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DRM Microsoft XBox (Games) Your Rights Online

Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns 572

Posted by Soulskill
from the par-for-the-course dept.
New submitter SoVi3t points out comments from Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth about the debate over always-online DRM, brought to the fore recently by the disastrous launch of SimCity and rumors that the next-gen Xbox console will require it. "Don't want a gaming console that requires a persistent internet connection? 'Deal with it,' says Microsoft Studio's creative director. In what he later termed a 'fun lunch break,' Orth took to Twitter to express his shock at people who take umbrage with the idea of an always-on console. When quizzed by other Twitter users about people with no internet connection, he suggested that they should get one, as it is 'awesome.' He then likened people who worry about intermittent internet connectivity being an issue as the same as someone not buying a vacuum cleaner because the electricity sometimes goes out. While Orth later apologized, saying it had being a bit of banter with friends, it did raise awareness that there are more than a few people who are very unhappy with the possibility of an always-on future version of the Xbox. Orth has also now switched his Twitter account settings to private."
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Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns

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  • Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:36AM (#43367665)

    Don't want a gaming console that requires a persistent internet connection? Don't get one!

    • by jewens (993139) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:39AM (#43367681)
      Maybe he is auditioning for head writer on the soon to be released Sony PS4 ad campaign?
      • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:52AM (#43367819) Journal

        I doubt it will be any better of a selling point when Sony does it than when MS does it...

        And if you think Sony won't... do you remember the last time Sony had a chance to screw their customers for profit and control, with a reasonable (or even only slight) chance of success, and DIDN'T take it? Neither do I.

        • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:02AM (#43367921)

          Pretty sure Sony was quoted shortly after the announcement that (paraphrasing) "We know there are people out there that don't want to be social or online all the time. We're listening, and the console does not require an internet connection to function. It only requires the connection if you want to go online, which we really hope you will."

        • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Pi1grim (1956208) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:09AM (#43368005)

          Gabe will applaud this move and remind people that there is offline mode for quite a fair share of Steam games and will be glad to sell a console that will double as a generic PC with linux under hood.
          Also trying to inconvenience the users is not the best selling strategy. Given choice, I'd rather get a console that does not require me to be always online (hint: what do you do when the internet is out?)
          Also, vacuum analogy is pretty shitty. I wouldn't buy a vacuum that only functions when internet is on. Single-player games don't need internet connectivity all the time - so artificial inconvenience for customers will make pirated copies all the more popular. Choosing between a free copy that doesn't require internet connection to play and a rather expencive one, that doesn't is a no-brainer.

          • by Technician (215283) on Friday April 05, 2013 @12:00PM (#43369047)

            I'm approaching retirement and have a motorhome. Not everyplace I travel to has a fast connecton or any connection. No, I'm not paying high prices for very limited caps and huge ping times for a sat dish for internet. Ever share a free wireless connection at at campground? Sometimes dial up is faster.

            For the campers, sometimes out is about 95% of the time.

            I do have a flatscreen in the motorhome. It doubles as a backup camera screen when traveling, GPS screen, TV, Wii screen, and larger laptop screen.

            I have a WiMax modem, but it is out of range in any location that is not city. I like the no contract BYOD (Bring your own Device) service. A used Goodwill modem and if in a service area, pay for a month. If not, no expense for service you can't reach.
            http://www.clear.com/devices/byod [clear.com]

            I guess travelers are not their intended audience. This is why smartphones are doing so well. They are better connected in most places.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BillCable (1464383)
        Comparing what we know so far about the PS4 v/s what is rumored/leaked about the NextBox, the NextBox looks disastrous. One wonders if Microsoft will pay attention to the backlash and revise their approach. One also wonders if they do if they'll still make a 2013 launch. Launching the NextBox with the current rumored "features" and being this tone-deaf to the community would be ill-advised. There's only so much gamers will put up with for the ability to play Gears and Halo.
        • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:06AM (#43367983)

          Bullshit. If gamers will put up with generation after generation of faulty hardware, and paid online services (as if a console is an MMO), they'll eat always-on DRM with a smile on their dumb little faces. Anything for Halo of War Duty VII, where they can share screams and racial insults with their prepubescent peers.

    • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:45AM (#43367733)

      Heh, that if only it were that easy.

      Now here is where your choice affects me: if the internet-dependent console is successful, others will probably copy the model. In addition, the attention of game developers will be drawn towards it instead of competing consoles. Therefore, it is completely rational and logical for me to advocate my preference and try to get persuade you to see the merit in it. Your choice can indeed be a problem for me.

      • Re:Better answer (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:50AM (#43367805) Journal

        I think his post was meant to be a bit sarcastic. As in the guy is willingly throwing away his customers.

      • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lxs (131946) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:54AM (#43367843)

        That's the drawback of living in a society. Sometimes you have to suck it up and submit to the majority even if they are dumbasses. The whole agriculture, technological progress, culture and not being eaten by wolves aspect mostly makes up for it however.

        • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jedidiah (1196) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:12AM (#43368037) Homepage

          This has squat to do with "society".

          This is all about "vendor lock" and computing platforms not being able to co-exist. The market dynamic of petty monopolies can manage at best 2 or 3 options assuming it's not just a crushing hegemony like Windows.

          This "society" problem is actually generally not a problem for most other things.

        • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MightyYar (622222) on Friday April 05, 2013 @11:33AM (#43368767)

          Sometimes you have to suck it up and submit to the majority even if they are dumbasses.

          That's why education is so important.

      • Now here is where your choice affects me: if the internet-dependent console is successful, others will probably copy the model.

        So you've just made the original proposal (don't get one) and even BETTER idea. I don't like a console that requires a constant internet connection so if I don't want ALL of them to require a constant internet connection, then I had BETTER NOT get one!

    • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:45AM (#43367737)

      Don't want a gaming console that requires a persistent internet connection? Don't get one!

      Exactly right.

      And the market will show that the vast majority of gamers could not care less whether an Internet connection is required or not, so long as the game is fun. And since game development is all shifting towards multi-player anyway, with only token efforts being made for the lonely solo console players, this whole issue borders upon moot.

      Five years from now, just two categories of game will be made: Multi-player for consoles, solo (with multi-player functionality) for mobile devices.

      • by MitchDev (2526834)

        Won't be buying one if it ends up requiring internet connection.

        I skipped the X-Box 360 (not for that reason obviously), so I doubt I'll have any problems skipping the 720 either...

      • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xeth (614132) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:56AM (#43367871) Journal

        Five years from now, just two categories of game will be made: Multi-player for consoles, solo (with multi-player functionality) for mobile devices.

        I wouldn't be surprised if some of the "gaming by the numbers" studios and publishers move that way. But I can guarantee that the people pouring millions of dollars into independent Kickstarter and greenlight games, and getting DRM-free software written by devs who care in return, will still be doing it in five years.

      • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:58AM (#43367901)

        That is not how markets work.

        There will still be single player DRM free games, they might not however be AAA console games. Smaller developers will take to this market in droves if it appears in anyway viable. As we have already seen via kickstarter and HIB this market exists and will pay. It however will not be able to fund AAA games, but the barrier to entry using tools like Unity is coming way down. We will once again have very small studios making the games we love.

        Personally I could not be more excited about that. No longer will our games be choices be limited to what is most popular, genres that the AAA publishers left to rot will be revived. Unless the only thing that matters to you is graphics you should be excited as well.

        • Re:Better answer (Score:4, Informative)

          by Mitreya (579078) <(mitreya) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:23AM (#43368159)

          As we have already seen via kickstarter and HIB this market exists and will pay. It however will not be able to fund AAA games

          Oh, but I think it will be able to do that
          Torment is very, very close to hitting $4M [kickstarter.com] (and that's just the pre-paid budget, they'll probably sell more games when done). Once kickstarter-based games are the only way to get something new and non-DRM-ed, I am sure we will see $10M+ kickstarter projects.

          • by Feyshtey (1523799)
            I think you're discounting this like Blender.org as well. These are open source platforms that allow Joe Nobody to put together quality looking products from their basement. You get people working on games collaboratively and you could see titles spreading that are very low cost, but highly lucrative for the designers. As more and more of the technology to create games becomes free or easily accessed by the masses, the masses will have greater influence on games.
      • Re:Better answer (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MareLooke (1003332) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:45AM (#43368355) Homepage

        I beg to differ. With gaming becoming more and more mainstream we've reached a critical point where mainstream games have turned into such generic appeal-to-everybody-and-their-lolcat that it leaves hardcore gamers seriously wanting.

        Multiplayer (and more specifically *competitive* multiplayer) has become such a required tickbox for publishers that it very often comes at the detriment of the single player experience. While I'm sure most of us enjoy playing games with other people there are just so many genres where single player is crucial and/or competitive multiplayer doesn't make sense (like story driven RPGs). Many of these genres have been watered down to such an extent by now that they're barely recognisable, others have just pretty much died out entirely in mainstream publishers' catalogues (like adventures, not the "action adventure" kind).

        The second problem is the "consolification" of everything, some genres are just not fit for controllers (sure you can attach a kb/mouse to a console, but if you do that you just have an underpowerd PC with horrendous limitations anyway) forcing them in a format that "works" for console controllers just turns them into something they aren't and that people often just do not want ("Hi Dragon Age 2!")

        Thirdly are the horrendous limitations consoles impose, sure the mainstream gamer might not care too much, well, until he/she sees how you can mod some games (like Skyrim...) often fixing bugs the developers can't be bothered with, fixing broken game mechanics and just generally improving the game experience. The gaming PC isn't dead yet even though publishers might be trying very hard to kill modability in the mistaken belief that mods kill DLC sales (well, they will, if your DLCs are trivial drivel).

        This explains imo the huge success of crowsourcing for games lately and frankly I think there is a market for both groups, the big publishers can keep on cranking out Hollywoodstyle appeal-to-all games while the crowdsourced developers can keep on producing interesting, innovative, oldschool or just generally off-the-beaten-path games. It's happened with film, I don't see why it would be a problem with games.

        tl;dr Single player is not dead and PC gaming is far from dead either.

    • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:46AM (#43367745) Journal

      I know that's what I'll do.

      He then likened people who worry about intermittent internet connectivity being an issue as the same as someone not buying a vacuum cleaner because the electricity sometimes goes out.

      This guy is proof that you can be a retard and still get into high positions in the corporate world.

      (1) A vacuum cleaner is almost a necessity, a console is a luxury. While there are other ways to clean a carpet, they are generally much more effort intensive.
      (2) you don't lose your state when the electricity goes out, with a vacuum.
      (3) electric is less prone to flicker than internet connection, if nothing else, because a flicker of electric will not cause the same for the internet. Excepting with UPSes, but these aren't exactly ubiquitous.
      (4) many people travel, and bring their consoles with them... They don't always get to bring an internet connection.

      Even if there were no other issues with DRM, this addition would provide enough to make it a deal-breaker for many.
      You can stick your always on DRMed XBox720 up your ass. Sideways. After adding spikes.

      • by MitchDev (2526834)

        This guy is proof that you can be a retard and still get into high positions in the corporate world.

        I thought that was REQUIREMENT of those positions, along with horrendous levels of Arrogance...

      • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cnaumann (466328) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:08AM (#43367991)

        You missed the main failure of the analogy. A vacuum cleaner requires electricity. Anybody can generate that electricity. It does not require special electricty from the Hoover Corporation's electricity server. It would not be illegal to modify your vacuum cleaner to work off of batteries or a portable generators.

        It is not the Internet connection part that bothers me. It is the long-term availability of the DRM servers and the control that they have over my purchases, long after the sale.

        • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheCarp (96830) <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:16AM (#43368071) Homepage

          Better but not quite right.

          The vacuume cleaner needs electricity.... to service my needs. I need it to suck shit up off the floor, I give it electricity, it does that.

          In this case, what is the "always on" doing for the consumer? The owner of the device?

          Its restricting him, its making requirments of him, what is is doing FOR him? Being ABLE to connect to the internet is one thing, being required is another entirely, and I would submit whats really wrong about this is simple: The requirement is not for the benefit of the user.

          If my XBox breaks, warranty aside, I own it. M$ wont be replacing it. Nowhere on the sales slip does it indicate the xbox is a rental. Its something the user buys. Everything it requires to work, should be what is required for HIS benefit SOLELY.

          Otherwise, it is a trojan.

          • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cyberfunkr (591238) on Friday April 05, 2013 @03:28PM (#43371675)

            "Hi, this is the Microsoft Vacuum Inspection Division. I see you're trying to turn on your vacuum. Let me just double check to make sure everything is in order."

            "Oh? That's cool. So you're looking for defects, making sure that my device is going to give me a great experience?"

            "Ah... yeah... no. That's not what we do."

            "Oh. Well then you're going to double check the settings to make sure that I'm not using the wood floor setting on my shag rug, right?"

            "Not so much."

            "Are you at least going to make sure that the filter is installed correctly and warn me that it needs replacing?"

            "No, but we will make sure that you're using official Microsoft Filters. Use of any other brand will void your warranty and cause the vacuum to overheat and burn a red ring into your carpet."

            "I see. Well, speaking of carpet, I had to change out the wheels because the default wheels keep getting snagged on my rug. But I figure, I'm only vacuuming my own rug so it's no big deal."

            "Oh? Is that so? Guess we're done here."

            "Thanks for stopping by! Time to get back to... Hey... How come my vacuum doesn't work any more? I can turn it on, but nothing is getting clean."

            "Since you modified the vacuum, that would give an unfair advantage to your abilities, so we had to stop you from using your vacuum."

            "Unfair advantage? I'm cleaning my house. My own house! What does that give me an advantage over?"

            "I'm sorry but we need to make sure that all customers of the SuckBox 720 have the same experience. Allowing you to use yours would cause problems if you ever vacuumed with your friends."

            "Vacuumed with..? You really think I'm going to bring this to a friends house and have a race of who can do suck dirt better?"

            "Sorry, but your vacuum is equipped with an Always-On Dirt Regulator Mechanism to prevent tampering so Microsoft can monitor vacuums to make sure no one is cheating or trying to give a bad experience to other owners."

            "How do I cheat at vacuuming? And it's just MY OWN F'N CARPET! Who cares how I do it? Fine. I'll put the old wheels back."

            "Sorry. But your vacuum has been marked as banned and will never work on our system again. If you wish to purchase a new vacuum, we will allow you get back on-line. However, we also flagged your registration information, and the credit card used to buy the vacuum. You'll have to register under a different name and use a different credit card or your new vacuum will be deactivated also."

            "Hello, big name electronics store? I'd like to order a DysonStation 4..."

      • Re:Better answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 05, 2013 @11:39AM (#43368813) Journal

        A vacuum cleaner is almost a necessity,

        #firstworldproblems. A vacuum cleaner is a luxury that helps you manage another luxury, carpet. Most people don't have carpet.

        The Mexican government has a program to help poor people upgrade to concrete, because dirt flooring is even worse. So please, whine about DRM on consoles, but remember your life is overall pretty good.

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      While I understand your 'vote with your wallet' ideals, it's not realistic in this culture.

      Adam's #dealwithit hash tag is really the nail in the coffin for his career.

      There are dozens of valid concerns with this. Least of which is server crashes.

      Members of the military commonly have consoles on deployment in FOBs and other bases. They don't always have an Internet connection.

      Many younger console owners travel with their console to a friend's house.

      Many console owners just don't have Internet access. But

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:39AM (#43367675)

    Microsoft has a very long history of not understanding what customers want.

    • by Holammer (1217422)

      Lies! Dirty lies! Windows 8 delivered everythagfhahahaaha heheheh. Can't keep a straight face.
      I'm obviously not cut out for marketing.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:39AM (#43367685) Journal

    He then likened people who worry about intermittent internet connectivity being an issue as the same as someone not buying a vacuum cleaner because the electricity sometimes goes out.

    So if we were to fulfill that analogy you would have to expect there are vacuum cleaners that already exist that run without electricity -- as almost all the games I own run without an internet connection. Now, a new vacuum cleaner comes out but it is required to always be plugged into the wall and it will only work if it is connected to a service that costs me a monthly payment. Correct, I would not buy this "new" vacuum cleaner as I have tons of old vacuums that somehow manage to get the job done without the need of electricity.

    Unsurprisingly I have purchased none of these always-on for the sake of DRM games.

    You're introducing a feature that none of your customers want -- a feature that complicates a product and causes them inconvenience for unclear benefits to you. A feature that introduces a new dependency and more moving parts to run the game. And how are you surprised, exactly, that there are many people upset about this?

    • He then likened people who worry about intermittent internet connectivity being an issue as the same as someone not buying a vacuum cleaner because the electricity sometimes goes out.

      So if we were to fulfill that analogy you would have to expect there are vacuum cleaners that already exist that run without electricity --

      There is - it is called a broom. Unfortunately, most people prefer a vacuum cleaner because it provides a better user experience. Sure, there are times when a broom is quite acceptable; but most people won't give up the vacuum in favor of the broom. That said, I am not surprised people are upset about always on DRM. The real issue, which his comments mask, is always on DRM is a way to prevent resale of games. Quite frankly, those without internet connectivity are probably not a big market for MS anyway; at

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        A vacuum is not a direct competitor to the broom. I have both, as I would bet most folks do. Brooms are for hard surfaces and vacuums for soft.

        Either way a vacuum offers some utility to the end user, DRM does not.

    • Not to wreck your analogy, but when I was a kid we had a carpet sweeper. It was a cheap vaccuum cleaner that, wait for it... didn't need to be plugged in. Then we decided to get an electric one because the carpet sweepers just weren't as good.

      Disclaimer: I don't own an xbox. Never have, and never will if they require an always on internet connection. I do have a steam account, but I'm in the odd minority (according to loudness of form posts) that has never had offline mode fail me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:41AM (#43367689)

    "When quizzed by other Twitter users about people with no internet connection, he suggested that they should get one"

    "When quizzed by the Microsoft Studio's creative director about clues, other Twitter users suggested that he should get one"

  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LinuxFreakus (613194) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:41AM (#43367691)
    What's so hard to understand? I like to have a games on my laptop or other device which I can play on an airplane, on the commuter rail, on a camping trip, etc... there are many times where I play games and do not have reliable internet... not to mention the potential security flaws which may exist in the networking code of said games which could compromise my devices. Maybe some people don't want to be online all the time. No?
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dywolf (2673597) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:53AM (#43367831)

      video games on a camping trip?
      that just seems so...unnecessary. so wrong.

      • video games on a camping trip?
        that just seems so...unnecessary. so wrong.

        After a long day of hiking / rafting with your friends, it's pretty fun to spend the evening drinking and gaming. I don't see the problem.

        • by jittles (1613415)

          video games on a camping trip? that just seems so...unnecessary. so wrong.

          After a long day of hiking / rafting with your friends, it's pretty fun to spend the evening drinking and gaming. I don't see the problem.

          Where do you get electricity to play video games while camping? Do you have someone carry a generator on their back instead of a backpack? Who gets that unpleasant duty?

          • From the plug.

            It's not uncommon to have electricity at camp sites. It really wasn't difficult in the 80s (you could use it for cooking, for electric lighting, possibly for the radio), and it's even less difficult now in an age when cellphone coverage while camping is a plausible safety feature.

            Why do you care about people having fun the wrong way anyway? Some people may go camping to "get away from" these things. Some people go camping to go to other things they like, or as a common meeting place between

    • by garyoa1 (2067072)

      Yeah. If your connection goes down what else is there to do BUT play games? And they want to take that away too?

    • What's so hard to understand? I like to have a games on my laptop or other device which I can play on an airplane, on the commuter rail, on a camping trip, etc...

      I doubt that an XBOX is targeted at airline or commuter train use; and when I go camping a generator is not exactly on my "put in ruck" list

  • That explains it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scotts13 (1371443) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:42AM (#43367709)

    See, I've always expected people like this don't ignore our concerns, they just can't comprehend we HAVE concerns. "I don't understand why you're all 'Argh, I'm starving!' Why don't you just get some food?"

  • by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:42AM (#43367711)
    Sooner or later every server is shut down. When the DRM server goes down, I'll be unable to use the console and the games for which I paid a expensive price? No thanks.
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:46AM (#43367749)

      That is true, but this situation is even more perverse. They now not only have to pay to keep the server running but the second the next version of the console/game ships they have a direct incentive to kill off the old DRM server. So not only can they deprive you of your game, but they have an incentive to do so to get you to upgrade on their schedule not yours.

  • by Kelerei (2619511) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:43AM (#43367713) Homepage
    To turn the article title around: "Gaming Console Users 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Requirements". And based on the SimCity launch (there's been other examples, but this one is, in my opinion, the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back), this has been the reality for a long time.

    Adam Orth has quite possibly done a fair bit of irreversible damage for the next-gen XBox's prospects.
    • by Kelerei (2619511)
      Replying to self: given the responses that were posted inbetween me reading the original article and getting my parent post in, substitute "quite possibly" with "most definitely".
  • "Deal with it" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:43AM (#43367715)

    This is why Microsoft is losing market share and why so many analysts are worried about the company's long-term future. "Deal with it" seems to be Microsoft's mantra not just in the console market, but with Windows as well. They let their employees' pride and stubbornness override basic business considerations. Metro must be shoved down everyone's throat, even if not a single desktop user wants it. Because if they backed down, then the people who worked on Metro would feel bad, and we can't have that, can we? The thing is, Microsoft can no longer get away with this kind of behavior. They're being pressured in the consumer space by tablets and smartphones and in the business space by evangelists of "the cloud". Just as Windows started out as a toy and then grew to dominate the market, we may see the same thing happen with Android – especially since, as an open-source product, anyone (not just Google) can take it in the direction they see fit.

    Orth, Ballmer, and those who think like them are soon going to figure out that "deal with it" isn't an acceptable answer when you're trying to get people to buy your stuff.

    • Re:"Deal with it" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xclr8r (658786) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:32AM (#43368245)
      Executive summary of this post. When big wigs shoot from the hip recklessly it can be costly: http://oldforums.eveonline.com/?a=topic&threadID=1538881 [eveonline.com]

      This reminds me of the Eve Online where they were introducing a new currency Aurum, had an internal newsletter (Fearless (Greed is Good)) That debated the pro's and cons of virtual currency. The playerbase was upset for a number of reasons:

      1. Pay to Win was not ruled out e.g. special ammo (some argue that PLEX is the same but I disagree).
      2. Price on current virtual items was limited and overly expensive (Monacle Gate - $60 U.S. for a virtual monocle for one character).
      3. Players felt that they were getting milked and non of their current fees were going back into development/bug fixing of Eve Online (Some milking is to be expected but the "perception" was all resources were going towards White Wolf MMO in Atlanta).

      The internal (leaked) response from the CEO was basically don't listen to the players watch what they do. The public response from one of the developers was some diatribe about how $1000 dollar Japanese Jeans makes one feel (no seriously - http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/06/24/eve-clothes-defense/ [rockpapershotgun.com] read the italicized text).

      The players then started mass rage quitting their subscriptions, the CSA (Player representatives) were flown and conference called to Iceland for an emergency meetings, CCP mea culpa'ed - reversed course on the most egregious issues and saved themselves from imminent death. However, CCP did not come out unscathed, they re-orged layed off a ton of people in the U.S. Atlanta that were working on White Wolf MMO which would not be cannibalistic to their core product. This was a bad call in my book but I don't have all the stats. They chose to keep developing DUST 514 a FPS for the Play Station 3 (Not sure how that is going) that can affect and be affected by Eve Online proper..
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:43AM (#43367717)

    Microsoft is an abuse company that makes software and now game consoles. Of course they would continue to offer the level of abuse they are known for on the console, that is what they do. People need to realize the software and hardware are just tools that let microsoft sell its real product, abuse.

  • He doesn't get it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cje (33931) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:44AM (#43367721) Homepage

    The issue is not "intermittent Internet connectivity." Most of the people who are spun up on this are concerned about the principle of always-on DRM in general. Even if people had an iron-clad agreement with their ISP that they would provide them with five-nines uptime on my WAN connection, it doesn't change the basic principle that lots of people are miffed that their Internet connection is being used on a 24-hour basis to demonstrate that they are, in fact, not thieves.

    Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that the most reliable Internet connection in the world is completely useless if the server(s) that you're attempting to connect to are down due to incompetence, unanticipated demand, DDoS attacks, etc.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:48AM (#43367777)

      You left out "Or have been turned off to get you to upgrade or just because the no longer want to support that product."

    • by Arker (91948) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:55AM (#43367855) Homepage

      You're right. It's also about locations with no internet activity. My get-away cabin doesnt have a phone and it sure as hell wont get internet. It's used for a few nights a month. The only time I have to do serious gaming will be when I am there. You really think I am going to pay another $80/month, plus several hundred if not thousand in install fees, to get a connection out there just so someone I paid good money to can spy on me with it?

      Forget that. The old gaming machine out there with old games and dosbox runs fine. I'd like to upgrade it but not at that cost. (Not talking about the cost of the xbox - assume that's free. Still not worth getting a high speed connection laid out to a location that has no need for it, where it will very rarely be used, and only to spy on me. That's just too high a price by itself.)

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:44AM (#43367731) Journal
    Whilst the customer isn't always always right, in this situation, the customer is. The customer doesn't want an always on connection. This applies to a lot of potential customers. Telling the customer they're wrong isn't going to make the customer change his mind. It's going to result in the customer not being a customer any more.
  • by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:45AM (#43367735)

    "Let them eat cake." -Attributed to M. Antoinette and Adam Orth

    "The cake is a lie." -Attributed to some poor bastard trying to get cake, and anyone dealing with always on DRM.

    Screw you Mr Orth, but it does look like you are choking on a gob of twitter frosting.

  • good stuff (Score:4, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:45AM (#43367739) Homepage Journal

    http://i.imgur.com/IWPsqOR.png [imgur.com]

    This is the shot I saw of some of his comments that was posted on Reddit. He seems to be rather out of touch.

    Not sure if this one is real (the above I feel pretty confident is untouched) but found it funny:

    http://i.imgur.com/rixjoS6.jpg [imgur.com]

  • by trydk (930014) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:47AM (#43367757)
    ... or (maybe more up his creek) take a nice trip island-hopping in the Caribbean in a sailboat without satellite connection.

    Either place may lack a proper, always-on Internet connection, but why should that stop the people from enjoying a game on their console?

    ... Oh, DRM!
    • by lxs (131946)

      You're island hopping in the Caribbean on a sailboat and you worry about being able to play computer games? Your priorities are clearly very different from mine.

  • by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:50AM (#43367791)
    I want to know on what planet - or alternate reality - Adam Orth lives. Because many things on my planet does not need to be "always on", and under no circumstances I can assume that I will always have a internet connection available.
  • ...for your next-gen gaming console that requires a persistent internet connection? Deal with it.

    The only games I have and will ever have that require an internet connection are MMOs, because, well, that's the point.
  • I'm not buying it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:50AM (#43367803)
    As a long term Xbox user, I can safely say that between the need for an always on connection plus the blocking of 2nd hand games AND the increase of per game costs forecast, I'm not going to be buying their next gen Xbox any time soon if at all. I love the 360 but whatever the 720 gets called is a huge turn off for me because of these issues.
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:52AM (#43367817)

    There are two things that bias the perspective of these business men.

    The first is that they look at business models rather than what the consumers want, and try to shape the consumer to meet the needs of their business model. Their main interest, after all, is to make money. The best way to make money, reliably, is to have a plan and execute it. Selling a product without a plan is suicidal, particularly for large businesses that need to coordinate within their own structure and with third party developers and suppliers.

    The second issue is that these business people know what their lives and interests are like, but they rarely understand the market as a whole. They have reliable high-speed internet because it is a function of their job, their lifestyle, and their income. They fail to consider that some people buy consoles because they live in rural locations and don't always have access to other forms of entertainment (or reliable, high-speed internet for that matter). They fail to realize that some people buy consoles because it is a relatively cheap form of entertainment, and may not be able to afford reliable high-speed internet. If the motivation is to kill off the second-hand game market, they fail to realize that even the big spenders use that to offset the cost of their entertainment. And that's just the stuff that would be easy for them to understand, because it is quantifiable. What about the stuff that is harder for them to understand because it isn't quantifiable, like privacy?

  • So to a person in a position of power at Microsoft, this is a very straightforward progression to tie the game experience into some kind of server-side authentication scheme

    Coming up with some anecdotes about how SOME people don't have the luxury of an always on internet connection does not change this

    I am not defending DRM, but I do believe the next step the console industry will take is widespread single-use codes to lock out used games on top of the line Titles (because of the success EA has had wi
  • It's more like deciding to not buy a particular new-fangled hammer because the electricity sometimes goes out.

    Because, you see.... a hammer doesn't actually need electricity to perform its function... and designing one that does simply for its own sake is more than just slightly ... uhmmm... stupid.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:55AM (#43367851) Journal

    First, using the 'Gee golly shucks, that's just the way the world is' argument when you are part of making the world that way is a smarmy cop-out.

    Sure, it is realistic and pragmatic to deal with conditions that are not within your power to change. However, if you change the conditions and then tell anybody who protests to just be realistic, that's the way it is, as though the matter is somehow one of historical inevitability, you are a shirking little weasel.

    Second, during the exchange screenshotted here [boingboing.net] he responds to the "some people's internet goes out" argument with "Electricity goes out too". Yup, no shit. However(as I hope some MS datacenter or operations people will be willing to take him into the hot aisle and beat into him with spare rack rails) Downtime is additive. If somebody says "Downtime source A exists." the correct answer is not "Oh yeah? Downtime source B also exists!". That isn't a refutation, that's just a confirmation that your uptime will potentially suffer from at least two weak links, rather than just one. Every system-critical component you add is a component that can reduce your uptime. 'Always on', just means that MS' datacenter operations and the customer's ISPs are now system-critical components.

    Third, has this guy taken a look at any market penetration numbers for wireline broadband vs. cell-only users and console vs. PC gaming in less connected and/or poorer areas? Whether he likes it or not, Gaming, especially console gaming, is now cheap entertainment(per hour). It also requires minimal technical aptitude or interest, and has historically had low costs of entry and relatively low and flexible ongoing costs. Having adequate wireline broadband, by contrast, tends to require the sort of steady income and financial footing that allows you to keep on good terms with the phone or cable company each month, every month. Is he trying to alienate everyone who has some disposable income and a desire for amusement; but not enough income(or at least not enough stability) for wireline broadband, a golden retriever, and a white picket fence in the suburbs?

  • I bought my vacuum cleaner more than 10 years ago and I don't have to worry that it will suddenly stop working because some mega corp flips a switch and says I can't use it any more. I fully expect it to work for another 10 or more years if I take care of it.

    Good luck using an internet DRMed game that long after release. I certainly wouldn't buy a vacuum cleaner if it could stop working like one of these games. You have to be pretty stupid to even buy something DRMed like that, but the world is full of stup

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:00AM (#43367911) Homepage Journal
    people with no internet connection, he suggested that they should get one, as it is 'awesome.'

    Just because you make $100K+/year and live in an area which has decent broadband doesn't mean the rest of world does. When you make $40K/year, have a mortgage payment, maybe a kid or two, car loans, maybe student loans, having to pay anywhere from $70/month or higher for slow broadband is not high on ones priority.

    This dismissive attitude, "I have it so it must be the best thing in the world!" is symptomatic of the tech culture. People who are glued to their screens as they check their Twitter feeds every ten seconds, Facebook updates every 30, and can't wait to stand in line for the latest and greatest gadget which will works .01% faster than the last gadget you bought six months ago, live in a wonderland world. They have no clue, nor understanding, of people who don't care one wit about tweeting their latest shit or posting their latest cute puppy picture.

    It may be hard for those who are heavy tech users to understand, but there are large and vast numbers of people on this planet who don't give a flying fuck about what you're doing. Certainly some are technophobic, but a large portion of those people just don't care. The treadmill of upgrading equipment, having to figure out how to use the latest and greatest piece of crapware that some developer, or company, thought was the be all and end all, the relentless drone of having to be always connected or you're not living life to its fullest, doesn't appeal to them. They want to know: how is this useful to them (aside from online banking or research), yet no one can give them a good answer.

    The usual response is something along the lines of, "You can keep in contact with your friends!" or, "You can find out where to eat before you get to some place." I guess it never occurs to people who have grown up on the pablum of technology that if one wants to communicate with friends they don't need to tweet, "We're coming over in 10 minutes! LOL" to communicate. A simple phone call or prearranged meeting is all that is necessary.

    Further, one doesn't have to plan out where they're going to eat when they visit a place. Exploring can be fun in and of itself. Besides, if one wants to know where to eat, they can ask someone at a gas station or on the street. Granted, this means having to TALK to a LIVE HUMAN BEING, but that is one of the dangers we all must navigate.

    If you don't get why people may not have an internet connection, let alone broadband, Mr. Orth, then that says all one needs to know about you and your company. You live in a fantasy land with only the barest of tendrils touching reality. Your deluded sense of self-importance is a shining example of what is wrong in tech, yet its lesson will go unheeded because if you're not connected, if you don't have the latest and greatest gadget, if you're not spending every waking moment staring at 3" screen, then you're a loser, right Mr. Orth?
  • Is there a list of single player games that required some type of server connection but has been shut down since introduction? The closest thing I can find is this:

    http://mmohuts.com/editorials/mmo-graveyard [mmohuts.com]

    It's not a perfect analogy since MMOs have a reasonable need for a connection to the server, unlike single player. It would be nice to reference whenever someone argues for always-on DRM.
  • ... a vacuum cleaner is a simple device. It does a thing: it sucks up dirt. All of the fancy engineering bits are just there so that it can suck dirt better (which, incidentally, is why it requires electricity, although you can also buy battery-operated vacuum cleaners!) There are lots of sorts of vacuum cleaner, but they're all designed so that they do what you want better.

    The problem with Microsoft's console isn't that it has to be plugged in all the time; it's that this requirement is there for the benef

  • by duckgod (2664193) on Friday April 05, 2013 @10:57AM (#43368447)
    For me when DRM(especially Always-On) gets involved I no longer own the game. I am just licensing the game. The company may take away my license at any time.

    I don't mind licensing a game. But lets get it straight that in no way shape or form should I be expected to pay the same amount for a license of a game and a copy of the game which I can do whatever I want with. I think this is why Steam has had so much success is because I often feel like their prices are taking this concept into thought.
  • by xtal (49134) on Friday April 05, 2013 @11:12AM (#43368575) Homepage

    Their tablet guys "don't get" a lot of things.

    Their OS guys "don't get" a lot of things.

    Adapt or die.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday April 05, 2013 @11:33AM (#43368769) Homepage
    I assume his boss let him know he's a tit and that's why he set his account to private. I'm glad he's effectively confirmed the next Xbox will be a bigger steaming turd and I can safely ignore it
    • by utoddl (263055)

      Orth has also now switched his Twitter account settings to private.

      ...or as we like to call it, "not-always-on".

  • Change of Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday April 05, 2013 @12:09PM (#43369119) Homepage

    It's a change of business focus. The point is that they do not make any money selling consoles, and they do not make as much money as they want off of selling games. That business is dead. What he is really saying, is that they are using the console to drive their new business, where all the profits come from on-line content. In other words, their is no product without an internet connection, because the real product is network based. The console is just a way to access the content.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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