Microsoft’s highly anticipated Xbox One has managed to irk America’s fighting force with system caveats that require a constant internet connection.
Revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo Convention in Los Angeles this week, Microsoft’s new gaming console will require online communication with the MS Network at least once a day. Indeed, for many in the military, the next-gen Xbox console may offer more endemic frustration than grand epic gaming, particularly for those deployed downrange, aboard ships and stationed overseas. According to an Xbox spokesperson:
2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo Convention in Los Angeles
“With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection.”
And this means many service-members who are stationed overseas with limited internet capabilities will be out of luck. But it gets worse for on-the-go troops, the Xbox One:
■ Can play only in Xbox One-friendly countries. So, if you’re stationed in Germany, Italy or Great Briatin, you’re good to go. But if you’re based in Japan, Kuwait or Afghanistan, you’re not.
■ Will have region-locked games. Games bought in the U.S. can be activated only in the U.S.
■ Serious security concerns. The Xbox One has built-in microphones that can always listen in due to a feature which is meant to provide quick voice-command access to games and apps.
Many in the military are already voicing displeasure. Naval aviator Jay Johnson asserted: “Microsoft has single handedly alienated the entire military. And not just the U.S. military — the militaries of the entire world.”
But Xbox exec Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment division has a solution for G.I. gamers – just use the old Xbox 360 instead. Not exactly what service-members want to hear. Even those outside the military have been surprised by the company’s shrug to the military community.
“This is shameful,” says Joel Hruska, a writer for Extreme Tech website. “Telling troops that you ‘empathize’ with them is both embarrassing and hands Sony perfect ammunition. Do I think Microsoft is going to change? Honestly, no.”