At midnight, the highly anticipated release of the Xbox One was finally here and fans were lined up across the country to get their hands on the next-gen system. Now that the Xbox One is in plenty of households across the nation, we are beginning to get more and more reviews and thoughts from the gamers who were lucky enough to begin playing the system from Day 1.
How are the early reviews looking?
Here is a look at one some of the experts from around the web are saying:
The Xbox One is a testament to Microsoft’s towering ambition. It represents their desire not only to occupy a place in your home entertainment center, but to lumber straight into the center of it. It is a black plastic tank, a hard-edged chunk of corners meant to conquer everything in its path. But for all its imposing physicality, it has a surprising number of weak spots.3P
Microsoft stumbled when announcing the Xbox One, betting that users would be okay with an always-online Xbox that blocked used game sales and required a Kinect motion camera to operate. But the gaming public was livid at the news, and eventually Microsoft relented, removing the console’s Internet and Kinect requirements as well as its DRM.
If you’re thinking about picking up the Xbox One, you should first figure out how you plan to use it. No kidding, right? But what I’m emphasizing are two trains of thought: do you only care about the gaming aspects, or are you intrigued by the new “future living room” type features it intends to offer? After all, nobody is forcing you to yell “Xbox On” and use the console’s many hands-free voice commands or other Kinect features. Make no mistake, it’s extremely integrated and in-your face, but you don’t have to use it. If you’re primarily a gamer, the good news is the Xbox One delivers much of what you were used to with the 360. The hardware itself is powerful, the controller is excellent (as is the headset) and features like party chat and friends lists are just as seamless as before. And having Kinect out of the box means motion-controlled games like Kinect Sports Rivals can happen without additional purchases.
Microsoft didn’t mean to take over your living room. When it launched in 2005, the Xbox 360 was just a device for games — “the Holy Grail of gaming,” in the immortal words of MTV’s Sway. It would show your pictures if you plugged in a thumb drive, but it was designed to be the best way ever for gamers to play.
Slowly but surely, the emphasis changed. The 360 kept getting more and better games, but it also got Netflix, and Hulu Plus, and HBO Go. In 2008, Microsoft even overhauled the Xbox interface — turning it from the old side-scrolling “blades” interface into something that looked more like the Zune and Windows Media Center, and more recently into something that looks a lot like Windows 8. Media apps became more popular on the 360 than multiplayer gaming, and Microsoft began talking about how “Xbox” didn’t just mean games anymore.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Xbox One is that it is large. Comically large. It looks like a Xbox 360 ate an Xbox 360 slim. It’s more VCR than Blu-ray player. And that’s in addition to the external power brick, itself a heaping chunk of hardware. It makes me nostalgic for my SEGA Saturn in ways I don’t fully understand. And it’s waaay bigger than the PS4. But if all the extra space means none of the red-ringing, overheating problems the Xbox 360 had, it’s more than worth it.
Microsoft’s third Xbox game console—confusingly, titled the Xbox One—is more ambitious in scope than its just-launched competitor, the PlayStation 4, and has had a bumpier path to launch thanks to early gamer-unfriendly plans (since reversed) to eliminate the used games market. While Sony’s console is targeted solely at gamers, the more expensive (by $100) Xbox One aims to be an all-in-one entertainment center for your living room, with a greater array of multimedia features than its competitor—think TV, web surfing, phone (via Skype), movies, and more.
Did you pick up an Xbox One on the first night of it’s release? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts on the new next-gen system.