– Ben Martens

Xbox One

When the original Xbox came out, I was in college and couldn’t afford one. I’d never owned a game system in my life so it wasn’t a huge deal. I ended up winning one in a programming contest. When the Xbox 360 came out, I tried for weeks and weeks to find one in stock and finally did. I played that thing a LOT. When the Xbox One came out last fall, I was intrigued but with a new baby in the house, I had zero time to game. Well I still have zero time to game, but I recently picked up an Xbox One. I’ve only spent a half dozen hours or so playing it (Forza 5 of course), but it’s a nice device. Here are some of the key things I enjoy:

  • Kinect v2 – I never bought the first Kinect because I didn’t think it worked that well, but this new one works much better than the first one.
  • Voice – You can do a lot with voice commands through the Kinect. It remains to be seen how much I’ll actually use this but the geek in me is impressed with how well it works.
  • Sign In – Kinect recognizes who you are and signs you in to your gamertag.
  • Visuals – Graphics are obviously way better than the 360 but the difference isn’t as big as the leap in the previous generation (or at least it’s less noticeable.)
  • Xbox OS – The UI is a lot nicer and there’s actually a good OS behind it all. By that I mean that you can run two apps at the same time and have one snapped to the side of the screen. So for example you could have Skype open on the side while you’re playing a game, but you couldn’t run two games at the same time of course.
  • Digital Downloads – You can still buy discs but every single game is available as a download. Even though the game might take a long time to download, you can start playing it after just a few minutes. Prices are the same as if you bought discs. The advantage is that you never have to get up and swap discs! But you also lose out on reselling the game.

The biggest complaint I have (and I know I’m in the minority) is that the Xbox One doesn’t have a Windows Media Center extender application. That’s how I distribute TV around my house so I’ll need to keep an Xbox360 hooked up to each TV. I was hoping to replace one of them with the new Xbox One.

It’s an expensive toy, but if you’re a gamer, it’s a solid purchase.