Thoughts on Xbox One

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I've never been a massive Microsoft fan but one thing I believe they got massively right was Xbox.  I didn't own the first Xbox but I did jump at the Xbox 360 and love it.  When I saw that Xbox One was coming out, I bought one right away.  Not with the giddy feeling I had when I was a kid, but with the attitude that this one would be superior in graphics, apps, and such.  Here are my thoughts so far.

Disclaimer:  I'm an ancient 30 years old.  In my life I've owned a Nintendo (awesome), Nintendo 64 (best gaming machine ever, bar none), Sega Genesis (OK), GameCube (meh), wii (novelty was cool for a while), and now the Xbox One.  I've never liked Playstation.  As an adult, I've owned every Call of Duty game and prefer "realistic" first person shooters, though I do love Portal.  I don't expect my gaming machines to "do everything", like browse internet, have apps, etc. -- those are nice "add ons."

  • My initial feeling was underwhelmed.  I guess I didn't expect much of an advancement, mostly because the Xbox 360 was maintained so well, but I guess I was just hoping for more.  Maybe it was the "metro" design that put me off?
  • I recently tried to play a game I bought (via disc) and the would attempt to boot up but then quit.  After research I found out that it was a memory issue and that I needed to (no joke) unplug the machine and plug it back in.  What the hell.  it's like the 2014 version of "blowing on the cartridge".
  • The performance and graphics of the games I have played are top notch -- I've never had an issue.  Bravo there.
  • I'm happy that the controller layout hasn't changed at all.  Too often vendors change things just to justify a higher price; Microsoft didn't do that and I'm glad, considering how much games have become muscle memory.
  • The ability to multitask is nice but if you're playing a game that lets you multitask...what are you doing?
  • The price point of $500 dollars is fair considering it will likely be around for five years, adding to that the system comes with Kinect.  You can't really complain about $100 per year....
  • though it is up for debate that you should need to pay for an online membership.  Of course you don't have to play online, and it is a nice service, but it's too bad that you have to offer up $60/year for it.
  • I was gutted when I found out that HBOgo wasn't available as a launch app -- it was super useful on my Xbox 360.  Still today the app hasn't launched and I'm borderline mad.  I have a Roku and AppleTv for HBO, as well as a Chromecast, but somehow I'm not cool with my Xbox missing that app.
  • The Netflix app is solid, and I much prefer it to the Xbox 360's.  The Roku's Netflix app is still ace though.
  • The Skype app is also very solid, yet sometimes hilarious.  Every once in a while it zooms in to your face or other parts of you and it's good for a laugh.
  • The ability to say "Xbox record that" is amazing -- I'm recording my world-beating shots all the time.  Unfortunately I don't have a damn clue how to upload them anywhere to share.  The app to do so is...not user-friendly, to say the least.
  • The Internet Explorer app defaults to "Do Not Track" -- awesome!

This wasn't meant to be an all-encompassing review, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the system after four months.  We'll see how things improve as time goes on, especially if Microsoft abandons the "metro" design, as has been bandied about!

If you have an Xbox One or even a PS4, let me know what you think.  I'm dying to hear your experience!

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  1. I got an Xbox One at launch in the UK and i’ve got to say that I am going to be selling it.

    First of all the install times on games are unbearable, being up to several hours sometimes!

    Every time I turn it on it seems to want an update which is usually around 400Mb which seems silly.

    There is no user feedback system at all (presently) which means that everyone acts like idiots with no recourse.

    Finally, I can see all of my friends online playing X360 games who I cannot play with.

    I know it’s early days but it’s made me realise that I am finally too old to be playing games every evening, so in that respect it’s probably been worth the money.

  2. I was an xbox super-fan but decided to switch camps to the PS4 this gen. Overall I’m happy with decision but there are still a few things that bug me about it. As a UI/UX designer I’m fairly critical of interfaces and the PS4 dashboard has some questionable elements and iconography. The controllers are a MASSIVE improvement over the PS3 but still not quite as comfy as the 360’s. The games however have been top notch. I’ve really enjoyed trying all the cool indie games and the AAA exclusives have been pretty good too. Re-reading my comment I sound kind of negative but I’m just nitpicking really. I think sony’s doing a great job and I really hope they keep working hard to improve it.

  3. Jeremy

    I still think the best gaming experience was on the original NES. Ever since then, it has been a race to improve graphics to make things look like “real life” at the cost of gameplay. Disclaimer: I am an ancient 33-year-old and never really got into the online multiplayer games. My opinion is probably skewed because of my age during the time when NES was in its prime.

    • I agree with your premise on quality v. graphics; same goes for movies. The N64 was the perfect marriage between fun/quality, graphics, and hardware. N64 Games like Mario, Mario Kart, Turok, Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong, Perfect Dark, and most importantly Goldeneye were groundbreaking, outstanding. Best system ever.

  4. Kevin

    I bought one, mostly because I was able to spin it via 50% fitness subsidy at my company. The thing I like best is the TV integration. Most people might not see this as a big deal, but we don’t have cable, so no fancy guides, etc. It blows the interface of the Homeworx box we have out of the water and allows us to use voice integration to change channels and browse the guide….awesome.

    Also, I have young kids in the house (4 and 8). Sure, they get how to use the remote, but it is far easier for my 4 year old to say (basically) “turn on diego” than it is for him to fiddle around trying to find an app manually with a remote. Double awesome.

    TBF, Kinect is new to our family. We had the Wii 1st gen and that was fun for the kids (also had a PS3 last gen). But my kids absolutely love the Kinect integration on games (Zoo Tycoon and Just Dance are their favorites). The kids had Just dance for the Wii and play this version with far more enthusiasm.

    Skype integration. I hear you about the zooming. I’m not sure if you’ve tried it in large groups (4 of us regularly Skype my mother), but it’ll jump all over the place at times. Most times it’s pretty good on focusing on the current speaking person though. Also, though I suppose this isn’t just an XBox One trait, having a big screen and nice wide camera in the living room, vs. the surface or PC, is pretty awesome for a family with small, energetic children.

    I won’t comment on why I like metro interface because, even as a windows power user by day, I seem to be a vocal minority in appreciating the interface. That said, the XBox One version does feel totally bolted on vs. Surface/PC windows 8 experience. I also dislike that XBox doesn’t operate with the other versions of the OS for things like parental controls and accounts details. It just looks the same…but its a totally different animal. This is unfortunate because one of the biggest features, imo, of Win8 was the ability to have your PC life move with you to every device. Sometimes its that way, most times it isn’t in the XBox One experience.

  5. Scott Rippey

    I’m an ancient 32 year old that grew up with Nintendo too. I can relate to every part of this article! My toddlers know they’re in trouble when they hear “xbox stop” :-) One of the things I like about the XO in particular … apps and games can be pure HTML5! I’m developing a media app for work, and I get to use flexbox and CSS3 and ES5. And soon, they’re opening it up for indie developers, so I’ve been playing around with my own canvas game. Pretty cool, for us front end guys!

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