Last week was pretty monumental in terms of the future of the gaming industry and the ushering in of a new era of consoles. The Playstation 4 made waves around the world with its release, and with it came our guide to everything Playstation 4, but the excitement is far from over. This week gamers will be getting their hands on the new Xbox One Microsoft’s third console to date.
For those of you who are hardcore Xbox people, or you are waiting to see how both systems fair at launch, we have yet another handy guide to help you in your search for your ultimate gaming machine. Just like last week with the Playstation 4, we are bringing you all the details and options the Xbox One has to offer, from specs, to accessories, to kick-ass exclusives. So hold on to your controllers, folks! We are bringing you all you need to know about the Xbox One!
What’s in the box?
What kind of shiny new awesomeness awaits when you rip into your new Xbox One box? Well for starters, you get the Xbox One console, of course! The console comes with a 500 GB of storage that cannot be removed, but Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will allow for external storage capabilities in the future after downloading a patch update, just not at launch. The system features a slot loading Blu-ray drive, built in 802,11n Wi-Fi, and 3 USB 3.0 ports. The back of the console is home to 2 HDMI ports, on in for cable boxes and satellite and one out for your TV. There is a port for the Kinect and audio, and an extra IR port, though you may not even utilize it considering the Kinect can act as an IR blaster itself. The power supply is again external, as it was with the Xbox 360, which may continue to be mildly annoying and bulky, so make sure you save some space for it. Also included with purchase is an HDMI cord, something that was not provided with the Xbox One’s predecessor, as well as a mono head set that plugs right into the Xbox One controller that is also included. Cross game chat is back and can host up to 8 players. The Kinect will now come standard with every Xbox One, resulting in a bigger price tag ($500, which is $100 more than the Playstation 4), so whether you want it or not, it’s there.
The innards of the system include a custom 8 core x86 AMD CPU, custom AMD GPU, and 8 GB DDR3 RAM, but the most interesting thing Microsoft is attempting is the cloud computing capability that will help gamers manage their experience and will also allow for more detailed games, such as better AI characters, and more intricate graphics. It is one of those things that sound great in theory, but we will have to see what the future holds for the reality of it.
What can this bad boy do?
Players will have the choice on whether or not they buy disk versions of their games or downloadable versions, as most titles for the Xbox One will be available as digital downloads at release, making sure you are putting that huge 500 GB hard drive to good use.
There is a day one patch that will take around 15 or 20 minutes to download that will be required before you can do anything with you system, though the size of the download has not been revealed. The Kinect will allow for a super fast power up time. Say “Xbox on” and within seconds your Kinect has powered up the system and even recognized you and signed you in. You would of course have to have your Kinect on at all times to take advantage of this function.
The dashboard is even more customizable than ever, allowing up to 25 pins for all the apps, games, and shows that you want immediate access to. You can change the color of your background and don’t worry, you can continue using the same Gamertag you have always had, which can come in handy if you are away from your home console and you decide to sign in on a different Xbox One or even Smartglass. Your friendslist will no longer be capped off thanks to the cloud system, so no more tough decisions on who gets cut when you hit your max.
Unfortunately, Twitch streaming will not be available to the Xbox One at launch. It has been delaying until sometime in 2014, though the full library of videos will be available to watch and players can even earn achievements by doing so. The Game DVR will always capture the last five minutes of game play so if something really awesome happens you can upload it for all of your friends to see. The reputation system has been improved and makes it much easier to filter out all of the rude trolls and will help prevent harassment even better than before.
Despite initial attempts at making the system “always online”, Microsoft has since backtracked after the initial outrage and you will be able to use your system offline. Players can now use Party Scout, which will allow you to watch some TV, for example, while the system searches for the perfect party to play multiplayer with.
The system is not (for the time being at least) backwards compatible in any way, including Xbox 360 games and XBLA games you have previously downloaded, though there have been rumors that Microsoft is looking for ways to bring older titles to the Xbox One is some capacity. One awesome improvement is that if there is one account on the Xbox One that has an Xbox Live Gold subscription, all other accounts on the system can benefit from it as well, including online multiplayer and most apps! This is an amazing addition, considering some families (mine included) have multiple gamers in the house and paying for Gold multiple times is just excessive. Achievments can no unlock more than just bragging rights, and will sometimes reward players with unlockable artwork and in-game items, just to name a few. Region lock is a thing of the past and will no longer hold you back in terms of playing games from other countries (unless the publisher restricts it).
Let’s talk accessories!
The controller hasn’t vastly changed, but it is much sleeker and little tweeks like the slight change in D-pad design are fantastic. No more bulky battery pack, though you still have to use AA batteries or a seperate play and charge kit which seems archaic at this point in the game. One cool thing is that the Xbox one will allow up to 8 controllers to be connected to the system at once, making for some pretty awesome multiplayer experiences.
As mentioned before, the Kinect comes standard with the Xbox One, and it can do so much more than ever before. The camera can now work much better in smaller rooms than before and it can sense numerous people in a room. It recongizes faces so well that that when they come in a room the Kinect can immediately sign them into their account. It goes so far as to recognize skeletons and even moniter heartbeats. It can recognize a player by their voice when signing into an account as well. The Xbox One has built in Skype and in addition to the ability to answer audio and video calls while playing a game or watching TV, you can also use the Kinect to answer calls.
Remember that extra HDMI port for cable boxes we mentioned? The Xbox One allows you to run a cable box through your console to give players the ability to seamlessly switch between games and TV, but in doing so requires the system to be on whenever you want to watch you shows.
All the exclusives!!
The Xbox One launch brings on some pretty exciting exclusives in addition to the cross platformers, such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts. For starters, fans of the Xbox exclusive survival horror series Dead Rising will be getting a new installment with the release of Dead Rising 3. The much anticipated Ryse: Son of Rome will be dropping day one as well alongside fan favorite Forza Motorsport 5. There will be plenty more in store in the coming year as well, as there will no doubt be a new Halo waiting in the wings for the next-gen console.
There are plenty of ups and downs to both consoles, but one thing is for sure, the gaming industry has stepped it up and things are getting more amazing for gamers by the minute. Hopefully we can helped you decide which console is the perfect one for you and if all else fails, just buy both! Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Happy gaming, my epic friends.
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