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Always Online is Not the Future

Recently, as many already know, Adam Orth made a complete Orth of himself and Microsoft with his "deal with it" Tweet, saying that electronics are completely useless unless they have an Internet connection. I appreciate people like Orthy, I really do; comedians are under-appreciated, I think.

Unfortunately, he wasn't kidding. Well, he claims he that some of his comments were just "joking", but I suspect that he's just backpedaling. Ironically, it was a BioWare employee who called him out on his ridiculous ranting. If BioWare is telling you your Tweets are stupid, something is seriously wrong. Apparently, according to Orth, there's no point in playing video games if you don't have an Internet connection. He then went on to cite some of the poorest analogies I've ever seen in my entire life. Let's think about this for a second. Orth says he won't buy a vacuum cleaner if there's no electricity. That' fair. A vacuum cleaner cannot operate without power. However, can a video game console operate without an Internet connection? Absolutely. Thus, this comparison is invalid. A more fitting analogy would a vacuum clearer being unable to operate if one of it's nonessential features wasn't working. That's just silly. According to Adam's logic (if you want to call it that), if you don't have good reception, your cell phone shouldn't display the time, or let you play tetris.

Orth wants every device to be always on. All of them. What about my iPod? If I can't connect to iTunes, should I be barred from the music I own? What if I don't have Internet connection but I want to read the books I own on my Kindle? Can't do that, either I suppose. This isn't the future. This isn't the next big step, like Orth so foolishly believes. It's a big step backwards. Having an online connection is great. It opens a whole new world of possibilities for your console. However, it's not the alpha and omega of gaming. Believe it or not, not everyone plays online. Why should they be left in the dust? I want to do what I want with my console. So long as I'm not breaking the law, what I do is my own business.

How exactly does this benefit the consumer? It doesn't. This would in no way make "Durango" a better console. Forcing people to always be online doesn't solve anything, as it only punishes the customer. My PS3 is almost always online. I have connection most of the time. When I don't however, I'm not punished for it. If people like Orth have their way, we'll be less connected, not more. This isn't a way of making sure everyone has an internet connection; it's just a way of needlessly punishing those who don't.

One only needs to look at the disastrous launches of Diablo III and SimCity to understand the obvious fallacies with this "always online" mantra. It's a pipe dream. It can't happen. No one has perfect Internet connection, and I know Microsoft's servers sure won't. When they inevitably do go down, why limit what your console can do? This only sets restrictions on your console. The idea that I need to be online to play a single player game is just ludicrous. If I want to be, I'll log on. Think about it. Without this restriction, I can still be online as often as I need to be. However, when my Internet still goes down, I can still enjoy the games I rightfully own on the console I legally obtained. That gives my console more versatility, whereas "always online" gives me less. Having the power go out is unfortunate. Not being able to play my games because my connection is bad, or worse, Microsoft's servers aren't working properly, is an completely avoidable mess. This is a problem that you're creating. This isn't the future. It's just bullshit.

Deal with that, Orth.
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About Kenneth Cummingsone of us since 5:17 AM on 03.22.2013

My name is Ken. I have a deep passion for art and storytelling, video games in particular. You can follow me on Twitter here: