It’s been eight long years since the Xbox 360 was released, but the wait is finally over for gamers, as today sees the launch of Microsoft’s next gen console, the Xbox One.
So, what do you need to know?
How does it compare to the Xbox 360?
The Xbox One is larger than the Xbox 360. Strong, sturdy, and happiest horizontal – so you won’t be able to keep it on its side like its predecessor, plus, it’s not as noisy. In fact, it’s exceptionally quiet. There are 21 titles available at launch – compared to 18 available in 2005’s Xbox 360 launch. The controller feels great – smooth handling, larger shoulder buttons, slightly daintier analogue sticks, and a rumble PJ and Duncan would be proud of. Plus setting up is reasonably smooth – but you’ll need an online update to begin, and games can take a couple of minutes to install. With 500GB, you can store roughly ten full games in the internal hard disc.
How does it compare to the PS4?
Okay, so it’s £80 more than the PS4. And it has slightly less raw processing power than its Sony nemesis. But you get the camera included, which you’d have to buy separately for the PS4 at £54.99. The PS4’s GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is 50 per cent more powerful than the Xbox One – so games might look ever so slightly more impressive on the PS4. Both consoles will have power titles including Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4. Both Sony and Microsoft will be charging users for online services.
What do I get with it?
The Kinect 2.0 is included in the £429 price tag, Microsoft’s all-seeing Big Brother eye (with Biometric Scanning that can monitor your heartbeat), but it isn’t the only thing they’re offering. You’ll also get a headset thrown in, and the pretty nifty Xbox Fitness, which can track your weight – AND you can even do the famous Insanity workout.
What about the games?
Exclusive to Xbox One, any motorsport fan can see Forza Motorsport 5 is pretty much as accurate as it gets, complete with astoundingly realistic attention to detail such as reflections from the scenic mountainside on your windshield and dashboard. Jeremy Clarkson will run you through just how good this game is – and as an added bonus you’ll even get to race around Top Gear’s test track with London-themed obstacles to avoid (or knock over). You can be the star in a reasonably priced car!
Although Fifa 14 is available on both the Xbox One and PS4, Microsoft has the edge over Sony here, as you’ll be able to play with 42 footballing legends such as Pelé, Dennis Bergkamp, and Gary Lineker. For some inexplicable reason, they chose not to include Emile Heskey.
Remember when Theme Park was huge in the nineties? Well it’s no Theme Hospital, but Zoo Tycoon takes the role of businessman to a whole new level. Not only can you build attractions, but you can feed the animals, too. Fun, and immensely cute.
Ryse: Son of Rome has received a bit of flack for its repetitive combat but you can’t deny this game looks incredible. Opening with an invasion of barbarians you fend off in the burning city of Ancient Rome, visually, it will wow you from the word go.
And what if I’m not a big gamer?
Microsoft certainly doesn’t want to leave you out. Xbox One aims to be so much more than just a console; they want it to be the social hub of your living room. You can browse the web, and hook up your cable box and watch TV through it, switching between gaming and TV swiftly, and of course you can still watch movies from your Netflix account. It also features built-in Skype.
What if I can’t get enough?
Xbox Live, the multiplayer service, is powered by over 300,000 servers. If you’re a member of Xbox Live Gold (which you need to access streaming services), you will get discounts on various content each week. The Xbox One will hunt for players suited to your ability to play against, and filter out any aggressive players. You can also record gameplay clips for sharing and editing – or simply stream your gameplay via Twitch and let people comment on what you could do better.
If I want to play with real-life friends?
You can login to your account from a friend’s Xbox One and access all your downloadable games.
Any nifty bonuses?
If, like me, you spend half the time searching for the remote and would rather turn over all the cushions on the sofa rather than get up and press a button – you can turn on the Xbox One and log in to your account via voice commands – and the Kinect is supposed to recognise you. You can also simply speak to switch between gaming and TV - it recognised my first three voices commands, so that’s a good start. Though it isn’t perfect just yet.
You can’t play your Xbox 360 games on it. But some stores will offer a trade-in discount if you’ve already bought recent big-hitters on the Xbox 360.
What will I have to look forward to?
If you’ve got the energy, Kinect Sports Rivals is likely to squeeze it out of you, and it’ll be released next year. EA and Respawn Entertainment’s much-hyped upcoming title Titanfall will be exclusive to Xbox One and PC, released in March 2014.
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