There’s no escaping it online. Every where you look, every where you turn there’s someone talking about the war between Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles. Through out the launch window we heard stories about how the PS4 eclipses the Xbox One’s capabilities and that only it can deliver true high-definition gaming experiences. Those staying on top of news in the gaming space have also no-doubt heard users who aren’t fans of the Xbox One’s price tag talk about how the console just isn’t worth it for what users are getting today.
To be frank, I think those stories are full of crap. While I won’t go so far as to say that every user out there should get an Xbox One over the PS4, I am willing to say that now is a great time to buy an Xbox One based on what it does today.
I’ve always been of the opinion that the Xbox One and PS4 cater to two very differently but slightly converging markets. Whereas the PS4 is for gamers who like to occasionally do something else. The Xbox One feels built from the ground up to put different kinds of entertainment in the living room without having to choose. No feature showcases this design philosophy more than TV on the Xbox One.
Using the console’s HDMI pass-through port and Kinect 2 sensor to directly control a cable box works well and it’s getting better. Really, the only thing the system is missing is a way to directly control a cable box’s recording functionality and some sort of Xbox SmartGlass experience that puts the OneGuide, what Microsoft calls the all-in-one channel listing and direct gateway into other experiences, on a user’s smartphone or tablet.
This functionality is already so good here it’s worth purchasing if you have a cable subscription or even an over-the-air HD box that outputs video using an HDMI port.
Before Microsoft announced the Xbox One I had plans to replace the small NeoTV box in my office with a media PC or something small that ran Windows RT. The though process was that doing so would allow me to live stream events that were only available on the web, use its built-in web browser as a nice heads-up display and stream content from my Windows PC without having to manage syncing and virus protection.
Users can actually do all of that with the Xbox One, easily making it a great purchase. I’ve held meetings with team members using Skype and streamed from Netflix and Hulu Plus too. The best thing is that with the Xbox One I don’t need to keep a second keyboard and mouse around to do any of this.
The key reason I’d buy an Xbox One run now is simple: Titanfall. More specifically, users who purchase an Xbox One now will get a copy of the upcoming first-person shooter at no extra cost. That means today’s buyers are saving $60 over any user who purchased the Xbox One at launch. Users are also getting a free month of Xbox Live Gold too.
There are more reasons to purchase an Xbox One. For example, its integration with other Microsoft products like Skype and OneDrive are also valuable. On the other hand, these are the things that I think will matter to potential buyers right now.
Microsoft’s Xbox One console is on store shelves now for $499. Users who wait until March 8th will be able to pick up the Titanfall Xbox One bundle at that same price.