Microsoft: No Internet? We have a product called the Xbox 360

"We have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity," says Microsoft's Don Mattick, "it's called Xbox 360."

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Asked yesterday at game show E3 what gamers should do if they want an Xbox One but don't have reliable Internet access, Xbox frontman Don Mattrick said, "Fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity: it's called Xbox 360."

"So stick with 360, that's your message if you don't like it?" says Game Trailers interviewer Geoff Keighley incredulously, perhaps sniffing the massive story he's unwittingly landed himself in.

"Well if you have zero access to the Internet," Mattrick blunders on, "that is an offline device." Cringe mode engaged!

Here's a clip of the soundbite in question, uploaded to YouTube by Insomniac Gamers, who've helpfully added a sad trombone too. The full 8-minute interview is available here.

"Don't worry I'll keep my 360, but I'll buy a PS4," says the current top-rated comment under the video.

Everyone loves seeing someone arrogant take a tumble, but there comes a point when you just start to feel sorry for them. Microsoft has crashed through that point, covering itself in broken glass, watermelons and chicken feathers on the way.

It's not that an online requirement will necessarily be a problem to many people -- it's that the reasoning behind it is transparently false. It's not about improving your experience, it's about controlling and restricting it. And if you don't like it? Buy our 8-year-old console! Again!

Compare Mattrick's tin-eared gaffe with Sony's Adam Boyes, its head of publisher and developer relations, who took to Twitter after the PlayStation 4 launch yesterday morning to thank a fan who started the #PS4NoDRM campaign on the social network. Boyes implied that the campaign helped shape Sony's no-Internet-required approach.

"Thank you @ForYourPeteDodd for helping echo gamers' messages through all levels of PlayStation," Boyes tweeted, adding "it really moved the needle -- I know it's hard to believe, but it did".

Sony was widely praised yesterday for its gamers-before-publishers strategy, with the PS4 eschewing the Xbox One's restrictions on sharing and trading games. It didn't hurt that it's £80 cheaper than Microsoft's machine either.

The comments are down there, Facebook's over here -- you know what to do.