The first thing you should know is that I put away my Harmony remote, on the day of launch, to see if there was any point that I would have to retrieve it. I haven’t had to use it yet, and it seems like it’s officially retired.
The combination of voice and quick response has made using the Xbox One a pleasure. Gone is the ‘get a drink’ mentality when using the Xbox 360. You know, you start up an app then you go to the bathroom or replenish your beer supply. When you return the title screen has come up and you can finally engage with your app.
With the Xbox One, you are able to start up your app practically immediately, If you want that beer or bathroom break, your best bet is to pause the game (the way God intended).
Another cool thing is WiFi Direct. I gushed about this technology early on, but after using it in the context of SmartGlass on my Surface Pro, I have to say that it is one of the best thing to happen to second screen experiences. To keep with that formula of speed, my Surface Pro connected to my Xbox One (named ShinChan, don’t ask!) almost immediately. Now I just need a better Xbox Music SmartGlass experience.
Speaking of which, why is every new version of Xbox Music a return to the 1.0 days? The version on Xbox One has no music videos and a now playing screen that looks more like Last.FM than the colorful collage that was Xbox Music on the 360 or even Zune. It’s getting tiresome that new versions of Xbox Music feel like they’re starting over, rather than taking the baton that was handed to them and running with it.
Another problem I have with Xbox One is that I can’t see how much storage I have left on the console. I understand that there’s some auto management involved, but I would still like to know how much space I have left so that can help me gauge what may happen when I go to download new games or applications. Let’s not forget new games and apps are coming in with much higher space requirements than that some content requires on Xbox 360.
Things you’ve seen in other reviews hold up here: Login is quick and responsive, the menus are a bit dense, but nothing that voice couldn’t help with, downloads are gigantic and slow, games are crisp, high resolution and fast, connecting your cable TV to this thing is a Godsend, the IR blasting that Kinect does is actually easy to deal with, and I realized that some of the apps on the Xbox 360 I miss having on Xbox One (namely HBO Go, PBS, and NBC News).
The Game DVR is awesome. I managed to record an awesome goal in FIFA 14 (a spectacular game, by the way) and save it to both SkyDrive and my Game Clips area, for my friends to see. It’s a great way to finally show people those awesome moments you have in games. Plus, by allowing you to record yourself narrating the scene you can now poke a dig at the old way of things where you told the story and people didn’t believe you.
If you’re new to using Xbox One (which would be almost everyone at this point) the team did a fantastic job of adding several videos that show you around the console, the services you can download and use, voice commands, and more. It’s a fantastic introduction to getting the most out of the console and is exactly what should’ve been done when Windows 8 originally shipped. What you have here is a huge change from using the Xbox 360, right now to the buttons on the controller. So having all of these quick video tips at your disposal is an awesome resource for users as they adjust to this device.
Finally, let me say that the way that the Xbox One was originally intended; you know where you bought a disc, installed it and never needed the disc again would’ve been a wonderful addition to this console. I purchase FIFA 14 from a GameStop and now I just leave the disc in there. We are headed to a digital age where people were going to rely on downloads, but we had to screw with it an now we have to rely on disc cases, swapping BluRays and getting our lazy asses off the couch.
If I start heading around the net and see people massively complain about having to swap discs on an Xbox One, especially since the console is installing the entire game to the hard drive, I’m gonna scream. Gamers caused this, so gamers need to deal with the consequences of it. I just hope that for the first major update, they are able to at least reintroduce that functionality.
Overall, the Xbox One is a great console and is living up to its promise of being the center of the entertainment system. Although, it actually sits below the TV and to the left of the cable box, not exactly in the center of anything. I’m getting more adjusted to using my voice for control and it’s becoming very natural. It makes things snappier, easier, and more enjoyable to use.
This is a fantastic start for Xbox One, and I’m already looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the weeks and months ahead… oh who am I kidding? I’m looking forward mostly to Watch Dogs and Titanfall.