The Xbox One may have gotten off to a bumpy start after its widely poorly-received reveal and subsequent DRM scandal, but since then, the console has been tweaked to be a better, more accessible platform for its finalized retail build. The used game blocks and mandatory online check-ins were tossed out, the advertising focus was shifted back to games and away from television, and the console made sure to secure plenty of exclusive high-profile games to bolster its first-party lineup, addressing a major widespread criticism of the otherwise well-received Xbox 360 from day one.
Because of these drastic shifts however, the Xbox One has seen even more shuffles, upgrades, alterations and potential confusion than the PlayStation 4 or Wii U ever did before their own launches! There’s a huge difference between what the console was originally announced as, and what it’s actually being released as on the 22nd.
Thus, just like the PlayStation 4, we have once again put together a handy, accessible guide of every question and answer one may require when debating a purchase of Xbox One. We go over launch games, hardware capabilities, unique features, and everything else that will be present in the final retail release of the console. Once again, we’ll make sure that you non-geeks amongst our readers will find the breakdown easy to read and understand as well! Sony and Microsoft in particular both like to throw around a lot of buzzwords for gamers, but it’s difficult to deny that it’s probably all Greek to someone who hasn’t played heaps of video games across their platforms for many years.
So, let’s get started, as there is yet again much to cover before the Xbox One makes its debut in North America on November 22nd!
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF XBOX ONE?:
Xbox One will be launching at $499.99. This is $100 more expensive than Sony’s competing PlayStation 4, though Microsoft compensates in value by offering exclusive DLC within some launch games for preorders of the Xbox One’s Day One bundle (the only one made available to preorder at this point), as well as the inclusion of its upgraded Kinect motion camera right in the box.
As with PlayStation 4, Xbox One retail games will still mostly sell for $59.99, the same price as Microsoft’s current Xbox 360 games. Dedicated digital download games on the Xbox One’s Xbox Live Marketplace will once again range from $4.99-$19.99, as with Xbox 360’s current Xbox Live Arcade catalogue, depending on scope and content.
WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?:
Predictably, the Xbox One console itself will comprise most of its retail box, measuring a considerable 33.3 cm in length, 27.4 cm in width, and 7.9 cm in height. This makes the Xbox One noticeably larger than both the current Xbox 360 Slim model, and the competing PlayStation 4 and Slim/Super Slim PlayStation 3 models, not to mention much larger than Nintendo’s rather compact Wii U console! As with the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One will only be available in black (“Liquid black”, according to Microsoft) for the public consumer at launch, though specialized white Xbox One’s have been given to certain staff at Microsoft, one of which has been sold on eBay for charity.
BE WARNED! Unlike the competing PlayStation 4, and unlike Microsoft’s current Xbox 360 console, the Xbox One is NOT able to be positioned vertically! Microsoft has warned that trying to orient an Xbox One console vertically will cause internal stress to the hardware, and will likely ruin the disc drive! Don’t do it!
Naturally, the upgraded Xbox One Kinect motion camera will also be included in the box, measuring a somewhat imposing 24.9 cm in length, 6.6 cm in width, and 6.7 cm in height. Again, this is larger than the current optional Kinect camera accessory that is made for Xbox 360. The new Kinect will include a 2.9 m cable to plug it into the Xbox One as well.
Originally, Microsoft refused to package Xbox One with a headset, but was forced to reverse this decision when Sony included a mono headset in the PlayStation 4 box, and when gamers rightfully pointed out that the Xbox 360 includes a wired headset right in the box. For its finalized retail package, Xbox One will now include a wired chat headset right in the box, which plugs directly into the wireless controller, just like Xbox 360.
Naturally, the Xbox One’s new wireless controller will also be included in the box, again powered by either a pair of AA batteries, or by plugging it into one of the console’s USB ports with a play-and-charge kit, sold separately. The controller lacks the touch pad and light bar of the competing PlayStation 4 controller, but features the ability to re-orient the screen during split-screen sessions when a player simply moves around, using the power of Kinect. Note however that, unlike the PlayStation 4 controller, the Xbox One controller will not be supported on PC’s at launch. This functionality will be added sometime in 2014.
From there, a 2 m, 4K resolution-certified HDMI cable is included in the box, along with a power cord, complete with the return of the ‘power brick’, as the Xbox One is not built with an internal power supply, unlike the competing PlayStation 4. Exact length of the power cable is unclear at this time.
Be advised that, like PlayStation 4, you must use HDMI on Xbox One. For games, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolution will be supported (even if resolution integrity is said to be better on PlayStation 4 for now), with Microsoft being vague about 4K support in Xbox One games.
Like PlayStation 4, 4K resolution is eventually planned for at least photos and video, but it’s unclear if Xbox One games will ever be rendered in 4K. Like PlayStation 4 however, Xbox One does support 3D television compatibility in theory, even if no 3D-capable game software will be available at launch, and 3D Blu-Ray movie playback will not be supported at launch either. The Xbox One apparently outputs audio in 7.1, which is one advantage that the console seems to have over the PlayStation 4, which apparently outputs audio in 5.1.
Beyond that, you’ll get the usual user manuals, an Xbox One sticker, the DLC bonuses included for the Day One Xbox One package (if you preordered the console), and a thirty-day free trial for an Xbox Live Gold membership, if you don’t already have one from a previously-owned Xbox 360.
THE DISCS THAT XBOX ONE DOES AND DOES NOT PLAY?:
Unlike the current Xbox 360, which could only read DVD movies and support retail games on DVD’s, Xbox One finally has a built-in Blu-Ray drive! This means that Xbox One retail games will now come on high-capacity Blu-Ray discs, just like PlayStation 4 games, and the console will now be able to play both Blu-Ray movies and DVD movies alike!
Like PlayStation 4 however, Xbox One is NOT backwards-compatible in any way out of the box! This means that both Xbox and Xbox 360 game discs, as well as digital copies of Xbox games, Xbox 360 games and Xbox Live Arcade games downloaded on Xbox 360, will NOT be playable on an Xbox One console, nor transferable! Microsoft is exploring cloud-streaming backwards-compatibility for legacy Xbox games on Xbox One, much like what Sony is doing with legacy PlayStation games on PlayStation 4, but Microsoft has admitted that this process has proven, “Problematic” for them. Don’t expect backwards-compatibility on Xbox One any time soon, folks.
Unlike PlayStation 4, Xbox One WILL play audio CD’s out of the box though, with no timetable on when or if this functionality will eventually be added to PlayStation 4. This is another advantage it has over its competitor’s hardware.
Be advised however that Xbox One MUST be connected to the internet INITIALLY to do any of this! Due to the console’s heavy interface re-tooling at Microsoft to remove the online check-ins and used game blocks, all Xbox One owners must download a day-one update from the internet to enable almost all of the Xbox One’s functionality, including its ability to read game discs, audio CD’s and movie discs. Without this update, the console does almost nothing, according to Microsoft. There doesn’t seem to be a workaround either, unlike the PlayStation 4’s day-one Blu-Ray drive authentication update. Thankfully, the Xbox One does support both local ethernet connection and wireless network connection out of the box however.
Again, allow us to stress that this day-one update is MANDATORY! for all Xbox One owners!
On one last note, the ability to automatically play digital installations of retail game purchases has been removed in the final retail build of Xbox One. You will now need to have retail game discs inserted into the console whenever you want to play a game purchased at retail, and not from Xbox Live Marketplace.
I USE MY XBOX 360 FOR A VARIETY OF MUSIC, MOVIES AND GAMES. CAN ALL OF THIS BE STORED ON XBOX ONE?:
Yes, it can! Like PlayStation 4, Xbox One comes with a 500GB hard drive built into the console. Unlike PlayStation 4 however, Xbox One’s 500GB hard drive is NOT removable! Fortunately, Xbox One will support external storage options if you run short of space for your digital media, unlike PlayStation 4, but this functionality will not be available at launch.
The console’s internal hard drive will support digital games downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace, as well as movies and music you’ve downloaded from the Xbox Video and Xbox Music apps respectively. Be advised as well that, even though games will not be transferable from Xbox 360, both movies and music downloaded with your Xbox 360 Gamertag can be retained and transferred onto Xbox One, at no extra cost! This will allow you to carry over your entire digital movie and music collection you have on Xbox 360 right onto Xbox One from launch, so long as you carry over your Xbox Gamertag!
Note that Xbox One will also carry over achievements that you have earned in Xbox 360 games as well, if you transfer over your Xbox 360 Gamertag to your new console!
DOES XBOX ONE SUPPORT APPS LIKE NETFLIX?:
Yes, it does! In fact, Xbox One supports even more apps at launch than both the competing PlayStation 4 and Wii U support at this time! This includes Netflix, Xbox Video and Xbox Music, of course!
Other apps supported by Xbox One at launch include: Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, CW, ESPN, FOX NOW, FXNOW, Hulu Plus, Internet Explorer, Machinima, MUZU.TV, Redbox Instant by Verizon, Skype, Target Ticket, TED, Twitch, Univision Deportes, Verizon FiOS TV, and VUDU.
Naturally, pre-existing memberships on any of these apps can be carried over to Xbox One at no extra cost!
Unfortunately, like Xbox 360, Netflix, Internet Explorer and Hulu Plus will require an Xbox Live Gold membership to use on Xbox One.
DOES XBOX ONE SUPPORT PARENTAL CONTROLS?:
Yes, it does!… But Microsoft has been a tad vague about how they will work. It’s believed that the parental controls on Xbox One will present similar options to the parental controls that already exist on Xbox 360, plus more to accommodate the console’s increased suite of Kinect functionality and social features. Details are a bit murky for the moment however.
Still, the parental controls are at least confirmed to not only restrict games and movies meant for adults from younger Xbox One users, but they’ll also extend to any Windows devices with that same child’s account apparently.
For reference, the current Xbox 360’s parental controls allow restriction of adult-oriented games, movies and television, how long the console can be used on a daily or weekly basis (PlayStation 4 does not support this play timer capability, FYI), whether or not a child can access Xbox Live, whether or not a child can use Internet Explorer, whether a child’s profile can be seen by fellow Xbox Live users or not, and if parental approval must be sought for sending and receiving a friend request over Xbox Live. Unlike PlayStation sub accounts, Xbox Live accounts will automatically remove parental restrictions when a child reaches the age of adulthood for their country.
Microsoft has noted that Xbox One’s parental controls will take a different form than what exists on Xbox 360, potentially adding new restrictions and customization unforeseen at this point, but the revised parental controls will likely keep the same foundation as Xbox 360. Stay tuned for more information, and be sure to thumb through the Xbox One’s user manual if you want more information on parental controls.
XBOX 360 REQUIRES AN XBOX LIVE GOLD MEMBERSHIP TO USE CERTAIN APPS AND PLAY ONLINE. WILL I STILL NEED TO PAY FOR THIS MEMBERSHIP TO DO THESE THINGS ON XBOX ONE?:
Unfortunately, yes. Like Xbox 360, you will require an Xbox Live Gold membership to play online, use Netflix, browse the internet, and a few other things on Xbox One. A year’s worth of Xbox Live Gold still costs $59.99 up front (averaging out to $5 a month, $1 more than Sony’s competing PlayStation Plus membership), and three months’ worth is still less of a value at $24.99, averaging out to $8.33 per month.
Be advised as well that you will need an Xbox Live Gold membership to make use of Skype services on Xbox One, including the six free months of group calling that is initially offered on the console, free long-distance calling, and 1080p display that the new Kinect model supports during video calls.
Xbox Live Gold will also be required to use the Game PVR, allowing players to record and share video during their Xbox One games, similar to the Share Button functionality on the competing PlayStation 4. PlayStation 4 does not demand PlayStation Plus to use its sharing functionality, but unfortunately, Xbox Live Gold is required to record and share any gameplay videos on Xbox One, even if it’s offline single-player gameplay.
For longstanding Xbox Live Gold members, this may not be a big deal, but if you don’t like paying added fees, this will probably make Xbox One less attractive than PlayStation 4 or Wii U, especially considering the greater suite of free rewards offered by PlayStation Plus versus Xbox Live Gold.
Note however that Games with Gold, a recent promotion that offers two free games per month on Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Gold members to keep, even if they don’t renew their membership (one element not offered by PlayStation Plus), will be extended to Xbox One at some point. No details on how this will be done, or if it will be offered soon, have yet surfaced however.
I ALREADY HAVE AN XBOX LIVE GOLD MEMBERSHIP ON MY XBOX 360. DO I NEED TO BUY A SEPARATE XBOX LIVE GOLD SUBSCRIPTION FOR XBOX ONE?:
No, not at all. Your Xbox Gamertag will freely share one Xbox Live Gold subscription between both your Xbox 360 and your Xbox One at all times. You only need to buy and maintain just one Xbox Live Gold membership, and import your existing Xbox 360 Gamertag to Xbox One, to be able to enjoy the benefits of Xbox Live Gold across both consoles, as well as share your Xbox Live friends list, achievements and movie/music purchase history between them.
If you already have an Xbox Live Gold membership on your Xbox 360 when you buy and set up Xbox One, then you’re all set to play online, use Skype and Netflix, and record on the Game PVR as soon as you carry over your Gamertag to Xbox One, at no extra cost!
SO, JUST TO CLARIFY ONE LAST TIME, I DO *NOT* NEED TO MAINTAIN AN INTERNET CONNECTION TO USE MY XBOX ONE, RIGHT?:
That’s correct. Unlike the console’s initial design direction, Xbox One DOES NOT require any of its users to maintain an internet connection anymore, nor does it require an online ‘check-in’ for continued gameplay. You will still be able to play offline games, watch movies, play music and use basic console functionality on Xbox One, even without an internet connection. Like PlayStation 4, it is entirely possible to enjoy physical games, and both physical and previously downloaded movies (and in this case, music) on the Xbox One for the entirety of the console’s life cycle without ever connecting it to the internet… Beyond that one time.
Again, we must remind you that Xbox One requires a mandatory day-one online update to enable pretty much any and all of its functionality, including the ability to play game discs, CD’s and movie discs. You won’t be able to get around connecting online for this update unfortunately. After the update is applied however, Xbox One’s disc playback and offline functionality is freely usable indefinitely, even when not connected to the internet.
Also, Xbox One no longer restricts used or borrowed games in its final retail build. You are free to re-sell, buy used, lend out and play any game disc in your Xbox One to your heart’s content, regardless of where it came from. Like PlayStation 4, Xbox One is also NOT region-locked, so you can import games from Europe, Japan and other such territories, and freely play them in even a North American Xbox One!
WILL XBOX ONE FORCE ME TO BUY AN ONLINE PASS IF I PURCHASE A USED GAME THAT I WISH TO PLAY ONLINE?:
While Microsoft hasn’t denounced online passes to the degree that Sony has, confirming that none of the Sony-made first-party games on PlayStation 4 will ever enforce having to buy online passes for people playing used or borrowed games online, big Microsoft partners like EA and Ubisoft have still abolished online passes, making their use in most Xbox One games unlikely at best.
As with Sony, Microsoft appears to be leaving publishers to their own devices regarding online passes, but, at least for launch, it doesn’t seem like any Xbox One games will be striving to force second-hand players to spend extra money on an online pass, should they wish to play on Xbox Live with a game that wasn’t bought sealed and brand new.
CAN I MAINTAIN A HIGHER CAP OF XBOX LIVE FRIENDS ON XBOX ONE COMPARED TO XBOX 360?:
Yes, you can! In fact, Microsoft has confirmed that there is NO limit to the amount of Xbox Live friends you can have on Xbox One! Like Sony’s competing PlayStation 3, the current Xbox 360 only allows up to one-hundred Xbox Live friends to be registered on one’s Gamertag. Xbox One however will never restrict your Xbox Live friends list in any way, allowing you to make as many Xbox Live friends as you please, which is even better than the new two-thousand friend cap on PlayStation 4! Surely, this is fantastic news to Xbox Live’s social butterflies!
DO I GET THE CHANCE TO CHANGE MY GAMERTAG IF I’M IMPORTING IT FROM MY XBOX 360?:
Unlike competing PlayStation platforms, Microsoft allows players to change their Xbox Gamertag… If they pay a $10 fee anyway. This will still be in effect on Xbox One, with one free Gamertag change if you still have the random Gamertag assigned to you when first creating an Xbox Live account.
While PlayStation 4 still gives players no way of changing their PlayStation Network ID, you can still pay the $10 fee to change an existing and custom Gamertag name on Xbox One, so long as it still subscribes to the sixteen-character limit, and avoids offensive content.
DOES KINECT MONITOR CONVERSATIONS AND PERSONAL DATA, AND WILL IT STOP DOWNLOADED MOVIE PLAYBACK IF I HAVE NOT PAID FOR ‘VIEWING LICENSES’ FOR EVERY PERSON WATCHING?:
We’ll be honest; We don’t think there was ever any truth to this internet claim, especially in regards to the movie licenses. At no point did Microsoft claim that Kinect would monitor and transmit personal data or conversations, and certainly at no point did they claim that Kinect would stop digital movie playback if people didn’t pay for a viewing license for every person in the room! This was likely just rumourmongers and conspiracy theorists connecting separate dots with invisible lines, and regardless, none of this will be present in the Xbox One’s final retail build.
So, to clarify, you DO NOT need to purchase ‘viewing licenses’ when watching movies on Netflix, Xbox Video, etc.. You pay for a movie rental/purchase, and you watch it, regardless of how many people are in the room. That’s it.
Kinect will retain your biometric data to allow it to sign you into your Xbox profile simply by looking at you, but THAT’S IT!! That information is way too long to decode in binary form anyway, and even so, it will not leave one’s personal Kinect sensor, nor be transmitted back to Microsoft or anyone else. Temporary personal data will sometimes be made to differentiate players during Kinect games that incorporate more than one person’s input, but this data is destroyed after every play session.
As one final point, Microsoft has also removed the demand for Kinect to be plugged into Xbox One in order for it to function. If you so choose, you can unplug Kinect and navigate the console’s dashboard entirely with the Xbox One wireless game controller if you want. The only time that Kinect MUST be plugged in is when transmitting Skype calls, utilizing television voice commands, and when playing games that require you to control them with Kinect (i.e. Just Dance 2014), and that’s it.
So, relax, and don’t believe everything you hear on the internet!
CAN I SHARE MY XBOX LIVE GOLD BENEFITS WITH FAMILY/ROOMMATES THAT WILL ALSO BE USING MY XBOX ONE?:
Yes, you can! Like the competing PlayStation 4, only one Xbox Live Gold subscription is necessary for one’s entire home unit to enjoy the benefits. When a primary Xbox One is designated, any resident of the house can play online and utilize other Xbox Live Gold benefits on their own Gamertags, so long as just one person maintains an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Also like PlayStation 4, any family member, roommate, spouse, etc.. can play digital download games downloaded from the profiles of their sibling/parent/roommate/spouse, etc.. freely, so long as they share the same communal console in one’s home, and at no extra cost!
Yet again like PlayStation 4, this benefit also extends to importing your Gamertag onto a friend’s Xbox One console. If you import your Gamertag onto a ‘secondary’ Xbox One that belongs to someone else while visiting a friend or long-distance family member, you can seamlessly access your entire digital game library for play on their console, so long as you download your Gamertag onto it. If you make a purchase from Xbox Live Marketplace, even from another console, your purchase will appear back on your primary Xbox One to be freely played by yourself, your family and/or your roommates as well!
This initiative replaces the ‘Family Pack’ of Xbox Live Gold memberships that is available on Xbox 360. We have to say, it’s a pretty generous upgrade, even if the functionality is shared on the competing PlayStation 4!
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH XBOX SMARTGLASS?:
While this feature is minimally supported on Xbox 360, it’s going to be much more of a focus on Xbox One. Essentially, Xbox SmartGlass allows you to further multi-task what your Xbox One can do between its three OS’s, by using your smartphone or tablet as a second screen. The mobile device can interact with your Xbox One to enhance one’s gaming experience (i.e. commanding other players in Battlefield 4’s Commander Mode, or allowing one to toggle dance tracks on the fly in Just Dance 2014), as well as provide another way to interact with movies and television. All you need to do is download the free Xbox SmartGlass app for your mobile device, and you’re all ready to use this feature!
In simplest terms, Xbox SmartGlass allows any variety of communication between your Xbox One console and a smartphone or tablet, be it powered by iOS, Android, Windows 8, or whatever else. The rest of its functionality is up to various developers, as it varies from game to game, and its exact repertoire of features will likely be gradually decided by Microsoft themselves over the next few years. So far, Microsoft has confirmed the ability to display game hints, watch Game PVR clips, message friends, and check game progress using Xbox SmartGlass on a mobile device.
Sony has similar technology built into the PlayStation 4, thanks to the PlayStation App for smartphones and tablets, as well as the PlayStation 4’s ability to stream almost any gameplay and media content to the PlayStation Vita. Nintendo has also tapped into this kind of technology with the ability to stream almost any gameplay and media content on the Wii U directly onto the Wii U Gamepad’s screen, should someone else need to use the television.
While Xbox One currently lacks the ability to stream gameplay to other Microsoft-powered devices, Microsoft is said to be looking into this kind of technology for the future using Xbox SmartGlass.
WHAT DOES MICROSOFT MEAN WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THE XBOX ONE BEING BUILT WITH ‘THREE OS’S’?
What this means in layman’s terms is that the Xbox One is very good at multi-tasking. Since game content, Skype and television functionality all use the system’s RAM independently, players can play a video game, take a Skype call and keep tabs on a television broadcast all at the same time! This means that you can chat with a friend without interrupting a game you’re playing, while also watching the night’s highly anticipated sports game out of the corner of your eye, so you can keep up with the score.
This is going to be a huge area of appeal for people who like a device that can accomplish many things at once, especially since the competing PlayStation 4 and Wii U can’t multi-task to this extent! Mind you, you need an Xbox Live Gold membership to use Skype, as mentioned, but, as referenced by its name, the Xbox One allows you to bring all of your separate devices and interests together into ‘one’ whole.
This will also play into another big Xbox One hook that Microsoft exclusively offers, that being Smart Match. Using Smart Match, you can set up an online game session while playing around in a game’s single-player mode, watching television, or interacting with another person on Skype. From there, the Xbox One will find you a suitable online match based on connection quality, skillset and various other parameters, providing you the chance to jump into an online game without you having to sit and wait in a server lobby, which is unprecedented!
With Xbox One, you never have to settle for one thing at a time, making the console a great choice for anyone who would rather accomplish many things at once, rather than having to pick and choose at any given moment!
IS IT TRUE THAT I CAN OPERATE MY TELEVISION AND MEDIA CENTER WITH JUST MY OWN VOICE USING THE NEW KINECT?:
That is true, yes! You can say, “Xbox On” to turn on the console, “Xbox go to Video” to open up the Xbox Video app, “Xbox go to The CW” to change the channel to The CW for example, “Volume Up/Down” to adjust the volume, “Xbox Mute” to mute the television, “Xbox go to Netflix” to start up Netflix, “Xbox, what’s on FX?” to pull up TV listings on FX for the day for example, and more! Navigating your television, media reserves and game console has never, ever been simpler!
Obviously, you do need Kinect plugged in to do any of this, but for the uninitiated, and those who would rather make things extra quick and simple, you don’t even have to touch the Xbox One’s controller outside of games if you don’t want to! We have to admit, even Grandma would probably be impressed by the ability to summon The Price is Right without even reaching for the clicker!
So long as you plug your satellite or cable box into your Xbox One (there’s a port for it in the rear of the console), Kinect can ‘talk’ to your TV and essentially render even universal remotes obsolete. Like the three OS’s, this will likely be a big selling point for the Xbox One, as the competing PlayStation 4 and Wii U are not capable of this level of media interaction, especially so quickly and seamlessly!
THE PLAYSTATION 4 ALLOWS CAPTURING AND STREAMING OF GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE. DOES XBOX ONE’S PVR PERFORM THE SAME FUNCTION?:
Yes, it does, but with a trade-off in functionality. The automatic recording only lasts for five minutes on Xbox One instead of the PlayStation 4’s fifteen minutes, though if Kinect is plugged in, you can simply say, “Xbox, record that!” to make a recording. From there, you can send your recorded gameplay video to the Xbox One’s Upload Studio, where every Xbox One game will have its own channel, and every player will have their own Upload Studio network. Games and content by Xbox Live friends will be cleanly categorized as well.
From there, players can easily edit and record voiceovers (PlayStation 4 does not allow you to record a voiceover when sharing video clips, FYI), add picture-in-picture, dress up their videos with visual themes, and more!
What Upload Studio essentially does is give gamers a very quick and accessible way to have their own private YouTube-esque streaming network on the Xbox One servers, specifically dedicated to creating and sharing highlight moments across any and all Xbox One games. It’s like if YouTube and Nintendo’s Miiverse application merged together, essentially. It also gives players much more of a means to doctor and personalize their game clips compared to sharing on PlayStation 4, even if PlayStation 4 supports lengthier recordings.
Xbox One will be unable to share these videos with sites like YouTube and Facebook at launch (PlayStation 4 can share clips and screenshots with Facebook, Twitter, UStream, and Twitch right from launch), though Microsoft has plans to patch in this functionality sometime in the future.
Also, remember that you can’t use the Game PVR or Upload Studio without an Xbox Live Gold membership, contrary to PlayStation 4, which doesn’t demand a PlayStation Plus membership to record and share videos both on the PlayStation 4’s dedicated sharing servers and other social media sites.
THE PLAYSTATION 4 CONTROLLER HAS A TOUCH PAD, BUILT-IN MIC AND LIGHT BAR. DOES THE XBOX ONE CONTROLLER BOAST ANY UNIQUE FUNCTIONALITY LIKE THIS?:
No, it doesn’t. The Xbox One is simply comprised of buttons, triggers and thumbsticks as a means of input, just like the current Xbox 360 controller. No motion detection or touch functionality or anything.
Microsoft experimented with touch screens, built-in mics and more during the prototype stage, but ultimately, the Xbox One wireless controller is just a standard game controller with the mostly familiar Xbox controller design, beyond changing the disc-like D-Pad on the Xbox and Xbox 360 controllers into a plus-shape design akin to Nintendo’s Control Pad designs. The most that the Xbox One controller has in terms of unique functionality is the ability to automatically re-orient split screens during local multiplayer if players switch positions, using the tracking abilities of Kinect.
Fortunately, this isn’t to say that the Xbox One controller boasts no improvements over the Xbox 360 controller. Latency between inputs and actions is further minimized, separate vibration nodes create a greater sense of immersion and detail during gameplay, and the bulky battery pack on the rear of the Xbox 360 controller has been removed on the Xbox One controller, making it smoother and more comfortable in design on the rear.
It may be a more conservative controller without the advanced functionality of competing controllers on the PlayStation 4 and Wii U, but it’s still likely to be a controller that Microsoft has refined with care and precision to make the best Xbox controller to date in most respects!
SO, WHICH GAMES ARE GOING TO BE AVAILABLE WITH XBOX ONE AT LAUNCH?:
The finalized Xbox One launch lineup is as follows:
– Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Action-Adventure, Ubisoft)
– Battlefield 4 (First-Person Tactical Shooter, EA) *Exclusive Content, Priority DLC on Xbox One*
– Call of Duty: Ghosts (First-Person Shooter, Activision) *Priority DLC on Xbox One*
– Dead Rising 3 (Survival-Action, Microsoft)
– FIFA 14 (Sports Simulation, EA) *Exclusive Content on Xbox One*
– Fighter Within (Fighting, Ubisoft) *REQUIRES KINECT!*
– Forza Motorsport 5 (Racing Simulation, Microsoft)
– Just Dance 2014 (Dance/Party, Ubisoft) *REQUIRES KINECT!*
– LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (3D Platformer, Warner Bros.)
– Madden NFL 25 (Sports Simulation, EA) *Exclusive Content on Xbox One*
– NBA 2K14 (Sports Simulation, 2K)
– NBA Live 14 (Sports Simulation, EA)
– Need For Speed Rivals (Racing Simulation, EA)
– Ryse: Son of Rome (Action-Adventure, Microsoft)
– Skylanders SWAP Force (Collector Action, Activision)
– Zoo Tycoon  (Simulation, Microsoft)
– Zumba Fitness: World Party (Fitness Simulation, Majesco) *REQUIRES KINECT!*
XBOX LIVE MARKETPLACE:
– Crimson Dragon (Flight-Action, Microsoft)
– Killer Instinct  (Free-To-Play Fighting, Microsoft)
– LocoCycle (Racing-Action, Microsoft)
– Powerstar Golf (Arcade Sports, Microsoft)
– Xbox Fitness (Fitness Simulation, Microsoft) *REQUIRES KINECT!*
Be advised that Ubisoft’s ambitious open-world cyberpunk game, Watch Dogs, originally promised to be a launch title for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, has been delayed to Spring 2014. Popcap’s anticipated Peggle 2 has also been delayed out of Xbox One’s launch lineup, though is still planned to release before the end of this year, and will still be a timed Xbox exclusive. Kinect Sports Rivals has also been delayed out of the Xbox One launch lineup for a release in early 2014.
As with PlayStation 4 and unlike the current Xbox 360, most any Xbox One game should be available to digitally download from Xbox Live Marketplace day-and-date with its retail counterpart, if applicable.
IF I’VE PURCHASED A RETAIL OR DIGITAL GAME ON XBOX 360, IS THERE AN EASY WAY TO ‘UPGRADE’ IT TO ITS XBOX ONE EDITION?:
Unfortunately, unlike Sony’s more clear-cut plan to give $10 digital copies to new PlayStation 4 owners who bought Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and/or Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for PlayStation 3 beforehand, Microsoft doesn’t seem to have the same plan in place for Xbox One. Some retail outlets like Gamestop will allow you to trade current-gen games for $50 of store credit to put towards their next-gen counterparts, which is a bit of a loophole for the same transaction, but not ‘official’ by Microsoft’s standards.
The only ‘official’ upgrade that is said to be available will be for Call of Duty: Ghosts. If you purchased Call of Duty: Ghosts for Xbox 360 before the Xbox One launch, you can pay a $10 fee to download a digital copy of the game for Xbox One.
Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag don’t appear to offer this incentive for Xbox One however, so you may be out of luck if you couldn’t wait, and already purchased those games for Xbox 360. Still, try your local Gamestop, and you may achieve the same result, possibly allowing you to ‘console hop’ too, i.e. trading in a PlayStation 3 version of a game for its Xbox One version, depending on how the store feels.
Strangely however, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will allow you to retain a Season Pass without having to buy a second one if you buy an Xbox 360 copy and then later get an Xbox One copy of the game. Likewise, Battlefield 4 will also maintain Season Pass benefits on Xbox One if you’ve already bought one for its Xbox 360 edition, as well as carry over your game stats if you buy Battlefield 4 for Xbox 360 and then later buy it for Xbox One. Why these features exist with no digital upgrade plan, we don’t know, but hey, they’re there.
EXACTLY HOW MUCH MORE POWERFUL IS XBOX ONE OVER XBOX 360?:
Immensely! Xbox One not only boasts a Blu-Ray drive and multiple OS’s now, but also unlimited cloud storage, 8GB of internal flash memory, a much more powerful processor, and a more precise and speedy Kinect upgrade! Xbox One is also said to support the ability to download updated display drivers, which can allow its visual prowess to expand as its life cycle goes on.
Put simply, the console is much faster, much prettier and much more multi-functional compared to Xbox 360, making it a huge leap in tech and features over its predecessor!
OBJECTIVELY, IS THE XBOX ONE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE COMPETING PLAYSTATION 4?:
In its current launch incarnation… No. We will be honest, the PlayStation 4 is a better machine from a raw technical standpoint, even if only by a modest margin. The PlayStation 4 ultimately packs a bit more visual memory and processing power than the Xbox One, which means that PlayStation 4’s increased graphical potential and more developer-friendly architecture will probably result in slightly better-produced and slightly smoother-running games in contrast to Xbox One, by and large. This evidence is further supported by PlayStation 4 games having better 1080p HD resolution integrity than their upscaled 720p-900p Xbox One counterparts so far. In layman’s terms, the high-definition graphics quality in PlayStation 4 games is much more consistent and reliably pretty than it will likely be in most Xbox One games.
If the rumour of being able to update display drivers is true however, the Xbox One could possibly gain a visual advantage over PlayStation 4 in the long term. Xbox One also compensates for the PlayStation 4’s added hardware power by having a greater set of features and unique functionality between its three OS’s and Kinect interaction. Thus, things ultimately even out, with the PlayStation 4 having better specs, and the Xbox One having a greater suite of functionality.
DOES XBOX ONE FORCE ME TO INSTALL GAMES DIRECTLY TO THE HARD DRIVE LIKE PLAYSTATION 4 DOES?:
Unfortunately, unlike Xbox 360 where hard drive installations are optional, it appears that Xbox One will now force you to install games to the hard drive before you can play. Fortunately, much like PlayStation 4, Xbox One will allow you to start a game before it has finished installing and downloading necessary updates. Be advised however that a game’s online functionality may be temporarily disabled if the most current patch has not yet been downloaded.
IS XBOX ONE NOISY COMPARED TO XBOX 360?:
According to Microsoft, Xbox One is supposed to be far quieter than Xbox 360, especially considering the obnoxiously loud launch models that Xbox 360 started out with between 2005 and 2010! Microsoft has made the claim that Xbox One could be powered on for a full ten years, and you would never know the difference.
Essentially, it’s supposed to be one polite console in terms of making noise, so don’t worry about it being intrusive during all of this playing, Skyping and TV-watching you’ll inevitably be doing on it.
REGARDING THE CONTROLLER, IS THE BATTERY LIFE BETTER OR WORSE THAN THE XBOX 360 CONTROLLER?:
We can’t say at this point. Microsoft has claimed that the controller can be charged with a play-and-charge kit in under four hours, but hasn’t spoken out about how long the Xbox One controller will function before needing to be plugged back into the console, or perhaps draining a pair of AA batteries. Stay tuned for more information.
IS THE XBOX ONE CONTROLLER EASY TO SYNC TO ANY XBOX ONE CONSOLE?:
Yes, it is! There is a Sync button located on the Xbox One, just like Xbox 360, which can be pressed to immediately map Xbox One controllers to an Xbox One console. Simple!
WILL XBOX ONE SUPPORT XBOX 360 ACCESSORIES, AND OTHER THINGS LIKE A MOUSE AND KEYBOARD AT LAUNCH?:
No. Xbox One is not compatible with any variety of Xbox 360 accessories, including Xbox 360 controllers or the previous Kinect model, nor does it support a mouse and keyboard at launch. Microsoft may be planning to patch in at least keyboard support for Xbox One later, but there is no timetable for this feature to be added.
YOU MEAN THERE’S NO XBOX ONE CHATPAD?! DO I HAVE TO PUNCH IN EVERY DOWNLOAD CODE WITH THE CONTROLLER NOW?!:
Actually, no. Xbox One download cards will now come with QR codes that can be instantly scanned into Kinect, which will automatically input a download code and start the necessary download, all within seconds. This is likely why the Xbox One does not have its own Chatpad accessory like the Xbox 360 does. Thanks to Kinect’s voice recognition and QR scanning capabilities, it’s no longer necessary to type in commands with the controller on Xbox One!
ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT BE GOOD TO MENTION?:
As with PlayStation 4, demand for Xbox One is quite high! Again, if you’re at all interested, our advice is to place a preorder deposit. It’s a lot easier to cancel a preorder deposit on Xbox One than it is to scramble around desperately trying to hunt for the console before the holidays!
Also, given the console’s heavy emphasis on interacting with your television, it might be prudent to have your cable/satellite information handy, in case you need it during the initial setup. Know who your provider and TV package is, and which channels you have at your disposal!
Xbox One launches in North America this Friday, November 22nd, for $499.99. We will be providing tons of reviews of launch games for the Xbox One here at Eggplante, and will be providing review impressions of the Xbox One hardware itself, after it properly launches.
So, for all things Xbox One and related to the Xbox brand in general, keep snapping back to Eggplante!