2It’s Relatively Pricey
Microsoft’s Xbox One is by no means a bargain. The device will reach the market Nov. 22 for $500. To put that into perspective, the PlayStation 4 will launch for $400. The Wii U Deluxe is retailing for $300. It’s worth noting, however, that while the Xbox One is more expensive, it comes with the new Kinect motion-gaming device. That adds some value to the bundle and could prompt some folks to see beyond the higher price tag.
3It’s an Extension of Your Cable Box
One of the core entertainment features in the Xbox One is its support for cable and satellite boxes. Users can plug their boxes into the Xbox One via High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and watch their shows through the console. With Kinect plugged in, users can create a favorites list via voice commands. It could be an extremely important feature for Microsoft and the Xbox One.
4The Storage Will Be Fine–for a While
The Xbox One comes with a 500GB storage drive. While that will be fine for now, Microsoft is positioning its console as a device that can be used to store games and other digital content. That means that the storage drive could soon fill up with digital content, causing users to decide whether to keep the console or upgrade to a later model.
5Blu-ray Has Come to Xbox One
The Xbox 360’s lack of Blu-ray support wasn’t necessarily a big deal, but it was an issue Sony liked to point out in comparisons to its PlayStation. The Xbox One comes with a Blu-ray drive, which means more storage on game discs and the ability to watch Blu-ray films. The interesting thing here, however, is that Microsoft needs to pay a licensing fee to the Blu-ray alliance in order to have the technology in its device. And which one of those companies is nabbing that licensing revenue? None other than Sony.
6Full Skype Integration
7A Vastly Improved Kinect
Speaking of Kinect, the remote-free peripheral has received some much-needed attention from Microsoft. The device now features a streamlined look that makes it more aesthetically pleasing in the living room and can now track minute movements far more effectively than its predecessor. Microsoft also says the peripheral does a better job of handling voice commands.
8The Central Component: Xbox Live?
The popularity of online multiplayer gaming has been well-documented by analysts and researchers across the globe. A key reason for that has been the growing popularity of Xbox Live. The Xbox One will of course come with online multiplayer capabilities through Xbox Live, but the platform’s features go beyond that. Xbox Live comes with background update installs, the ability to access an Xbox Live Gold membership on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One as well as access to other digital media, such as movies and television shows. It’s truly a full-featured digital platform from which more companies should take cues.
9Xbox SmartGlass Is Fully Supported
When Nintendo announced its dual-screen Wii U, allowing gamers to interact with their controller and the TV at the same time, Microsoft was ready with its counterpoint. That’s why the Xbox One comes with support for SmartGlass, a feature that allows users to employ their smartphones or tablets to control what’s happening on their screens and provide more context-aware features to their mobile devices. It’s a neat app that could have real value in both the consumer space and the office.
10There Is a Lot of Windows 8 in the User Interface
Microsoft has apparently decided that the tile-based layout will be the standard for its hardware. That’s why the Xbox One’s start screen looks like Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, which allows users to see game data, entertainment content and other information from within the tiles. Look for Windows 8’s design aesthetic to continue to play a major role in the Xbox One’s own software.
11Gaming Still Takes Center Stage
At the end of the day, gaming is still the central feature in Microsoft’s Xbox One. Sure, the console can deliver entertainment, online chatting and more, but it’s still basically a gaming device, not a general-purpose PC. The real question now, though, is whether just gamers or anyone looking for a complete entertainment system will want to get their hands on the device.