For better or for worse, buying a new video game console gets expensive. Take Microsoft’s console for example. Today, the Xbox One is the most expensive video game console users can buy.
A brand new Xbox One with a bundled Kinect costs users $499 before tax and, depending on if the Titanfall or Forza 5 bundles are available, that cost doesn’t include a game. Users who don’t want either of those games can pick up another through the Xbox Game Store for $60 or head to their local GameStop to purchase a used copy of their favorite Xbox One game for a bit less. Users are also expected to pay for Xbox Live if they want to game online. That could cost them an extra $60 a year, or $10 a month, if they don’t already have it.
That’s a lot of money for first-time console buyers and those upgrading alike. Thankfully, Microsoft offers tons of free things for users to do once they’ve gotten the Xbox One home and setup.
Work Out with Xbox Fitness
Really, Microsoft’s Xbox Fitness doesn’t get enough credit. Whether that’s because Xbox Fitness doesn’t come installed on the console by default or requires the Kinect 2 sensor to operate is unclear. What is clear is that Xbox Fitness is a big reason why the Xbox One should be considered an entertainment system for the entire family. Essentially, Xbox Fitness brings Jillian Michaels and other fitness personalities into user’s homes. Xbox Fitness users simply download video of their favorite fitness stars and get to work staying in shape and saving on a gym membership. Users can purchase more videos from the service and add their favorite fitness personalities to their collection. During those videos Xbox Fitness tracks the user’s poses and makes sure that they’re in step with what’s being shown in the video. Xbox Fitness also tracks user’s heart rate.
From now until the fall Xbox Fitness is included with the Xbox Live Gold subscription that users need in order to play multiplayer.
Stream from Netflix & Other Entertainment Apps
Today, Xbox One owners are required to sign up for an Xbox Live Gold account before accessing services like Twitter and Facebook. Starting June 9th that won’t be the case.
Earlier this month Microsoft announced that all entertainment apps would be available to users over Xbox Live for free. To be clear, that means that Xbox One users who have a Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription won’t be required to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription before accessing content through those apps. The idea is simple enough: that entertainment should be free, like on other platforms and set-top boxes.
What this also creates is a world where users can access free services through the Xbox One without a Gold subscription too. That means that streaming content from YouTube and Twitch, which are already free of charge, just works without any hassle. After the switch over, users will be able to connect the Xbox One to their cable or satellite box and channel surf for free as well. To clarify, today Xbox One owners are required to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to use the OneGuide channel listings, for example. Watching Live TV on the Xbox One does require a compatible cable box and a cable or satellite subscription.
Download Game Demos & Free Games
Finally, there are the free games themselves. Killer Instinct is a free title that’s available to all Xbox One users. The free version of the game only comes with one fighter but users can add more for $3.99 each.
Then there are the console’s video game demos. Shrunken trial versions of full retail games are available through the Xbox Store. These games don’t include all of the final version’s features, but they do allow users to get a feel for what’s involved in them. Today there are free demos of Lego: The Hobbit, Kinect Sports Rivals, Lego Movie: The Videogame, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Dead Rising 3, Sumba Fitness, Zoo Tycoon, NBA Live 14 and FIFA 14. Presumably, there will be more as the Xbox One gets more games.
In addition to these games, Microsoft will also start delivering two free games a month to Xbox One owners who have an Xbox Live Gold account, just like the company does for Xbox 360 users. Xbox One owners won’t get to keep these titles if they cancel their Xbox Gold subscription, but in exchange for that Microsoft has promised to deliver a better assortment of titles. June’s assortment of games includes Max: The Curse of Brotherhood & Halo: Spartan Assault. Both of those games made their debut fairly recently.
There are tons of things that users can do with their Xbox One without spending much of anything. Try a few demos, or wait until next month when a Gold subscription isn’t required to enjoy the entertainment apps. You can even start a workout regimen without leaving home.
The Xbox One is on store shelves right now for $499. Microsoft has already announced a $399 version of the console that doesn’t include the Kinect 2 sensor. Users who buy that version won’t be able to use Xbox Fitness.