Adam Orth: for some he was a martyr, but for many he was the personification of the video game industry’s most anti-consumer policies. One tweet and one hashtag was all it took for the former Microsoft creative director to turn the gaming masses against him. The fiasco – which occurred back in April of this year – centered on Orth’s apathy towards gamers who did not have a level of internet access necessary to use Microsoft’s then unannounced, always-online Xbox One. Needless to say, it didn’t end well, with Orth resigning from Microsoft, never to be heard of again – until now.
Regardless of which side of the always-online fence a gamer sat on, most would be surprised to find that Adam Orth still contributes to the video game industry. Even more would be surprised to find that he emerged from his scuff with the angry, faceless internet mob feeling better than ever.
During a phone interview with Kotaku, Adam Orth described how he’d managed to turn a bad situation to an overwhelmingly positive one.
“I decided that I wasn’t going to let this define me, and I wasn’t going to let it destroy my life. I just started being creative and focusing on raising my daughter. I had probably the greatest summer of my life not doing anything–not working, not worrying about it. From May to September I just lived life and didn’t worry about what happened.”
According to Kotaku, Orth’s transformation involved him changing his diet, losing 50 pounds in weight, sharpening his mental state and redefining who he was to all those close to him. That’s not to say that Orth’s initial reaction to the war waged against him was a pleasant one.
“Details at that time are a little blurry, because everything was happening so fast. It’s a really odd feeling when everyone is piling onto you like that. It’s not something I can really describe well. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. You know how the Internet is, right? There’s no checks and balances for what you can say so everything just became the most super-negative thing ever.”
Orth attribute his rise from the depths of depression to the support given to him by numerous members of the video game industry, including Harvey Smith and Brenda Romero. Orth currently enjoys a new creative career in Santa Monica, dreaming up indie games under the name Three One Zero.
“I often tell people that this was the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s hard for people to hear that, because they saw what happened…But, you know, it was an amazing, life-changing experience for me. I wouldn’t want to go back to the person I was before then.”
While it’s good to hear that Adam Orth’s life wasn’t completely destroyed as a result of his infamous “#dealwithit” tweet, one can’t help but find difficultly in celebrating his ordeal as a ultimately positive experience. The comments Orth made via Twitter were irresponsible and unintentionally highlighted an anti-consumer picture already painted by the likes of Diablo III, SimCity and Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Conversely, the comments Orth made on the then-always-online, yet-to-be-announced Xbox One resulted in myriad discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of modern day DRM. As a result, Microsoft’s official announcement of the Xbox One and its restrictive, always-online technology caught no one by surprise. In fact, one could go as far as to suggest that Orth inadvertently gave gamers a much needed heads up on Microsoft’s plans, resulting in Microsoft’s eventual back peddling.
Should gamers be sympathetic with Adam Orth, or do his comments still pain those that were originally offended? Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
Microsoft’s Xbox One will be released in most Western territories on November 22nd.