The rumor mill has been churning pretty hard in the video game industry for the past few months. The news that most people keep discussing are the facts that Sony’s new console, the PS4, sounds pretty awesome for gamers and developers alike. People are also discussing rumors about Microsoft’s next Xbox console and why they are letting Sony have all this extra time to hype up their system. Most of us have heard the rumors by now, the new Microsoft console will require an “always online” internet connection, and will not play used games. A more recent rumor announced that the new system will tie into your cable box via an HDMI connection. It sounds like Microsoft is getting away from a game-centric focus and attempting to make the next Xbox the ultimate media device in your home. Keep in mind this is all just speculation at this point.
One thing that is not speculation though is the huge twitter gaming scandal that occurred a few days ago. One of Microsoft Studio’s creative directors, Adam Orth made several public statements on twitter in relation to the new Xbox console and the “always online” connection rumor. Below is the twitter conversation between Adam Orth and his friend Manveer Heir, a senior gameplay developer at Bioware:
Following these statements on twitter Microsoft issued an official apology: “We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.”
It has been recently confirmed by Game Informer that Adam Orth is no longer working for Microsoft and has since resigned after these events.
Now here is my take on this whole Xbox thing. We know that originally there was an Xbox event planned for April 24th, which was recently pushed back to a May 21st reveal. So why push back this event even more, giving Sony more hype time. Also May 21st is only a few weeks away from E3 in June. Recently, Game Informer hosted a poll on their website asking the gaming community how many would purchase an “always online” console. Out of all those polled, roughly 82% stated they would not buy an “always online” console. It was shortly after this poll came out that Microsoft changed the date of the Xbox event from April to May. Now, this poll only reflects the opinions of a small portion of the gaming community, and the fact that the event was pushed back a month could be merely coincidence but in this writer’s opinion there is more going on here.
Any exposure is good in the end, even negative press and controversy. Sure there are a lot of people complaining about this next Xbox rumor, but what it boils down to is that people are talking about the new Xbox. If Microsoft is smart (and there is no reason to believe they don’t want to make money) then they listened to the pleas of the community and took the console back to the drawing board to make some quick changes. These changes being made to the console are the reason for the delay of the reveal event to May. I do expect that the system changes will be minimal. There will still likely be a heavy online aspect involved. I do not forsee the console locking you out of a single player game several minutes after your internet drops out for whatever reason. I also expect the new system to play used games as well. All console manufacturers want to lock out used games at some point, because that is more money in their pockets but Sony has committed to another generation of being able to play used games so I expect that Microsoft will follow suit. Despite the negative press that Microsoft is getting right now, imagine how happy and relieved all the Xbox fans/community will be when the new Xbox is finally revealed and these rumors turn out to be false, or not nearly as bad as they originally heard.
One thing is for sure, we are only a little over one month away from Microsoft showing us their vision of the future of gaming and lots of people are excited about it. Will you be picking up the new Xbox console at launch?
SOURCE: Game Informer