Microsoft’s much-anticipated new console has just been unveiled, but most in the military will not be able to use it away from home.
The new console must check in online with Microsoft once a day, and new product registration limitations mean that its games will not be playable in most locations outside of the U.S.
“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,” an Xbox spokesperson tells the Military Times.
And it gets worse for on-the-go troops. The Xbox One:
■ Can play only in Xbox One-friendly countries. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a regular, reliable Internet connection while overseas, you’ll have to be in one of 21 countries included in Microsoft’s server network. So, if you’re stationed in, say, Germany, Italy or Great Briatin, you’re good to go. But if you’re based in Japan, Kuwait or Afghanistan, you’re out of luck.
■ Will have region-locked games. Games bought in the U.S. can be activated only in the U.S. That means no more ripping open the latest title that just arrived in a care package from home while you’re deployed. And forget about buying games locally when overseas — if your Xbox Live account isn’t tied to the region when you activate a game, it won’t play.
■ Serious security concerns. Even when the Xbox One is in sleep mode, its built-in microphone can always listen in. It’s a feature developers say will provide quick voice-command access to games and apps — but that could spook commanders who might worry the always-connected device could also capture more than just idle chit-chat among troops.
“Microsoft has single handedly alienated the entire military. And not just the U.S. military — the militaries of the entire world,” says naval aviator Jay Johnson.
Microsoft has replied to repeated questions by saying that people who want to game offline should use the older Xbox 360 instead.
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