Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth and Bioware designer Manveer Heir have had a bit of a spat on Twitter (thanks Gematsu) about Ye Olde Always-Online Gaming, beginning with Orth's declaration that he doesn't "get the drama around having an 'always on' console".
"Every device now is 'always on'," the Microsoft man continued. "That's the world we live in. #dealwithit." OK then. According to his LinkedIn profile, Orth has been working on an unannounced project for Microsoft since February 2012, and is "passionate about crafting immersive, interactive digital entertainment experiences through original and world-class intellectual properties".
Heir hit back with: "Did you learn nothing from Diablo III or SimCity? You know some people's internet goes out right? Deal with it is a shitty reason." Orth's retort? "Electricity goes out, too." Don't forget, said Heir, "you lived in LA, SF, Seattle... very connected places. Try living in Janesville, WI or Blacksburg, VA... You should move to a NON-CITY for a period of time and tell me how your attitudes change. Gamers live in non urban areas too."
To which Orth jocularly responded: "Why on earth would I live there?" He later clarified that this was "Just the normal daily back and forth I have with Manveer. Apologies for offending non-cities. I was trolling him personally," a sentiment backed up by Heir himself. "Let me say he's one of the good guys and cut him some slack please" was his final statement.
Joke or not, the exchange comes in the wake of yet more allegations that the next generation Xbox will be an always-online machine. "Unless something has changed recently, Durango consumer units must have an active internet connection to be used," one source commented to Kotaku.
"If there isn't a connection, no games or apps can be started. If the connection is interrupted then after a period of time - currently three minutes, if I remember correctly - the game/app is suspended and the network troubleshooter started." Troublesome - but other sources have told the site they're unaware of these plans. Who to believe?
As you probably know, the originator of the first always-online Xbox 720 story is Edge, our darling sister magazine. Jonty entertains severe and compelling doubts about the truth of all this, but hey - stranger things have happened.
Update: Microsoft's Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) has commented on Orth's Tweets.
"We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday," he said. "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."