Microsoft’s Xbox One console is a worthy upgrade from its previous Xbox 360 console in a lot of key ways. For casual gamers there’s the console’s upgraded graphics. Though the argument of whether the Xbox One’s games look better than the PS4’s rages on, the truth is that games on the Xbox One look more detailed than they do on the Xbox 360. There is also Xbox Live Compute, a cloud service that Microsoft lets Xbox One game makers build on top of for free. The idea is that by using Live Compute, developers can create immersive game worlds, worlds that are alive when the console is on and even when it’s turned off. Forza 5 uses this technology to learn player’s driving habits and let their characters race against other players for experience points even when they’re not playing the game. Think of Xbox Live Compute and the Xbox One console itself as a new heart that’s meant to reinvigorate every aspect of the user’s experience. That includes playing games, watching movies and just about anything else users would want to do in their living room.
On the entertainment side, there’s the new Kinect 2 sensor that every Xbox One includes. It can be paired with a user’s television and be made to change channels, navigate apps and play casual games without the need to pick up a controller. If the Xbox One console itself is a new beating heart and circulatory system then the Kinect 2 are its eyes and ears. Life without these senses is possible but sometimes it’s seriously less convenient.
With this new Kinect 2 sensor and some added software capabilities, the Xbox One is every bit the console the Xbox 360 is and more. And that’s before considering extras like live television playback.
If you’re thinking about upgrading to the Xbox One, here are the things you need to consider, and the information you need to make the transition a successful one.
There’s Only One Version of the Xbox One to Upgrade To
First, you’ll need to consider which Xbox One you’re picking up. With the Xbox 360 Microsoft offers users three different bundles to choose from. One of them includes an original Kinect sensor with the console itself and enough storage for a few game saves. Another drops the Kinect sensor and includes a large hard drive for those who are considered “core gamers.” The final included the large hard drive and the Kinect sensor.
There’s not nearly as much choice when it comes to picking up an Xbox One. There’s only one version and it includes the Xbox One itself, the Kinect 2 sensor and 500GB hard drive for $499. Buyers have the option to purchase the console without a game for $499 or with a digital copy of Titanfall or Forza 5. Both cost the same amount as a console without a bundled game. As such, users are safe picking whichever one might appeal to them more. Titanfall is a first-person shooter. Forza 5 is a driving simulator.
You’re Not Playing Your Xbox 360 Games on the Xbox One
If you’re considering purchasing an Xbox One to replace an aging Xbox 360, you’re much better off thinking of the console as more of a supplement than a replacement. That’s for two key reasons. The first is that the Xbox One doesn’t yet have all of the entertainment apps that are available on the Xbox 360 yet. Microsoft has made it clear that its working with partners to get more apps in the Xbox Store, but it’ll take a while for the console to reach parity.
The second, and arguably more important reason, is that the Xbox One can’t play Xbox 360 games. Don’t misunderstand, there are games that are available on both. For example, Madden NFL 25, Titanfall and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag are all available on both. The difference is that games like Grand Theft Auto 5, which isn’t available on newer consoles, won’t work on the Xbox One.
Hang on to your Xbox 360’s accessories too. Simply put, almost none of the Xbox 360’s accessories will work on the Xbox One. Gaming headphones in particularly are pretty iffy. Some headsets that use an infrared audio port will work on the newer console, users just won’t be able to associate it with a particular controller. Others will require a specific adapter. Microsoft does sell a headphone adapter that allows Xbox One owners to reuse the headphones from their smartphone or tablet and the wired headsets from their Xbox 360. That adapter costs an extra $25.
Extra battery packs and chargers will need to be repurchased for the newer console.
Download Your Apps & Put in Your Accounts
Once you’ve purchased your Xbox One, connected your Xbox One to the internet and updated it, you’ll need to enter the username and password for your Microsoft Account. To be clear, don’t create a new account, you’ll want to use the same account that was on your Xbox 360. This will bring over any music downloads, video purchases or leftover Xbox Live Gold subscription time.
Using YouTube, Netflix or some of the other subscription apps like Hulu will require users to input their subscription credentials after they’ve downloaded each app as well. Users will only need to enter that information once. From that point on it’ll sync to any Xbox One that logs in with that Microsoft Account.
All told, upgrading to the Xbox One does have some caveats. Not having the same app and game selection is definitely a negative, but for those users who are ready to dive into unknown territory and get in on something new with a lot of benefits, it’s not a bad idea to purchase an Xbox One now. The experience will improve over time as more apps, games and software features become available.
The Xbox One is on store shelves right now for $499.