Xbox One Review: My Experience Six Months Later

Six months ago Xbox One owners stood in the cold November air, anticipating what the console would bring.

For months Xbox One owners, myself included, flocked to Microsoft’s Xbox website. We’d become acquainted with the console’s early design. Pictured ourselves playing the console’s launch day titles, become so excited about the console’s future prospects that we were all willing to pay $499 for it the moment it was available.

Xbox One Review (2)

Many had been excited about the console Microsoft originally planned to ship. When the company took to the stage at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, it announced that all games would be installed on users’ consoles, regardless of whether they were downloaded digitally or purchased at a retail store. The company also said that users would be able to share Xbox One games with their friends and family, creating a virtual library that multiple family members could have access to at a moment’s notice.  There was also talk of enabling publishers to restrict used game sales and users not being able to play the Xbox One without having its Kinect sensor plugged in.

Read: Xbox One Review

Of course, Microsoft went on to trash all of those requirements and restrictions before the console’s launch, and the Xbox One we have today at least feels like it’s a far cry from the console Microsoft had intended to launch. Still, users are lining up by the thousands to purchase the new console, and though sales aren’t as high as the PS4’s, its clear that the Xbox One is off to a promising start.

So how is the Xbox One experience after using it for six months? There are positives, and some key negatives, for users to still consider before making the purchase.

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Gaming

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Early on both the Xbox One and PS4 were criticized for not having “enough good games.” The idea was simple: that by waiting, potential Xbox One and PS4 buyers were ensuring that they’d have a wealth of titles to choose from when they purchased the console sometime after this year. Overall, it seems many Xbox One buyers found that position a bit odd. This was a new Xbox console that contains the latest in graphics, an eight-core processor, a controller with individual rumble motors for force feedback and a modern operating system that Microsoft could improve on over time. Having played Titanfall, Madden NFL 25 & Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, it’s safe to say that those guys were both right and wrong.

Gaming on the Xbox One, even for those games that are also available on the Xbox 360, has been a treat. The graphics are crisp and clear. The Xbox One controller feels slightly more comfortable in the hand thanks to the plastic surface that I called “cheap” in my review of the console last year. Being able to say “Xbox, record that” and save video game clips is great – especially since those clips can now be shared on YouTube as well. Yelling out commands to the included Kinect 2 sensor in certain games has been great fun too.

At this point I don’t think its worth it to upgrade for the games alone. Users who are prepared to embrace the unique gaming features that the Xbox One offers are who should be looking at purchasing the console right now. Cloud save syncing will change the way you game. So too will Xbox Live Gold Home. Last September Microsoft promised that Xbox One owners would be able to take their games and game saves to any console that had a connection to the internet. After all this time I struggle to find a single thing that Xbox Live Gold Home does wrong. I’ve walked into a family member’s living room, dropped in my user information and granted everyone else on the console the ability to play my games and use Xbox Live’s features. The best part of my Xbox One experience so far was the day I realized that I was playing against my girlfriend online in a game of Titanfall from the console in my living room despite her not having purchased a copy of the game or an Xbox Live subscription.

Entertainment

How to Update an Xbox One Controller (1)

Whereas I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment from gaming on the Xbox One over the Xbox 360 because of the small little extras, the entertainment experience on the Xbox One hasn’t been as good as was expected. Mostly, this comes to two issues: the Kinect 2 sensor’s voice processing and Xbox One apps.

The Xbox One Kinect 2 sensor is a technology marvel. Being able to control your television with your voice and even turn the Xbox One on and off has been a dream. The Xbox One even knows to turn to a specific channel given the right command. Still, the console takes a few tries before getting the command right and sometimes that can be frustrating. Hopefully that experience improves as more people pick up the console. Accurate commands are sorely needed if Microsoft hopes that controlling the console without a remote will be approachable for the entire family.

These past months I’ve actually spent more time on my Xbox One in the different entertainment apps and I have to say that I’m a bit underwhelmed by the entire experience. Xbox One apps, mainly Xbox Music, don’t feel as powerful as they once did. For example, Xbox Music actually has to be snapped to the side of the user’s screen before users can listen to music. Even if they’re playing a game. The design also feels less consistent and the Xbox SmartGlass experiences that Microsoft showed off at least year’s E3 trade show are hardly integrated into the apps not made by Microsoft.

Of course, all of this is fine when the apps are actually there. Six months later there are still essential entertainment apps missing from the Xbox One experience. Microsoft has yet to release the HBO Go app that it announced before last year’s release. That’s HBO’s fault, but the Microsoft has yet to even acknowledge that the app has been delayed outside of a slightly obscure podcast. Today, the Xbox 360 experience is better based on the fact that there are more services available alone.

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Six months from its release the Xbox One does feel less like a stretch. New games have appeared, options for storage have been added and updates enabling headsets have been deployed to users. I stand by the assertion that the Xbox One is a great all-in-one entertainment console, at least it will be once Microsoft plugs a few more key holes.

Comments

  1. Nicoli (@NHowell14) says

    I’m sorry but aside from the controller, this is the worst console made. I’d say the Wii U will turn out to not only sell more, but have much better games than lower quality PC games.

    • Q says

      On what basis are you making this statement? Worst ever made? That’s a hell of a stretch. Have you noticed the WiiU has been out for a considerable amount of time and is tanking in sales? Have you noticed that the Xbox One has already sold more units than the WiiU? Or are you one of the few Nintendo fans still holding out hope that they’ll actually be able to do something with their already outdated console?

    • charlesclarke3 says

      While I do have a nice spot in my heart for Nintendo. XBox One rocks. And because they targeted China and reduced thier smaller country deployment, they have cleared 10 million in sales trumping Sony and Nintendo. Dishes are done. XBox One wins.

    • Gamer Doc says

      Project Spark and Titanfall alone are enough to put it up the charts a bit. Kinect after you have lived with for 6 months needs to stay firmly where it is. If this thing could play my Xbox 360 games I would put it at the very top for the greatest machine ever made. The controller (which should come in two sizes like the original Xbox) is a technological marvel which trounces all other controllers by a fair margin. You don’t sound like you have played an Xbox One or spent much time moving through the OS like a tornado with your voice. I still prefer PC gaming for the content but the One is slowly becoming my go to device for gaming.

  2. Joe says

    I’ve owned every major gaming console since the Sega Genesis and I’ve never purchased a console that was as over priced and underwhelming as the XB1.

    My 6 months with the Xbox One have produced the following questions/remarks:

    - Who the kcuf designs a console with the controller ports ON THE BACK?

    - How is the Xbox One kinect so much worse than the 360 version? Specifically, the voice commands. Terrible. 50/50 recognition… And nothing says “user friendly” like screaming at your Xbox one. lol
    And when it does happen to work, its infinitely more complicated to use and doesn’t need to be.
    For example… On the 360 when you watch a TV episode and want to skip forward you’d say “Xbox, next episode” … On the Xbox one, to accomplish the same task, you have to say “Xbox, select, stop, go back, down, down, down, right, select 2, more episodes, right, right, right, episode 6, play”. Its absurd.
    What’s worse is when you’re going “down” and what you want is in the row that always gets skipped. Saying “down” skips down 3 rows.

    - WTF isn’t it easier to change profiles? If I’m not the first person to be recognized my the camera it is ridiculously complicated to switch and get an app to work. you literally have to sign in on the OS then sign in with the app. It feels like something programmed in the 90s.

    - The lack of true HD. Its 2014, no? This is supposed to be a next gen console, right? So, why then is everything on the Xbox one in 720p when 1080p has been around for 6 years and 4k is up and coming?

    ….I could give another dozen examples of disappointment…. But my phone battery is at 2%.

    • Gamer Doc says

      Ryse 1080p. You didn’t own an Apple Pippen or a Genesis 3. I doubt you have a Neo-Geo and I am almost certain you don’t own an Xbox One. If you do really own one re-install the OS and the need to sign into your apps will go away. When DirectX 12 launches all 8 cores will unlock instead of a single core. The Xbox runs on Directx while the PS4 uses Open GL I believe. There will be more power coming. Why in the hell are you using controller ports in the first place? If you need to charge just plug the controller in to the port on the front left hand side.

    • The S1im Reaper says

      You need to reconfigure your kinect, or l learn to speak the English language, bc my voice command work at least 95%. especially since all the updates came through.

    • Moosemus says

      Great post Joe. I agree with everything you said. I have Bf4 and COD on both PS4 and XB1 and there is a huge difference in resolution. I loved the PS3 and 360. Each had its strengths. This time around Microsoft provided an classic example of groupthink. Management at Microsoft wanted so badly to make windows 8 work so they tried to force it on Xb1 users when should not have been the interface of choice. They also forced the connect. Xb1 is a text book example of why not to leave your core product (a gaming machine). The only option I see going forward is for Microsoft to release a new console at the midway point of the PS4 lifecycle or have a streaming gaming experience that provides better graphics. The PS4 has the significant graphical advantage. Gamers want the best graphics and gameplay. To Joe’s point, 720p tv’s are not making a comeback to pair with the Xb1.

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  4. Bill Blonkers says

    My Xbox is essentially a 700$ titanfall machine. (After games, taxes, etc). It’s the only worthwhile game on Xbox. I was shocked at how bad the kinect worked. Both the voice recognition and the motion control are absolute garbage.

    I feel more than a bit let down and kind of ripped off.

    • charlesclarke3 says

      You’re not doing something right or you have a bad unit. I would try an exchange or watch some youtubes on how to sue it properly. Kinect 2.0 ROCKS! I love the crap out of the thing! Get Kinect Sport Rivals my friend. Play soem Tennis with family 200 miles away. Pretty awesome!

  5. James says

    I love it. The smart glass integration makes things so good. You would have to speak like a retard for it not to understand you.

  6. Jesse Kaylor says

    @Joe Congrats on your console purchases dude. However:

    -Controller ports on the back? Ummm…there’s one on the side dude, but more than that, who cares? The controllers are wireless and hold a charge longer than any wireless controller I’ve used thus far.

    -I’m not sure what’s going on with YOUR Kinect, but mine is responsive as hell, and I have 3 kids in the house. Navigating the system with Kinect has been completely intuitive and responsive so far. Have you calibrated it recently?

    -I’ve not had the profile issue, so I’m not going to comment other than if it is such an issue for you, why not turn off Kinect sign-in for the other profiles that aren’t the primary profile?

    -No offense, but this is a stupid reason. First of all, the Xbox One has quite a few 1080p games on it. Second of all, as long as the game is fun, I could care less about its resolution.

  7. Sean says

    I like how after all this time people are still lying to make the other system sound better. Most people will choose what to buy off of brand loyalty, or game exclusives. I have the one and have had no problems with Kinect. I will not slam the PS4, I will say the game exclusives for it are not for me though. Xbox one works for me, and games for both systems will get better, when they stop making the same games for last gen systems. Either way people need to quit slamming the other systems with lies.

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