Friday Flame Wars: Sorry, Mr. Orth?

Friday Flame Wars is a recurring feature on Game Front. We present a hot-button issue and then encourage a no-holds-barred commenting battle royale healthy debate within our community.


Former Microsoft Game Studios Creative Director Adam Orth resigned this week, apparently as a result of things he said on Twitter.

The Orth story is something of a familiar one, in which a person who’s something of a public figure, or at the very least representative of a company, makes public comments on Twitter and kicks up a commotion. In Orth’s case, the subject was the possibility of an always-online Xbox console to pop up this year. The trouble wasn’t that Orth advocated an always-online console, but that he was a bit of a jerk about it, marginalizing people with legitimate complaints about Internet connectivity and living in rural areas. You can read the tweets here.

Apparently, what Orth said got some people pretty angry, and within a few days, the backlash had caused Microsoft to issue a statement apologizing for his comments and to say that Orth was not a spokesperson for the company. Not long after that, he was out at Microsoft completely.

Orth’s story demonstrates something of a cautionary tale about mouthing off on the Internet for all to see, but then again, did the punishment fit the crime? Sure, a lot of us are upset about always-on requirements — they limit paying customers’ abilities to access the things for which they’ve paid. But Orth is definitely not alone in his viewpoint on always-on, and he wasn’t even that mean? Did he deserve to be made to resign?

This is where you come in. Let us know what you think in the comments: Did Orth deserve to get shuffled off, or did the Internet (and Microsoft) overreact and cost a guy his job?

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20 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: Sorry, Mr. Orth?

Air Jimma

On April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

He didn’t use his brain. In my mind it was the equivalent of a waiter being a to a customer he is serving. If it was a one time thing it might not get them fired, but repeating the behavior certainly would.

In this case he used the internet for his ery and managed to be a to most of the customer base in one go.

If he used his brain, he would have realized his employers would not like him posting unauthorized, condescending remarks to customers on the internet.

He got what he deserved. Keep it to yourself next time, .

Air Jimma

On April 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Gamefront, weak.

Your language filter is ridiculous, on top of being overly sensitive, it just removes the words and doesn’t replace them with characters indicating something was there. You filtered out a word the author used in his article from my post making it considerably harder to understand.

D–k is immature, sure, but hardly worthy of censoring.

Lee

On April 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Considering the great damage he may have done to Microsoft’s relationship to it’s customers, my answer is yes. His response could have costed Microsoft some if not a lot of customers. Firing him is the best move they have to win some customers back.

Kevin

On April 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm

You know, I’d say its karma, or some kind of comeuppance that just so deliciously fits the situation.

Now Orth needs to #DealWithIt.

goose2989

On April 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I do think that it was overkill to force Adam to resign; there’s no reason he should have lost his career because of it. I do think, however, that mouthing off to customers (even the anonymous, unwashed mashes of the Internet) is completely unacceptable. Adam should have been required to suspend future Tweets, or public interaction in general. Something along those lines would have sufficed.

goose2989

On April 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Actually, going back and re-reading Adam’s Tweets, I have no sympathy for him. Being fired was exactly what he deserved. The complete disregard for people that are in a lower class than he is makes me want to throw him in front of a bus. I realize this sounds insensitive, but he was insensitive in the first place. Many Americans don’t have the luxury of the Internet, let alone fast Internet. A one-time purchase of a video game console, especially a used one, is within the limits of poor Americans, while a monthly bill for Internet service is not. Every American can’t afford reliable Internet service, while Adam assumes each of us can, and patronizes people that can’t.

gasmaskangel

On April 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

The question we should ask ourselves is this “if I were his boss, would I fire him?” For the sake of this exercise, lets pretend that we’re not talking about something we have a great deal of personal interest in. Substitute whatever you like for always online, I’m personally casting him as Marie Antoinette discussing the peasants of Paris having no bread to eat.

He demonstrated the sort of unprofessionalism and shortsighted stupidity that gets people fired from other jobs, so yeah.

I can’t overstate the stupidity part. What he did was monumentally stupid, the sort of idiocy that gets retold in public relations classes for years to come. If you can in anyway be construed as a representative of your employer it is a terrible idea to say “then let them eat cake” in regards to customer complaints, especially anywhere public.

Honestly I find this more funny than anything else.

gasmaskangel

On April 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm

In case my post wasn’t clear, my answer the question I posed at the start of it is “hell yes I’d fire his ass!”

goose2989

On April 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm

@gasmaskangel

You summed up my thoughts much more eloquently.

Bravo.

quicktooth

On April 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Totally appropriate he was fired. He specifically tried to cost his company customers. His company, there to make a profit, did what it needed to to make sure it kept making money. Case closed. One also should observe- he was insensitive and condescending, and in a position of power (so he could act on that condescension and insensitivity). Not only was he being antisocial, he’d make us pay for it. Sounds like a FIRST CLASS CANDIDATE for being a lowest level employee- and not at all a senior figure. Actually, there are VAST NUMBERS OF PEOPLE who’d like to work in the games industry- there really are plenty of fresh and eager faces there to replace him, and with no slot to fit into in a company until a position opens up. I for one would like to see what they’ve got. Disclaimer: My brother would like to work in games. But doesn’t even apply as he’s convinced he’ll never get in (in spite of fine skills and the fact he has made some great custom maps).

Mike

On April 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm

@gasmaskangel

“I’m personally casting him as Marie Antoinette discussing the peasants of Paris having no bread to eat. ”

She actually never said that, that quote belonged to an earlier Queen. It was only attributed to Marie Antoinette in a pathetic way for the French to soothe some feelings that were ruffled about killing someone who didn’t actually do anything wrong.

yuke

On April 13, 2013 at 12:28 am

It’s not really about what he said. He could of gave his viewpoints and addressed them if he felt like it without being condescending, but instead of reasoning such a decision that would already receive a large amount of backlash and thus at least show there was thought in the decision; he exacerbated the issue and made the always-on ideal even harder to achieve than it was.

I think someone who had as much responsibility as he did, and to squander it without much thought, deserves to be fired.

R.J

On April 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm

It’s bad enough to be perceived as a company that doesn’t care what its customers want, but it is much worse to have an employee basically confirm it. Yes, MS was quick to try to distance itself from Orth’s comments, but the damage was done.

Chips

On April 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

No sympathy. The guy acted like a complete tool. He made Microsoft look bad and marginalised the audience with his tone. He relied on personal insults instead of responding to legitimate criticism by explaining why he believed always-online was the way forward. He had to go, and for all Microsoft’s sins I’m glad they made an example of him. Lord knows if EA would fire Casey Hudson they might regain a bit of respect.

R-man

On April 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm

As soon as I read his condescending tweets, I felt pretty darn angry and wanted to punch the guy in the face. And I don’t often feel like that unless someone is being particularly douche-y or ignorant. I felt like this so much so that I also felt a sort of hatred towards Microsoft, since in the back of my mind, he was speaking for them. So, when I found out that they had fired him and issued an apology for it, I felt a little better about Microsoft again. So, therefore, yes. Even just given this example, Microsoft made the right choice because they may have saved themselves from a world of financial hurt due to this man’s idiotic and just downright ignorant statements. And this isn’t the only reason why I feel this way. Because this man either didn’t think before he spoke, or was just “too good for us consumers” to care, he fully deserved the hard lesson he had to learn by losing his job. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

Danny

On April 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

ssss

Wesker1984

On April 14, 2013 at 9:05 am

”Did he deserve to be made to resign?”

YES! This guy was a jerk!

Deal with it mr jerk.

Beckett

On April 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

He absolutely deserved it.
It’s not that all peoplel, would resign from buying a always-online console, many might in fact find it useful.
Orth was a complete jerk about it, to use mild words.
As I probably will buy a new XBox, after reading his words I’d get two. The second one just for throwing it at him. Of course while it being online…

Cati

On April 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I think it was Podcast Beyond that said they wished people would get as uppity about real things as they do with things like SimCity/Orth, and…yeah.

Matthew S

On April 16, 2013 at 4:44 am

His resignation was deserved……

Not because of his views on the always online requirement, but because of his attitude and hostile behaviour towards people who didnt share his views

He left MS no choice really. As an employee of the company how he acts reflects on MS and he acted like a condescending a-hole.

On the upside maybe he can find work at EA, they’re pretty big on treating customers like garbage.