News from the Microsoft front: if you have shoddy internet connections, don’t buy our next system.  Also, move out of rural areas.

Seriously though, some report a couple of days ago hinted that the next Xbox not only would not allow second-hand games, but it would also require an internet connection to work at all.  Obviously, because this concerns a video game system, things escalated quickly.

I will say this: the comments made by Microsoft Creative Director Adam Orth on Twitter about the “Always Online” controversy sure didn’t douse the flames.  You know what, it did douse the flames…with a 55-gallon drum of gasoline and a bag of puppies.  Holy shit, I’ve never seen such curt replies from someone relatively high up in a major video game organization.  Here is a play-by-play concerning our newest Dark Lord’s comments:

“I don’t get the drama around having an ‘always on’ console. Every device now is ‘always on’. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit”

I totally agree with this point: the drama is a bit ridiculous.  But maybe that’s because we take things like video game consoles too goddamn seriously.  It’s a toy at worst, high-end television component at best.  Perhaps Microsoft is to blame for that – inviting developers up to speak highly of the console and how it will elevate not only gameplay but also the “artform” of videogames.  You created this monster.

The “Always On” aspect kinda sucks because recent history suggests that it is awful.  Look at the SimCity debacle or Diablo III – great games rendered unplayable by the Always On functionality.  When it works, yeah, it’s great.  But when it doesn’t, it is an extremely expensive brick.

Also, not every device is “Always On”, smartass.  When you really think hard about it, almost nothing is “Always On” except a smartphone, and that’s only because it can connect to 3G/4G/LTE services in addition to WiFi.  Does that mean I have to get an AT&T plan with my next Xbox purchase?

Also, I’m already sick of this douchenozzle’s tone.  But it gets way worse.  When asked about unreliable internet connections, and yes, the uneven launches of “Always On” games, Orth responded with such an elitist reply that I found myself holding my iPhone with my pinky out.

“Those people should definitely get with the times and get the internet. it is awesome.”

Such a wonderfully arrogant tweet.  I’m guessing Mr. Orth lives someplace really cool: where his flannel is ironic and his coffee is expensive.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that he probably pays through the nose – like everyone else – for the best possible internet in his metropolitan area.  I bet it is pretty fast too.  But most of us aren’t Creative Directors living in Seattle.  We’re kids in rural Tennessee.  Adults in Northern Michigan.  We’re all gamers, but our situations are a bit different.  You know the last place to get fast and reliable internet?  Developing, rural areas.  And how many people live in rural areas of the United States?  59.7 million based on the latest census figures, or roughly 20% of the total population.  The average internet speed in Seattle is 19Mb/s.  Compare that to Lawrenceburg, KY at 9Mb/s.  Or Libby, MT at a whopping 3Mb/s.

I think the great fear though shouldn’t be the individual’s internet connection but Microsoft’s ability to support this kind of delivery method.  My ISP has been pretty stable and was so during the week of SimCity‘s launch – it was the EA/Maxis servers that proved to be the culprit.  Perhaps Adam should dial back his self-assured attitude and look around at others who have embraced the “Always On” method – these are giant companies like Blizzard and Electronic Arts, not small indie studios.  They had the money and manpower to assure a great launch but it didn’t happen.  And they were brutalized not by critics, but by the paying customer.

“Sometimes the electricity goes out. i will not purchase a VACUUM cleaner.”

“The mobile reception the area i live in is spotty and unreliable. i will not buy a mobile phone.”

The hits keep coming.  His last comment is obviously the one I laugh at the most.  You know what is reliable in such an area, Adam?  A landline.  Perhaps the Playstation 4 will be my landline.

What a boner.