Can the new console wars start?
November 21, 2013
After many months of waiting, and a week after the PlayStation 4’s release, the Xbox One from Microsoft is now getting into the grubby hands of gamers around the world. Were you lucky enough to reserve one?
While there will surely be baggy-eyed and sloth-like customers from the midnight launch, as an adult, it’s definitely the better decision to have gotten a full-night’s sleep in a warm cozy bed and pick up the new console in the morning or right after work (let’s face it, there’s going to be a lot of people calling in “sick” today). So coming in at $499 as system, what does the Xbox One offer?
Hardware-wise, a Blu-ray player is standard in the Xbox One, although without 3-D support for the time being. The system also sports a 500 GB hard drive for game installations, beefy CPU and GPU hardware to play the next-gen games, and of course a bevy of USB and other inputs. One of the neatest features we discovered is not only does the Xbox One have an HDMI output, but also an input. This input allows customers plug in their cable box to the Xbox One to pair up with it, their Xbox 360, or if they’re feeling cheeky, a PlayStation 3 or 4. It’s been noted that the image quality through this HDMI pass-through is top-notch, but there can be some input delay.
All that tech that’s stuffed into the large Xbox One is nothing if there’s no games to play on it, right? While there is the standard Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, and Assassin’s Creed IV available (for both consoles), the Xbox One has a strong draw on the exclusives right out the gate at launch. There’s the third-person zombie-fest of Dead Rising 3, a racing enthusiast’s dream in Forza Motorsport 5, and even the classic fighter Killer Instinct makes a return amongst the cast of exclusives. We’ll also most likely see a Halo release on the Xbox One as an exclusive down the line.
Coming standard with the Xbox One is the newly-updated Kinect 2.0, which with its advanced camera and software can detect and differentiate six different people within view. It can also detect a player’s heartbeat, facial expression, individual joints, and more. The improvements from its predecessor allow it to see better in the dark and have a larger field of view: no more having everyone get awkwardly close for those party games. For those that were worried about earlier reports that the Xbox One wouldn’t function without the Kinect being plugged in and “watching”, you can breathe a sigh of release. It’s not required to be plugged in for the Xbox One to operate.
Now not all launches are perfect. The PlayStation 4 is experiencing overheating problems, leading to a “blue light of death” that will give some early Xbox 360 owners flashbacks to the horrid “red ring of death” on their consoles. The Xbox One is facing some nasty teething issues: disk drives are jamming or chewing up disks, which can lead to a nasty coffee grinder noise. But what should one expect from first edition consoles? In due time both will function correctly.