The more I read about this Adam Orth situation, the more irritating it becomes. Not because Orth was particularly offensive—he was mostly just being hyperbolic and insensitive—but because gamers have completely thrown any semblance of reasonable thought out the window.
If you're not familiar with the story, you may want to read this little article. It should bring you up to speed. Plus it highlights Orth's Weezer connection, which will come in handy when you're struggling to find interesting topics of conversation at work or on blind dates.
Here's the thing: Every time I read another article about Orth's behavior, I inevitably find a handful of commenters who are using it as evidence for Microsoft’s villainy. But that's idiotic. Microsoft has nothing to do with Orth's option. In fact, Aaron Greenberg, the Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, publicly distanced himself, and the company, from the fiasco.
Microsoft employs nearly 100,000 people, so it shouldn't be surprising that a few of them don't exactly align with the company’s mission statement. Personality differences can become a minefield in any company, and Microsoft has more Minefields than most.
If you really want to hate Microsoft, there are plenty of other reasons. The fact that the Xbox 720 will probably require an always-on internet connection is a valid concern. The Xbox 360's numerous hardware problems and Microsoft's strange Xbox LIVE policies are also solid. Or the fact that Microsoft almost never releases any first-party titles, which makes Xbox ownership somewhat less rewarding. But don't try to use a staff member's words to draw conclusions about the entire company. That's just lazy.
And if you're about to defend yourself because you think that Orth's position as a creative director places him higher on the totem pole and therefore somehow adds weight to his words, I'm going to stop you right there. How many creative directors do you think Microsoft has? They have dozens, if not hundreds, of departments that all work independently from one another, and I would imagine that nearly all of them has a similar position. He’s not an executive. He’s a dude in his 30s who plays a lot of video games.
The fact is, I doubt that anyone who's using Orthgate as an excuse for comments like "Looks like I'll never be purchasing another Microsoft Product" actually planned on purchasing one in the first place. And this type of vitriolic fanboyism is something that the gaming industry could do without. If you want to hate Microsoft, find a valid reason.
Or, better yet, don't instinctively hate anything. Your blood pressure will thank me.
Date: April 8, 2013