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Adam Orth’s “Always On” Twitter Gaffe refers to a series of controversial statements made on Twitter by Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth in defense of games that require an Internet connection to play.
On April 4th, 2013, Gawker Media’s video game blog Kotaku published an article reporting that the next Xbox console might require an active Internet connection to play games. Fueled by the Electronic Arts’s disastrous reception of the SimCity in February 2013, the rumors immediately sparked online debates about “always-on” gaming, with many arguing that gamers shouldn’t be forced to have a stable Internet connection to play games they have purchased. That day, Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth published several tweets expressing his support for always-on games.
Orth then began arguing with Bioware gameplay designer Manveer Heir, posting tweets stating that people without Internet need to “get with the times,” that he wants every device to be “always on” and responded to criticism with a Barack Obama cell phone image macro with the caption “deal with it”.
On April 5th, 2013, Redditor MrWill4466 posted a screenshot of Orth’s Twitter exchange with Heir to the /r/gaming subreddit, which reached the front page accumulating over 50,200 up votes and 8,500 comments in the next 24 hours. In the comments section of the post, Redditor squirrelmasterzero claimed to have previous worked with the creative director at Fox Interactive and revealed that Orth demanded people call him “Sweet Billy.”
One hour later, Redditor C-Ron submitted another post to the /r/gaming subreddit, with additional screenshots of Orth’s tweets. Within 24 hours, the post gained more than 9,900 up votes and 1,100 comments. The same day, NeoGAF Forums member shinobi602 created a thread about the selected tweets, which received many responses criticizing Orth’s support of always-on gaming. After seeing the NeoGaf thread, Heir published several tweets defending Orth, saying they were merely joking with each other.
<a href="https://twitter.com/adam_orth">adam_orth</a> got NeoGAFed. You should know we are good friends who joke around with one another. Don't read too much into our back & forth.</p>— Manveer Heir (manveerheir) April 5, 2013
All those tweets you are seeing about the city being superior. That’s him just trolling me. And I fell for it. Don’t bust his balls on that.— Manveer Heir (@manveerheir) April 5, 2013
Orth followed up by tweeting an apology, saying that he was just trolling Heir. Redditor jbrake posted a screenshot of Orth’s apology and Heir’s defense to the /r/gaming subreddit, where it received over 2,800 up votes and 440 comments. Orth’s Twitter account was subsequently made private, causing all of his previous tweets to be hidden. Hours later, Twitter user @LynnDawson tweeted at Microsoft Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business Aaron Greenberg with a screenshot of one of Orth’s tweets, to which Greenberg replied that he did not know who Orth was.
News Media Coverage
Orth’s tweets and the subsequent Internet backlash were reported on by several news sites and gaming blogs, including Forbes, The Huffington Post, Kotaku,CNET, Joystiq and Techno Buffalo.
On April 5th, the “Always Online Adam Orth” Quickmeme page was created, which featured Orth’s Twitter profile picture accompanied by captions mocking him for his support of always-on games. In less than 24 hours, the page accumulated upwards of 280 submissions.