Earlier this week Adam Orth got into a bit of a mess with a Twitter conversation with his friend Manveer Heir. While damage control efforts are in full effect with the Twitter account locked and hidden, given the rumors about Microsoft’s next console requiring an internet connection it was only a matter of time before Microsoft made a statement about the debacle.
That statement was an apology for his off-color remarks and a refusal to comment on any of the rumors about its next console.
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.
This is continuing a very frustrating trend in the gaming industry of trying to control information completely. Keeping information quiet before making a large formal announcement is one thing, letting most of the world believe that your product is going to be literally unusable for a sizable portion of your market does not strike me as good business sense.
If Microsoft’s next console is going to require an internet connection for single-player games and apps? Tell us already! I won’t be buying it, but at least the rumors will stop floating around and you will be able to say you got the bad news out of the way early. If it will not require internet? Tell us already! It would be a relief to a great many Xbox fans.
Why the silence?
I can think of one good reason to keep quiet about each possibility. If the nextbox is going to require a live connection at all times, saving the announcement of such for the overall console announcement could mean an attempt to make it seem like a desirable feature, rather than a major negative. If this is the case, I would like to know if anyone at Microsoft actually believes a stance like that will seriously work. The people who would buy that idea would likely buy it anyway, while it will have zero impact on the people the always-online requirement will push away.
The reason to keep the nextbox not requiring internet quiet could simply be to make the announcement that it will not be always-online more dramatic. It would be dramatic. It would be exciting. It is also leaving your fans and supporters in limbo for months dealing with some very unpleasant possibilities. The purpose of your console announcement should be to build hype, not to dispel a particularly nasty rumor. I want that announcement to be an exultant occasion, not just a relief.