The Next Generation of Military Video Games

A look at the upcoming Xbox® One, PlayStation® 4 and the landscape of military gaming


Whether you're at home or out on deployment, by now you've probably heard about the controversy surrounding the Xbox One. After months of anticipation, Microsoft finally broke its silence at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June and revealed details about its upcoming console. The result was general outrage, which led to a change of heart in the favor of gamers everywhere, including service members.

One of the biggest issues was internet connectivity. Microsoft announced the console would require a steady internet connection to play games. The system would automatically check every 24 hours and if it couldn't connect to the web, it would lock up and users would not be able to play games until a connection was reestablished. That requirement was a major concern for many service members who are often stationed somewhere with limited access to the internet, especially on ships, subs or out in the field.

Several other issues sparked complaints, including digital rights management (DRM) restrictions that would have made sharing and trading used games complicated and frustrating for consumers everywhere. Renting and sharing used games would not even be an option at launch, pending software development.

A video from E3 surfaced of a reporter speaking with Microsoft executive Don Mattrick about military members on deployment.

"I've got to imagine that it's not easy to get an internet connection," Mattrick said. "Hey, I can empathize. If I was on a sub, I'd be disappointed."

He then suggested that people who don't have internet access should just buy an older console.

"Fortunately, we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity," he said. "It's called the Xbox 360. If you have zero access to the internet, that's an offline device."

Microsoft's About-Face

Many people took Mattrick's comments and Microsoft's entire presentation as a slap in the face to anyone without a regular internet connection, which created quite a backlash. Both service members and civilians alike shared their concerns on social media and gamer websites and, fortunately, the Microsoft executives listened.

One June 19th, Microsoft renounced its plans for the 24-hour internet check. Instead, there will be a one-time system set-up that requires an internet connection, after which you can play games offline without ever having to connect again.

The announcement also made it clear they were reining back the DRM restrictions. There will be no limitations to using and sharing games – consumers will be able to lend and rent games the same way they can on any other console.

Comparing the Next Gen

Mistakes aside, it looks like Microsoft is doing the right thing by listening to customer feedback and changing its course to keep fans happy. So if you're trying to decide between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, how do the two systems stack up?


Price and Release Date

  • Xbox One: $499 – November, 2013
  • PlayStation 4: $399 – TBD, late 2013

Notes: Exact release dates are still uncertain, but both will be available for the holiday season at the end of this year. The extra $100 for the Xbox is most likely attributed to the Kinect. The motion-sensor extension is no longer optional, but instead required for the machine to operate. It also doubles as a high-definition webcam and the control center of the console, which includes voice activation technology.


  • Xbox One: AMD 8-core APU
  • PlayStation 4: Semi-custom 8-core AMD x86-64
Notes: Both units will run off similar 8-core AMD CPUs.


  • Xbox One: AMD Radeon variant
  • PlayStation 4: Semi-custom AMD Radeon GPU
Notes: The two units are pretty much even when it comes to graphics.

Video Output

  • Xbox One: HDMI (1080p and 2160p)
  • PlayStation 4: optical S/PDIF and HDMI (1080p and 4K)

Notes: The Xbox One has 2160p output support, which prepares it for the future of Ultra HD televisions. The PlayStation 4 supports 4K, a different variation of UHD.

Military Video Games Available at Launch

  • Xbox One: Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • PlayStation 4: Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Killzone: Shadow Fall

Notes: Of the three militaristic games available at launch, the new Killzone is the only one exclusive to either next-gen console. Battlefield and Call of Duty will be available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

The most well-known franchise of the three, Call of Duty: Ghosts, is made by the same team that brought you the Modern Warfare series and it features some new elements that may surprise you. So whether you get it for your current console when it comes out in November or hold off for the next generation, the choice is yours. Check out the trailer below for a preview.  

Jake Butler

About the author: Jake Butler

Jake Butler is a staff writer at Pioneer Services who understands the challenges facing modern military families. He writes informative and entertaining pieces about military life, financial education and everything in between. Follow Jake on Google+.

Contact: Jake Butler


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