled high profile industry or serious institution) it doesn't work very well in engaging gamers and would also limit quite drastically any creative writing. Any digital communication is close to tightrope walking and always carry a high part of risk. But just like a tightrope walker may lean on a side or the other to find his balance it is necessary to allow him not to be perfectly rigid and to allows moves that help him replace his gravity center. If there is no such tolerance, then no one will ever do walk on the tightrope and we would rely on traditional PR only.

You can always joke, even bad jokes (as long as they are not too bad of course) if you even it out straight away. If you say "Why would anyone live in a place where there is no internet ?" as a joke in the context we know, you should straight away say something like "Joke apart, we know that not having internet is a reality for many people who would enjoy our product and we will seriously consider this" (even if at the end you won't) so you don't hurt flagrantly anyone's feelings and still keep a door open (because I am still sure - I cannot imagine the opposite - that MS responsible staff is seriously discussing the concern, even if at the end they stick to the always-online policy... we will see).

Unfortunately, tweets may not be the best medium for that (it is risky on every platform though), since the principle is to make very short sentences on this social media platform and timing has even a more important role there. Adam, while not being a social media professional as far as I know felt into that trap like a few before him. This is just about the jokes of course, as you mention there is also the "confidential breach" that may be involved here.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 12th April 2013 4:39pm

Posted:A year ago

#37

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

93 124 1.3
@C.Bowen
"So what you're saying Spencer is that you can have your own opinion in public, so long as it isn't "snide".

Not at all Christopher...what I am saying is that, whether we like it or not, when you are part of a large multinational company, anything you do in the PUBLIC space is not only a reflection on you, but on the company you are associated with. Just as with national spokespersons, or television personalities that have made career devastating public offenses, this is what Mr. Orth has done as well. Be rude, crass and snide with your pals, buddies and homies..all good, but when you take that to the public space, like it or not, fair or not, it can cost you. It would cost me if I antagonized my employers possible customers in that manner, and sadly in this case, it did cost him.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Tim Browne
Lead Game Designer

20 40 2.0
@Dave Herod

Unless I'm missing something though Adam Orth didn't break an NDA. He didn't discuss any Microsfot product, he simply commented on the 'always on' debate. Not once did I see him state that it was a feature of any product of any company. He made reference to his mobile, vacuum cleaner (could sort of see what he meant but it was a little odd) but nothing that I can fathom that could even be construde as NDA breaching.

His attitude (and we should remember this was over a short period of time before he went silent) was not great but we've all had times where we're annoyed and we might get short with people. I'd like to stress I'm not defending Adam, I don't really know him that well I'm just trying to be as balanced as I can be.

Also it's be stated subsiquently that Adam resigned. We don't know the details, I don't care to know to be honest it's between him and his previous employer but what you said about him breaking NDA is simply in my mind not true.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Browne on 12th April 2013 5:41pm

Posted:A year ago

#39
Freedom of expression is indeed freedom from consequence.

It sort of has to otherwise how's it a freedom?

If you fear loosing your livelihood then how are you free to speak.

I understand Microsoft have a public image but that's one of the major problems today. The practice today of firing or not hiring people because they don't fit a corporate image is a very serious attack on all our individual liberties.

We're going to get a world where everyone has to meet the standards of the norm for fear of persecution and retribution.

"The internet is not written in pencil, it's written in ink."

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 12th April 2013 6:34pm

Posted:A year ago

#40

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9

Whether it was a joke or not, this remark alone shows how disconnected (ahahah, pun!) Orth is (was?) in perceiving what is said on the internet. Public image is one thing, but when you openly disrespect the hometowns of the people you're trying to win money from, then you openly disrespect your consumers. It's not like this guy doesn't know the impact the Internet has, or how things can balloon in forums and the like, so why should he be given a free pass?

@ John
The practice today of firing or not hiring people because they don't fit a corporate image is a very serious attack on all our individual liberties.
I think this is a bit hyperbolic. It's not his public image which was the problem, it's that he said it in a guise that could be seen to be the company policy. As such, the clear silence from Microsoft is as much to blame for the situation as what Orth said - If MS had said "Oh, no, it's not always-on", then Orth could have fallen back on saying he would never work for a company that would do such a thing. But MS essentially let this get out of hand, and Orth never had the option of backing down whilst saving face.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th April 2013 7:26pm

Posted:A year ago

#41

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,076 0.5
Also, @John... when you work for SOME big corporations, you kind of sell a part of yourself (well... rent, actually) and there's usually an agreement (stated or not) that says you NEED to watch what you say online, in public, on the phone or anywhere else your comments can be (and WILL be) deemed to be a reflection of the company line.

If anything, what he did was open up the company to every possible question about its plans before they wanted to reveal them in a more controlled situation (i.e. that big press event coming up). Now, it's going to be more important than the event itself and probably the elephant in the room until we get the final word. Of course, that also means most of the interviews will be focused around the always online thing and not the services they're offering (which at the end of the day is where they should be pointed, especially from a consumer standpoint)...

Posted:A year ago

#42
I agree Greg that if you work for a any company. Anything you say or even did say could be argued to reflect on that company.

But that's exactly my point, we all need to work so doesn't that limit our individual freedom of speech.

In his case specifically he asked the question "Why was always on such a big deal considering most devices today are?" which was a hot talking point among a lot of websites and then made what was obviously a joke about the two places that Manveer Heir listed as not having always on internet. It wasn't a particularly funny joke but it was only a joke.

I'm sure he's learnt his lesson, and you know what that is. To not use Twitter, Facebook, social networking. He'll probably be very wary of saying anything in public either for fear that it could be recorded.

The problem with that is major corporations don't like to hire people with no online presence as they assume it could be because that person has something to hide.

So not only are we forced to shut up and not have a voice but we're also forced to at least give the impression that we're all the same as everyone else.

It's 1984 and we're not just allowing it but rejoicing in it's arrival.

Posted:A year ago

#43

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
and then made what was obviously a joke about the two places that Manveer Heir listed as not having always on internet. It wasn't a particularly funny joke but it was only a joke.
Really? Reading his tweets, I didn't think it was a joke. I thought he was deadly serious. And bear in mind that the Sim City always-on controversy has only recently left us, so to make light of something which actually affects gamers is shockingly foolish and short-sighted.
I'm sure he's learnt his lesson, and you know what that is. To not use Twitter, Facebook, social networking. He'll probably be very wary of saying anything in public either for fear that it could be recorded.
Pish. All it takes is a little caution and a minute or two to read back a comment to see if it can be misconstrued. That's all. If you're going to use a public-facing social-media system, then you should go on a training day if you need help seeing how what you say could be misinterpreted.

And appropriate to this debate is this article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/12/police-officer-margaret-thatcher-tweets

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th April 2013 10:25pm

Posted:A year ago

#44
I suspect Morville that the reason you didn't think it was a joke was because you don't have a sense of humour.

In-case you're wondering, that was a joke.

So now you're suggesting we have to go on a training course to be allowed to post on a public forum. Where is the training course Room 101 by any chance?

It's also not necessarily about being misconstrued. You may actually want to say something that is not what the company agrees with.

Since when has doing a job have anything to do with your political, social or any other views.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 12th April 2013 11:57pm

Posted:A year ago

#45

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Well, statements are jokes or not in great part based on the context in which the listener hears or reads them. The same phrase that's a joke in a Dave Barry column may not be one in a front-page article in the Times. Accusing someone of not appreciating a twitter comment because they "don't have a sense of humour" displays the same problem that's the real problem behind Orth's comments.

And that problem is not having the opinion that he does, but being able to understand that other people have different opinions and that some of these different opinions are not unreasonable ones to hold.

As far as my personal gaming life goes, I don't really have much of an issue with always-on connections per se. (I dislike some of the attitudes and stratagies that often lead to always-on connections, but I have no problem with always-on per se.) But I understand that other people not only are in situations where always-on doesn't work and that's expensive to fix, but that other people simply have different feelings about this. And I accept this. As someone who designs software myself, I don't always accommodate every wish of my users and potential users, and sometimes lose users because of this. But I generally try to accommodate as far as is reasonable for my goals, and understand the trade-off I'm making when I don't.

Most of all, I approach customers and potential customers as having reasonable wishes for their lives, and even if I can't or don't wish to accommodate those, I still treat those wishes with respect, and regret that I can't satisfy them.

So Orth deserves not to be in that job any more, not because of the opinion he holds or because he messed up a social networking situation, but because by not having the ability to respect, much less sympathize with, his customers he's the wrong person for that job.

Posted:A year ago

#46

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

280 180 0.6
So Orth deserves not to be in that job any more, not because of the opinion he holds or because he messed up a social networking situation, but because by not having the ability to respect, much less sympathize with, his customers he's the wrong person for that job.
Well, everyone does mistakes, including disrespecting people sometimes and most get away with it (while they are various degrees of course, some cannot be accepted at all). A lot of comment in this thread "meant as jokes" are still disrespectful of the man (and what is our excuse for disrespecting him ? that he started first ? that is a bit childish isn't it ?)

Anyway what happened happened and he only has to deal with the situation, not us (and I am pretty sure, while he argued about the always online policy, that he was not alone making it happen).
I don't always accommodate every wish of my users and potential users, and sometimes lose users because of this. But I generally try to accommodate as far as is reasonable for my goals, and understand the trade-off I'm making when I don't.
If I don't like something, I don't go for it. My only concern with the "always online" concept on a console is that I don't understand in the first place why on earth should my living room entertainment system be always online for me to watch a dvd, play a single player game. It seems consoles have sold pretty well in the past, while latest generations allowed internet connection, without this always online thingy.

Now, to be honest with you, I really hope Microsoft is going to do it. Why ? because I would like to know if the world has changed so much and I did not notice. If always online consoles sells, if gamers accept them I will take a welcome slap from the universe and know where I do stand (which would then be definitely not in the majority).

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 13th April 2013 6:21am

Posted:A year ago

#47

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
@ John
So now you're suggesting we have to go on a training course to be allowed to post on a public forum. Where is the training course Room 101 by any chance?
No, it's at EA Headquarters. :p

See, I make light of it, but honestly, Adam Orth's "jokes" and EA's respect for the consumer seem to be cut from the same cloth. Perhaps this is the reason why I didn't think they were jokes; it's less good-natured banter, and more a systemic misunderstanding of what the consumer has to go through if they want to play games.
It's also not necessarily about being misconstrued. You may actually want to say something that is not what the company agrees with.
I don't believe Adam Orth's twitter account had a "The views contained herein may not be my employer's views" disclaimer. But do feel free to correct me on that. Actually...
(http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/your-tweets-are-always-on-adam-orth-leaving-microsoft-proves-personal-twitt )

If you're on the company dime, then you follow the company line. I may not agree with it, but it's the rule for pretty much every company-based interaction out there, including non-gaming industry ones. You will not, for instance, get a Marks and Spencer employee criticising the quality of the fabric used in M&S clothes to a member of the public whilst they're on the job.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 13th April 2013 8:53am

Posted:A year ago

#48

Adam Jordan
Community Management/Moderation

113 65 0.6
@Dave Herod:

I am aware of the NDA that employers have. I am under EA's NDA currently that lasts 5 years (Already been under it for the last year) and stops me talking about anything related to what I have seen and heard behind the scenes and of Easy Studios as well as their games such as Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free.

Then again I also have enough common sense to not discuss matters that are sensitive or as I mentioned in the same paragraph that the quote is from that if your employer is in the middle of a rumour-mill about the same feature you are discussing then it's best to leave it be.

However as someone already mentioned, Adam Orth never confirmed nor denied the existence of Always On being part of the next Xbox. It was a general question/joke pertaining to the feature. Unfortunately with everyone being so diverse and different within the world, not everyone will take the same comment like others will. Some see the joke, others see him confirming Always on and others just see text.

Personally I just think it was poor timing on his part and done in a public place that rapidly moves. Once you say something on Twitter, things get moving and by the time you think of applying the brakes, a mess has occurred. Unfortunately for Adam, Microsoft, his employers were the clean up crew.

The thing is...as someone who has spent 2.5 years on the frontline defence for one of the most hated companies in the world, I have learnt to think first and re-word my thoughts 600 times before posting them publicly. That's not because I am forced to do so, that's purely because I don't want people to take my words as someone else's. I am aware what my words can affect both short term and long term, so I am always careful.

Posted:A year ago

#49
That was quite a good one morville. It certainly made me smile.

I take your point, however I think the main problem is that some people view Internet communication like its a chat down the pub and others that it's a PR statement.

By not defending the sometimes a bit stupid we're going to end up with only the latter and personally I don't think that's a good thing.

Posted:A year ago

#50

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

412 579 1.4
You know what, I've been thinking about this, and I wonder if we're attacking the symptom, not the disease.

In another thread, I mention that "deal with it" is usually the turn-off to me purchasing a product. I consider myself a reasonable consumer, and having something thrown into my face with someone saying "it's $400, and inferior to the one you already own. Screw you, deal with it" tends to make me want to keep my money in my pocket.

But increasingly in this industry, we're being fed this bullcrap by people and are expected to just grin, accept our position as some kind of vocal minority, and give them a massive amount of money. It's gone back years, too.

"Privacy is dead. Get over it."
"SecuROM is the future. Deal with it."
"Free to play is the future. Deal with it."
"Always on is the future. Deal with it."

The first line was from a decade and a half ago and was more related to the tech industry in general, but all of those lines showed an exceptionally dismissive attitude towards consumers who have legitimate complaints. It's no longer about "how can we make things fun for people", or at least they're not even pretending anymore. It's simply about "let's cater to the lowest common denominator, who don't know any better, and to hell with anyone else."

They're taking our money for granted, which makes the opinion of the sycophants that much more frustrating to look at.

Posted:A year ago

#51

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