Adam Orth Has Become a Campaigner Against Cyber Bullying
Poor Adam Orth. The man made the perfectly innocent mistake of mocking the unwashed plebeians who were unable to meet the exacting demands of Microsoft’s always-on Xbone DRM scheme, and before he knew it he was out of a cushy executive job, and [allegedly] receiving sixty irate Twitter messages a minute! Any man would feel positively hard done at this completely unprovoked cyber bullying, and boy does Adam Orth feel hard done by – so much so that he has taken his pity party on the road, addressing similarly hard done by game developers at his 2014 Game Developers Conference talk entitled ‘Mob Rules’! According to Orth such cyber bullying has a “chilling effect” on industry creativity and openness which is both “very real and very dangerous”. Moreover, Orth worries that such hurtful behaviour may lead to any number of “awful” outcomes, such as suicide.
“How did we get here? This supposed to be fun. This is supposed to be the dream. Nobody got into this industry to be ripped apart and have their families threatened online by the very people that consume their games. Does it have to be like this?
People began to distance themselves from me, I was dejected, ashamed, and embarrassed. I destroyed my career and feared being blacklisted by the industry. I went from income to no income.”
One’s heart weeps for Adam Orth. We all witnessed as one moment of tactless blithering idiocy “chilled” the creativity of Microsoft, leading to the complete abandonment of their grand vision for the Xbone, and the departure of Don Mattrick. And why? Because some entitled gamers feel as though they should be able to ‘own’ their own games? Games are art, and nobody owns art. Gamers should not have been so selfish! Worry not though, timid reader, Orth sees future promise in heavily moderated and punitive online spaces such as Polygon’s comment threads, Microsoft’s Xbox Live, and League of Legend’s ‘punishment tribunal’. Because goodness knows we could all use a little extra punishment.
Microsoft’s Phil Harrison: This Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Since the November launch of the eighth generation of video game consoles, the industry has seen Sony’s PS4 streak ahead of Microsoft’s Xbone, consolidating a mighty lead. The PS4’s meteoric ascent slingshot it to a market-leading first place, amassing sales of 6.3 million units or 39.3% of the entire market. By contrast the Xbone languishes behind the Wii U on 3.9 million units sold or just 24.2% of the market. The reason for this is not simply due to the fact that the Xbone has been heavily compromised in order to run Kinect and casual apps [leaving it at a processing disadvantage against the PS4], but more importantly because of the shambolically confused strategies and messaging coming from Xbox executives. Xbox lost its boss, Don Mattrick, before the console even launched, and again just recently when Stephen Elop replaced Mattrick’s successor. Now just this week the fourteen year Xbox veteran Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer of Xbox, has seen fit to bail on the Xbox experiment, saying:
“I have had the extreme pleasure over the last 14 years to work on the greatest product with the greatest team and for the greatest community. Xbox is so special because of the amazing team I’ve had the opportunity to work with and because our fans are the most incredible fans on the planet. It has been the highlight of my career to work on a product so loved. It’s incredibly tough to leave but I am confident the best days are ahead for Xbox fans, in the capable hands of a very talented team.”
The best days ahead for Xbox? Perhaps not. It is currently mired in third place, though it will probably pip the Wii U some time in the second half of the year. In terms of worldwide sales Microsoft’s machine has only been able to best the PS4 on two occasions; the PS4 drought following launch, and the week of Titanfall‘s release [by paltry twenty thousand units]. The PS4 shows no signs of flagging any time soon, and every sign of hitting ten million units some time before the end of the year. This utter domination would be enough to knock the wind out of many men’s sails, but not Phil Harrison. Microsoft’s resident Uncle Fester is still characteristically full of piss and bluster. Apparently everything is executing to plan, and the race has just started, and the race is a marathon rather than a sprint, so Sony’s numbers mean nothing…
“We’re 120 days into our platform lifecycle. You know better than anyone that this is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re happy with our plan. We’re happy with the performances of our key franchises and key partnerships, most notably Titanfall in the last couple of weeks. You can see independent surveys and studies showing our sell-through doubling in the U.K. as far as hardware. We have a fantastic lineup we’ll reveal more of at E3 and beyond. We have a lot of great surprises to come.”
OK, so that sounds reasonable. The seventh generation lasted for an overlong seven years, and a lot of things can happen within that kind of timeframe. Harrison’s contention is that there is still plenty of time for Microsoft to turn things around and romp it home – sure, that seems doable. What do you think, circa 2008 Don Mattrick?
“History has shown us that the first company to reach 10 million in console sales wins the generation battle. We are uniquely positioned to set a new benchmark for the industry.”
Sorry, Microsoft, but Mattrick says ‘no’. It is actually a very good point that Mattrick makes, if not true in every instance. By the point that the PS1 and PS2 hit ten million units sold the brand had already built up too much steam to be effectively assailed. On the other hand, the 360 was eventually outsold by the PS3, yet it took years of the PS3 outselling the 360 every month for the 360’s couple of million units headstart to be whittled away in the dying days of the seventh generation. It is difficult to see Microsoft getting a second wind capable of upsetting Sony, especially given how poor Microsoft’s own internal development capabilities are.
Kojima Unconcerned At the Poor Value Represented By Ground Zeroes
Over the previous few weeks it was revealed that Konami’s thirty dollar Metal Gear Solid V demo, Ground Zeroes, could be beaten in a mere two hours and subsequently ninety minutes – but that time was posted by someone who took their time to fully explore the game’s sandbox environment. What then for the player attempting an efficient A to B run? This week it has been discovered by Eurogamer’s Ian Higton that the Ground Zeroes demo can be completed in an utterly pitiful ten minutes. Once players complete the main mission there is then five missions of banal filler content that they can tackle in the vain effort to validate their purchase. One can only imagine that these filler missions can be completed in the same timeframe [or less] as the main mission, making for a potential hour-long experience [make-work inclusive].
All this does not seem to bother Kojima however, who seems to think that Ground Zeroes is a great value proposition:
“I believe people will be satisfied with the ‘Play Time’ of GZ and will not stress the ‘Clear Time,’ which is a standard for linear games.”
Fucking what, Kojima? Industry standards do not apply to your linear sandbox camapign because why now? Kojima has [predictably] been doing much in the way of shilling this game over the last several weeks, and the central theme surrounding much of his talk of value seems to stem from his steadfast belief that players will complete the emaciated main campaign many times, while assiduously tracking down all the collectable cassette tapes and dog tags. This might be the way that steadfast Kojima apologists opt to play, if for no other reason than their sheer bloody-mindedness, but that is not how normal people will play the game. For normal players it will be once through, and then back to Gamestop to trade in their buyer’s remorse.