Microsoft Apologizes for Employee's Always-Online Tweets, Avoids Saying If Next-Gen Xbox Will Require Online

Microsoft is sorry about yesterday's Twitter drama surrounding Adam Orth, a creative director at the company's Xbox division, though they're not ready to speak freely about the part of that drama that could actually affect your gaming future.

"We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday," the company said in a statement published to the blog of Xbox official Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb.

"This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter."

Note: They're not touching that always-online thing.

If you're catching on to this story late, the short version is: 1) Rumors fly for months that the next-gen Xbox will require an online connection, 2) Some outlets report this as fact. 3) Top Kotaku sources say it's happening. 4) We report on our findings yesterday, clearly stating what we know and don't know and introducing the idea that games and apps won't start without an online connection, but that the console can tolerate a dropped connection for a few minutes 5) Microsoft's Orth tweets about how always-online devices are "the world we live in." 6) You find yourself reading this sentence.

So what is Microsoft apologizing for exactly?

We should also note that our original report did not include some of Orth's Tweets which championed the idea of living in cities—places that ostensibly get better Internet than rural areas. "Why would I want to live there?" he Tweeted, in reference to towns in Virginia and Wisconsin that might not have awesome Internet connections. Some took it as a slam against any potential customers who don't live in big cities. We assumed he was kidding about that, but we also now believe that that is what Microsoft is now saying doesn't match how they talk about customers. That's our educated guess based on how today's statement is phrased and on a flurry of Tweets by Orth and friends of his last night that seemed intended to quickly downplay the city stuff as needling between friends.

We have no indication that the company is not planning to make its console always-online. Even today, they're making no effort to deny it.

In fact, since yesterday, we heard from another source in the games industry who also said he believes the always-online plan is true. No hard confirmation yet, but quite a few non-Microsoft people who should be in the know seem to be convinced. We'll see soon. The code-named Durango console should be unveiled by E3 in June.

And bear in mind that Microsoft still doesn't even officially acknowledge that they have a next-gen console coming, even though people are currently making games for it.

Photo: Stefan Redel, Shutterstock.