The new wave of consoles is finally here, including Microsoft’s Xbox One. While both the One and PS4 have similar hardware setups and gaming capabilities, they differ in how they handle applications, as well as the games they offer.
In this article, we’ll take a firsthand look at the newly launched, next generation console.
Let’s talk hardware first. Both the new Xbox and Playstation come with quad-core processors built by Intel, and come with Blu-ray DVD players – a first for Xbox, and an upgraded version for PS4. But this about where the similarities end. The XO runs with a different GPU setup that is supposedly slightly inferior to PS4.
For storage, Xbox comes with 500GB non-removable storage. This might sound like a lot, and will probably suffice for a while, but seeing as how every game must be installed from now on, any game could take up to 50GB of space – and that’s without DLC, updates or expansions. However, Microsoft has said they will find a way to increase this for players in the future.
Regarding hook ups, there are three USB ports for external devices and charging controllers. HDMI is standard now, with a few other optical hookups. XOne contains a built-in Wi-Fi adapter, and supports Ethernet as well.
Finally, the Kinect comes standard, though players are split about its functionality. While the Kinect can be used for voice commands, early consoles have seen issues with it catching the phrases when voiced, and it’s ‘always on, always listening’ state, has some players worried.
It seems pretty universal that neither console looks that spiffy. In fact, the Xbox could easily be mistaken for an old VCR, surround sound system, or even a piece of furniture. Yet, if you think about it, where would all that hardware go?
We personally think it looks like a robot, but that’s neither here nor there. Get it? The box body, the Kinect eyes… nevermind.
Though the one thing we can say that has improved on the outside is the controller. While the Xbox 360 controller was consistently raved about, Microsoft revamped it anyway. The new controller comes complete with dual rumble motors for better input, a cross-shaped d-pad which may or may not better for gaming, and small, more precise joysticks. Button placement has shifted slightly; whether this is for better or worse, we have yet to truly tell.
Now to the real advancement of the Xbox One. This console runs its own OS, one built specifically for it, yet it runs very similarly to Windows 8, utilizing tiles and shifting sub-menus. The menus take some getting used to, and are little more confusing than they should be.
The XO introduces the ‘snapping’ ability of later Microsoft OS’s, and can be used even during gaming. A player can snap games while watching television or using social media. While this is an interesting feature, it makes us wonder how useful it will come to be. More than likely, you won’t want to keep snapping things if you are knee-deep in a game, but if you are watching a show, and want to check your statuses in between breaks, it makes tons of sense. The amount it’s used will depend on the person.
The Xbox One also sports a better lineup of exclusives and third party titles than its rivals, a fact that is not overlooked by eager gamers with a little extra cash this holiday season. While PS4 has a few, a quick Google search will show that Xbox has them beat on this one.
Lastly, the Xbox One allows users to DVR gaming footage for a certain amount of time. The fact that you can’t record shows or extended amounts of game footage has already been an issue for some, and it’s not hard to see why. Maybe it has to do with the storage capacity?
If these new consoles have shown us anything, it’s that we live in a world of powerful electronics that do more as one device than the half dozen devices they’ve replaced collectively.
While both the Xbox One and the PS4 are powerful machines, they’ve both had their bugs already, even straight off the line. Connectivity issues, disc read errors and non-loading apps all being examples of this.
For hardcore Microsoft followers, the Xbox One may not be perfect, but it’s the best available. The price tag comes in at $100 more than the PS4, but even so, in terms of its abilities, it could still be argued as a bargain when compared to buying a PC, a Blu-ray player or tablet on its own.
Anyone considering buying the Xbox One for the holidays, we offer this caution: it will probably have bugs. Every first wave of devices has them, regardless of internal testing. If you can handle this, then great, you will find years of next gen gaming ahead of you, with a few hiccups along the way. If you can get past the end-of-the-year craziness, and wait for the next wave, you’re probably better off.
Coty “Gunslinger Dust” Schwabe plays Xbox and has a way with words. You can read more of his game reviews on his blog at http://gunslingerdustgaming.blogspot.com/ Catch him on Xbox 360 – Gunslinger Dust – or on Google+