Microsoft Creative Director Fights with Twitter Users Over "Always-On" Consoles
April 5, 2013 11:58 AM
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This may be a clue as to what to expect with the next Xbox console
Microsoft's creative director put up quite a fight in favor of always-online consoles, which is a particularly curious move -- especially on Twitter -- when the company hasn't said much about its upcoming Xbox console.
Adam Orth, a creative director at Microsoft Studios, posted a tweet that said "Sorry, 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."
While this tweet wasn't too surprising, what transpired afterward ended up being pretty interesting. Two Twitter users -- Alex Wells (@TheonlyAlexW) and Manveer Heir (@manveerheir) -- disagreed with Orth's initial tweet, and Orth came back pretty strong.
Here's the Twitter conversation transcribed:
: I want every device to be "always on."
: Off the top of my head I know 5 people who own 360's who currently have no access to the internet. They would be screwed.
: Those people should definitely get with the times and get the Internet. It's awesome.
: Did you learn nothing from Diablo III or SimCity? You know some people's Internet goes out right? Deal with it is a sh*tty reason.
: Electricity goes out too.
Sometimes the electricity goes out. I will not purchase a vacuum cleaner.
The mobile reception in the area I live in is spotty and unreliable. I will not buy a mobile phone.
While Microsoft (or Orth) haven't made any specific mentions about how the "always-on" argument applies to the next Xbox console, this little Twitter argument may be dropping some clues.
In December 2012,
Xbox Live subscribers
lost the Cloud Saved Games feature
, which allows gamers to store saved games online and pick them up later on a different console if they'd like. The outage lasted anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
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4/8/2013 11:18:15 AM
How are you wrong? Let me count the ways...
Firstly, 6% is the wrong number..."official" studies often put it at 10%, but their methodology is frequently demonstrably poor, such as declaring a whole zip code to have broadband if one household in it has broadband. 15% is a more reasonable estimate.
Secondly, they *have* internet. For the most part, anyway...overwhelmingly people can get either cellular wifi (best of possible non-broadband options), satellite (automatically not valid for gaming because of latency...not to mention caps like wifi), or of course good old dial-up.
Thirdly, you think people who live in rural areas have a lower income? You're insane. People who live in rural areas have much better than average income, especially compared to the vapid morons who live in urban apartments so small they can't actually own anything...except an XBox.
Fourth - "high resistance to tech?" Based on what analysis did you get that idea in your pointy little head? Sure, I suppose there's some hermits in the hills someplace living Unabomber-style...but there's no predictable aversion to technology for people who choose not to live in a city. That's just your own stupidity talking.
Fifth - you say "less availability" - but don't say of what. So, that point is pointless.
The realistic fact of the matter is that something like 47 million Americans without access to broadband. Cut that down however you like...make up whatever number you want as potential sales for the new XBox. Say it's 5 million, for no particular reason.
What's the new XBox going to sell for? Let's say $400 for the sake of argument. There's $2 billion dollars in abandoned revenue on the loss of those sales right there. Does $2 billion sound like a reasonable amount of income that Microsoft should pass up, if you're a Microsoft shareholder? How about the continuing revenue from those extra 5 million XBox users? And how about game sales to those 5 million extra XBox users? How many games does an average XBox user buy? Let's say they buy 5 games each, at $60 a pop. There's another $1.5 billion that the game publishers didn't make, because Microsoft abandoned a large portion of the available market. Reckon you'd be happy with Microsoft if you were an XBox developer over the loss of $1.5 billion from your market?
As for any kind of "trade off analysis" that you think Microsoft did...firstly, it's clear they didn't. But assuming they did, how about you demonstrate how the loss of billions of dollars from abandoning a significant portion of the market for no good reason will be made up by forcing the console to be "always-on." How is "always-on" going to make up for the loss of billions of dollars? Is you XBox just going to creep to your wallet late at night and phone home with your credit card number? Is that why it needs to be "always-on?" Or is there some other way that "always-on" will magically make up for those lost billions of dollars?
In the end, the point is this: regardless of what you think the size of the abandoned market is, and what the lost revenue there was, artificially forcing the requirement of "always-on" guarantees lost revenue, but produces no new revenue. No matter how you slice it, Microsoft, the game publishers, and the potential consumer base all lose. There is no possible upside. There's no way. If I was a Microsoft shareholder (I'm not), I'd be furious. Class-action lawsuit on the way.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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