2This Thing Is Huge
It’s hard to truly detail how big and heavy the Xbox One is without having it in-house and holding it for the first time. The console dwarfs the PlayStation 4 and its power brick is ridiculously big. Even the Kinect is rather large for most media centers. Expect a “slim” version at some point during this generation.
3The TV Functionality Is So-So
In my experience with Xbox TV, the novelty wore off very quickly. Sure, the service provided some neat features, like allowing me to control my television with my voice and look through the show guide, but calling out to my television through the Kinect was spotty, at best. The platform also has a problem with channels that have multiple offerings, like ESPN. If you want to watch ESPNU, Kinect is confused. It’s a real issue.
4You Need the Kinect
Speaking of Kinect, it’s an absolute necessity when using the Xbox One. The motion sensor makes cutting through the Xbox One’s software much simpler and is included across many of the platform’s games. Although Microsoft’s Xbox One doesn’t require the new Kinect, it’s hard to see anyone using the console without it.
5Windows 8 Is a Heavy Influence
Although Microsoft has been unwilling to say for sure that Windows 8 is an inspiration for its console, it’s hard to see how it’s not. The Xbox One’s platform includes a tile-based service that looks similar to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. It appears Microsoft wants to make its software homogenous across devices.
6Entertainment Plays a Central Role
Unlike the PlayStation 4, which puts gaming at the forefront, the Xbox One is a bit of a hybrid. Sure, you can play games on the console, but Microsoft has placed a lot of emphasis on entertainment. That’s why the service includes a TV feature, as well as access to all kinds of apps, like ESPN, Netflix and others. The PlayStation 4 also has apps, but it appears right now that Microsoft is making a strong play for the entertainment-seekers.
7Xbox Live Is Good as Ever
Xbox Live is still a stellar platform for playing games online. Connecting to games is a cinch, and playing with others is as simple as waiting for a game to be connected. Microsoft has also flattened the experience a bit, blurring the lines between the offline world and Xbox Live. It creates an all-around fantastic experience.
8The Launch Games Are So-So
When it comes to launch games, the Xbox One, like the PlayStation 4, is a little bit of a disappointment. Many of the games available on the Xbox One are ports from earlier platforms. Forza is arguably one of the most beautiful games every launched, which helps things a bit, but most gamers won’t miss much by waiting some time before getting the Xbox One.
9Developer Support Will Mean Everything
Inevitably, Microsoft needs strong developer support to see its Xbox One succeed. In that respect, the company has so far done well, attracting all of the major publishers and developers and even bringing on some smaller, independent companies to create some titles. Inevitably, developer support is a direct correlation to hardware sales, so it should be interesting to see how Microsoft’s developer relations fare over time.
10Xbox One Controller: Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken
Although some changes have been made to the Xbox One controller, like placing the “on” button and logo at the top of the controller and modifying the bumpers, the experience of playing games on the Xbox One is about the same. Microsoft didn’t change much in the Xbox One controller because, well, it didn’t need to.
11It’s Not a $500 Bundle
The Xbox One bundle is expensive. Consumers can pick up the console and the Kinect for $500—$100 more than the PlayStation 4 console. Microsoft has made the case that its bundle is more expensive because of the Kinect, but it’s hard to say right now that the Xbox One is a must-buy. If better games come out that truly leverage the hardware and improvements are made to the Xbox One dashboard, Microsoft might be able to make a better case for selling the Xbox One bundle for $500. But right now, it’s a bit expensive.