April 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM ET
Adam Orth, the Microsoft executive who became Internet-famous last week after tweeting a series of harsh rejoinders against critics of the next Xbox's controversial 'always online' functionality, has left his position at the company.
According to a report from Game Informer, the former Microsoft Studios creative director left his position this week — less than a week after he riled up many gamers across the Internet with comments that some perceived to be thoughtless and insensitive to people without regular Internet access who nonetheless want to play video games that they paid for.
Last week, Orth had told these digital rights management (DRM) skeptics to "deal with it" and "get with the times and get the Internet."
Kotaku later corroborated Game Informer's report, adding that Orth had resigned from his position at Microsoft rather than being terminated. A representative for Microsoft was not immediately available for comment on this story. Last week, the company deflected questions about Orth's relevance to the new Xbox's features by telling NBC News, "This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views are not reflective of those of the company." It also released a statement through Xbox Live community manager Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb apologizing for Orth's "inappropriate comments."
Orth, for his part, has all but vanished from his online presence after championing the always-connected age we now live in and ridiculing its detractors. His Twitter profile (the eye of the storm for the Xbox controversy) was made private last week shortly after he started to receive backlash for his comments, and has now removed all information about his position at Microsoft. According to Ars Technica, he also seems to have removed his LinkedIn profile.
According to several reports, Microsoft is planning to reveal the next Xbox at a special event on May 21. The Verge and Kotaku have both reported that the new console will include some sort of always-online DRM despite the apparent protests that comments like Orth's have sparked. This type of DRM has historically frustrated gamers who felt that, after paying a premium price for a game or console, shouldn't have their use of that very product controlled by the original seller. For disgruntled "Diablo III" or "SimCity" players, the frequent crashes and other disruptions they had to put up with just to play a game they already payed for only added insult to injury.
Update: When we contacted Microsoft for comment on this story, a spokesperson replied with the following statement: “We do not comment on private personnel matters.”