The Xbox One requires you to check in online every 24 hours to simply play the console, including for singleplayer games. We raised the issue of military servicemen being unable to access the internet before, as well as Microsoft’s Don Mattrick’s reaction to the concerns – “get a 360” – but now a US Navy serviceman has spoken out.
Writing on Gamasutra, self proclaimed ‘dedicated Microsoft fan’ Jay Johnson explained that his 360 has accompanied him around the world, allowing him to game during downtime. He then talked about the 24hr-check in:
[It is] the single greatest sin Microsoft has committed against all service members. Their surprising decision to require the Xbox One to receive a message from the “mother ship” every 24 hours has already been lighting up the internet for a myriad of reasons. But, the reason that I am so infuriated about it is that I, and my brothers and sisters in arms, will not ever be able to play Xbox One when deployed or on detachment. No longer will the sounds of Master Chief saving the human race echo through the hallowed halls of the USS Abraham Lincoln, or any other USS Ship, when we have a few hours respite. No longer will you see Marcus and Dom sawing through the Locust Horde at the bases in Afghanistan after the Marines have returned from patrol and want to escape their reality for a bit. Those days are now firmly behind us. Microsoft has single handedly alienated the entire military, and not just the U.S. military, the militaries of the entire world.
He then admitted that as a Halo fan he was interested in getting the console to play that, but obviously not at launch (the game is out next year). But as for what he’ll take with him:
Everything else, from Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty, I can experience on the PS4, offline and tucked away in my little room on the ship, and without the concern of the programming complications that faced developers with the PS3 (which was my primary concern with PS3 multi-platform games).
I have searched the internet, hoping to find some data on the amount of video games sales that the U.S. military signifies. Although we represent less than one percent of the nation’s populace, I venture to say that we represent a drastically disproportionate amount of video game sales when compared to our numbers. Financially, I think the alienation of service members by Microsoft will have more of an impact than they realize.
And ended with saying that more and more games on all platforms are taking the online-only route:
Don’t alienate us with online requirements for games. It will cost you money and respect. This is a lesson that Microsoft is, tragically, about to learn.
It’s hard to gauge just how much the Xbox One will suffer purely from sales lost from servicemen, but there’s also the PR ramifications – everyone responding to the news is horrified that MS is so willingly ignoring and disadvantaging servicemen, which does not make them a company people will want to invest in. Not only that, but many of us have relatives and friends in the military, so hearing something like this just seems immoral.
What do you think this means for the PS4? Should we condemn Microsoft for their actions? Let us know in the comments below.