Microsoft found decent success with the launch of Xbox 360, and over time it released revised hardware and software updates to improve the experience. Then in May in 2013, it announced the Xbox One, thus effectively ending the console generation before it. However, the announcement of Xbox One was met with much criticism, due to the new policies it introduced on stage. Yet over time, like with the Xbox 360, Microsoft was able to turn it around for all Xbox users, changing its policies such as a ban on used games, or always online connection. It also introduced hardware revisions to better compete with Sony’s very successful PS4. These are my impressions of the original launch day edition of Xbox One.
The design of the Xbox One was one of the things that were met with heavy criticism from the moment it was revealed. Many people, rightfully so, said that the console looked like a big bulky VCR. It has a large square design to it with an open grill on the top for cooling. In 2018, this Xbox One pretty lacks regarding looks compared to its competitors. The launch edition of the PS4 is not only more powerful than the Xbox, but it also has a more compact design. The color of the system is great, with a glossy finish in some parts and a massive Xbox logo that lights up when you turn it on. There are additional USB ports on the back which can be used to connect extra hard-drives for more storage. The console also comes a big power-brick which is another hassle you have to deal with.
With the announcement of a new Xbox, Microsoft also showed off its revised version of the Kinect. Kinect is a small device that has cameras and sensors which can track your movements and implement them into a game. The idea was neat when it was first showed off in 2010. However, it slowly died out in 2014. No significant games were coming out utilizing the device, and ultimately it turned into a niche. Now there is no support for the device, as no games are being released. You can still buy it for the voice commands, but ultimately it is a waste of money, and Microsoft realized that too. It looks cool! Though the sensors worked well, people did not really feel the need to use the Kinect, and instead opted for using a traditional controller.
Speaking of the controller, the controller also saw some revisions, minor. They feature an almost similar chassis, but now the triggers have motors built in them. So whenever you press them, you receive haptic feedback. It is a nice touch that shows off its true potential playing shooting or driving games. Overall the design of the controller is excellent and fits about right in my hands. It feels comfortable to hold for the long duration of hours. It is not too heavy, not too light, just in that perfect corner. The design is appealing and looks much more stylish than any other controller released so far. The light up Xbox logo also looks cool.
With every console, comes games. There is no doubt in my mind that you can find a game which you would like no matter what genre you prefer. Majority of the games on this console are shooters, but doesn’t mean that there are good games in other categories. Most games that you find on the Xbox are available on the PlayStation. However, some really good exclusives can only be played on the Xbox One, such as Forza or Halo. All games look stunning and work well. On caveat is that this console version does not support 4K at all. Meaning that if you have a 4K TV and were looking for a decent 4K experience, you will have to go with a different Xbox. Not only that, due to some weak hardware, many games only run at 720p or 900p, compared to the PlayStation which runs at 1080p.
Another popular feature that is present on the Xbox One is backward compatibility. This means that if you own any Xbox or Xbox 360 games, you will be able to play it on here. You do not require to buy any other peripherals; all games will work with your existing Xbox One controller. This increases a huge selection of games that are available to the player. It can provide a fun throw-back and make sure your already existing library does not go to waste.
With all of your games, it is also possible to stream them to a laptop or desktop if your TV is not available. While I did not notice any lag, it always depends on the speed of your Wifi. The Xbox and your laptop must be connected to the same Wifi network for this to work, meaning that if you take your laptop to a Starbucks, you cannot simply stream your Xbox games from home. It is a nice feature and one that I use a lot.
An integral part of the Xbox experience is Xbox Live. Xbox Live is an online subscription based service that allows the user to play games online with other people. It also allows voice chat in supported games which you can use with your friends. The benefit of this service is that every month Microsoft also gives the player two Xbox One games and two Xbox 360 games to play. You can continue to keep these games as long as you have an active subscription. Overtime it does pay for itself. However, you may not always get the games you want.
The UI of this console has gotten a massive upgrade since launch. Though it is very confusing to a brand new user, you can adapt to it eventually and learn to like it. There are plentiful of games available for you to enjoy. The console is available in 500 GB option and a 1 TB option. You can probably find a used version for around $150, but I believe it is better to spend a little bit more to get the Xbox One S, which is 40 percent smaller and even has 4K capabilities. The console was great when it launched; however, it does not stack up to current competition from PS4, Xbox One S, Xbox One X.