This time twelve months ago hordes of people were eagerly awaiting the release of the Xbox One. Unfortunately I wasn’t one of them, I had to wait a couple of weeks until I was able to get mine, mainly because they were out of stock pretty much everywhere I looked.
It’s fair to say that the Xbox One released under a lot of scrutiny. People had a lot of issues with the direction the console was going. There was still a loyal fan base left, but it had been seriously depleted with a lot of people switching to the PS4.
Personally I think a lot of the hatred was misguided and unnecessary. That’s not to say Microsoft launched a perfect console, but it was in no way as bad as some people made out, and honestly I think people were just propagating rumours that they’d heard, and passing them on as facts without really knowing themselves. This was kind of proven when a couple of months after launch people still thought the console couldn’t be used without the Kinect, and couldn’t play pre-owned games.
Now that we are one year on, how are things looking for the Xbox One, and what was my first year like with the console?
Firstly my lows.
I’m putting this part first, mainly because I don’t actually think I have too many low points. However, I think the main one has been the negativity and the knock on effect it has created i.e. the fact that it has meant I have lost people to play the console with – Murr being one of them.
During the 360 golden days all my closest friends had one, which meant I pretty much always had someone to play with. With the Xbox One however, only one of my close friends picked up the console. This has meant the end of nights spent playing Battlefield, Call of Duty and Halo all in one room together.
Things have picked up a little more recently with some more people I know getting the console, so hopefully I will see a return of those glory days!
Another low is that Xbox Live seems to be a little less reliable. I say Xbox Live, but this also extends to individual games servers too. It seems like every new game that has launched with some kind of multiplayer has encountered problems, whether that is with the game itself or something wrong on Xbox Live, it seems like no new game is able to have a smooth launch. I think the only game that didn’t I really encounter problems on was Titanfall. I don’t know what has changed or why this keeps happening, but I don’t like it…
Netflix. I’m someone who uses entertainment apps quite a bit, Netflix being one I used a lot on the 360. But for some reason the app just hasn’t worked since day one. It’s not so much a problem now, because I’ve moved my Xbox One to my ‘studio/office’ area, so don’t use it for TV. I now just use my 360. But it was very annoying early on, and the Xbox customer support weren’t really able to provide me with an answer…
I actually don’t think I have any other significant lows, so I will move on to the good bits!
Firstly has to be the Kinect 2.0. I had the first Kinect for my 360, but I never really brought in to it fully, and eventually I sold it. That meant that I was initially sceptical about the 2.0 sensor, but I was willing to give it a try. I’m very glad that I did. It’s been a really nice addition to the console and compliments the system very well. Navigating through the dashboard, launching games, and being able to turn the console on as soon as I walk through my door, are all really nice features, and for me have worked really well.
On one hand I still feel that they probably should’ve done a bundle without one earlier on, but then that might have had a detrimental impact on the Kinect, kind of like with 360 version where it didn’t really take off properly, so in a way I can kind of understand the decision to bundle it with it. But I know a lot of people don’t see it like this, and it’s one of the reasons people switched, plus it made the console a lot more expensive than its main rival the PS4.
In my opinion the controller for the Xbox 360 was the superior controller, this was a sentiment expressed by a lot of people. The idea of a new controller coming along can be a little worrying. This is what you will be holding for hours on end, you want it to be comfortable and easy to use. Thankfully the Xbox One controller is amazing. In fact, I think it one ups the 360 controller. At first it was a little strange to get used to the new bumpers, but having now adapted from using my finger tips to press them to the bit in between my 2nd and 3rd knuckle, they are now a breeze to use. The only thing I would like for the controller is a rechargeable battery built in. Other than that, it’s perfect.
Game DVR, this one has actually been a bit of an odd one for me. I loved being able to record 30 second clips using “Xbox record that.”, but beyond that I’ve not used it much, and I think that’s because its limited to 5 minutes. If it were 10 minutes, I think I would’ve used it a lot more. Your average multiplayer game lasts longer than 5 minutes, but probably not a lot more than 10, so why not make it 10 minutes? It’s a small issue really, and the overall inclusion of being able to record gameplay has made me want to do it more, and lead me to purchase a proper capture card.
Obviously the main reason I got the Xbox One wasn’t for the Kinect or the controller. It was for the games.
Within the first month of owning the console I picked up Battlefield 4, Ryse: Son of Rome, and NBA 2K14. Graphically, Ryse and NBA blew me away, both of them looked fantastic, and the visuals felt pretty next gen. The scale of BF4 was also immense, 64 player battle grounds was something I’d not been able to experience on a console before, naturally this blew me away too.
The next 12 months saw me pick up more than 25 games including exclusive games like Titanfall, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive and the aforementioned Ryse, along with AAA titles like Grand Theft Auto 5, Destiny, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Watchdogs. There have also been a fair few great indie games like Valiant Hearts, Minecraft, and Guacamelee. Who says the Xbox One is just an entertainment system?
Some games I loved, some not so much. My highlights have probably been Battlefield 4, for its all out battles, NBA 2K14&15, for looking amazing, and getting me back in to Basketball, Sunset Overdrive for its utter madness and over the top fun, and Halo for its nostalgia, and polishing up to be a pretty great looking game now.
Quite frankly, the first year for this console has been a great one for me, its had some excellent games to play both exclusive and third party, the Kinect has been a breeze to use, and I think things will only be getting better.
Microsoft have been working hard to try and change peoples perception of the console, with monthly updates – which have been another highlight, so many new features have been added (although some should’ve been there from the start), they’ve been putting out some great deals and bundles. I think the hard work is starting to pay off too, as the rumour is that they’ve seen themselves out sell the PS4 for three weeks in a row, something they haven’t even manage once all year from my memory. I also now see a lot more people going out to buy the console, people also seem to be coming around to the Kinect, and if they can continue to implement it in the way they have done so far, I can’t see why it wouldn’t become a successful peripheral. Just don’t force it on people too much.
So that’s my first year, what has your experience been like with the Xbox One so far?