5 reasons you should buy an Xbox One today (and 5 reasons to wait a while)
22nd Nov 2013 | 10:01
Being an early adopter is a joy and a pain
5 reasons to buy an Xbox One today
Eight years after the launch of the Xbox 360, the next-gen Xbox One is finally here, promising more power, superior multimedia mastery and games that will blow your mind with levels of unprecedented detail.
Forza Motorsport 5 and Dead Rising 3 are astonishing. And there's the prospect of Titanfall, Watch Dogs and Halo 5 in the future.
But should you buy an Xbox One now? Or should you wait? There are good reasons to support both options... let's start with the reasons to buy today.
1. The Xbox One is a superior media hub
While Sony has stripped out many of the PS3's digital talents to focus the PlayStation 4 on gaming, the Xbox One improves its all-round media mastery. It has a bigger line-up of apps compared to the PS4, including Netflix, Lovefilm and 4OD - BBC iPlayer and Sky apps are in the pipeline for 2014.
The new Xbox dashboard also includes Skype, which uses the bundled Kinect Sensor, and an improved version of Internet Explorer. You can 'snap' apps side-by-side too. Crucially, however, the HDMI input on the back of the machine enables you to connect another video source (like a cable or satellite box) and switch seamlessly between gaming and live TV. No channel-flipping required.
2. Every Xbox One includes a Kinect sensor
By including a Kinect sensor as standard with the Xbox One, it gives Microsoft's console several advantages. It gives developers a reason to include motion functionality in their games and to create more innovative games for Microsoft's system.
While Kinect for Xbox 360 was impressive, the Xbox One version benefits from an increased 1080p resolution and a wide-angle view. Consequently, it works better in lower lighting conditions, tracks movement with scary precision, recognises faces, and boasts improved voice and gesture control. Expect a slew of Nintendo Wii-style party games to take advantage of the Kinect 2 post-launch.
3. The Xbox One has the best games line-up
Yes. A statement like this is subjective. But there's no denying that the Xbox One has a strong roster of launch day games. While you can play FIFA 14, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Battlefield 4 on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4, the Xbox One is the only place that you can get Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3. These games plug into the proven Xbox Live platform, now bolstered by Microsoft's new cloud computing servers to give games an extra performance boost.
4. The Xbox One uses cloud computing power
A lot has been said about the relative power of Microsoft and Sony's consoles. On paper, Sony's PlayStation 4 seems to be the more powerful of the two and the Xbox One's inability to render Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4 natively at 1080p has grabbed the headlines.
But it's not a straight hardware fight. With a new $700 million data center in Iowa, Microsoft is supporting the Xbox One with over 300,000 cloud servers, which can host persistent processor tasks (like AI and lighting) to free up resources on local CPU cores. In the long run, with a connected Xbox One, the perceived performance difference between the new Xbox and the PS4 should be marginal.
5. The Xbox One loves your smartphone and tablet
You don't need to own a Microsoft phone or Windows 8 tablet to add a second screen to the Xbox One. While the new Xbox One SmartGlass app was initially available for Windows Phone devices, SmartGlass will also support iOS and Android by the time the Xbox One launches, turning iPads, iPhones, Hudls and Samsung Galaxy Tabs into connected companion devices.
SmartGlass for Xbox One will support multiple connections too, allow you to view game clips, handle matchmaking and make it easier to chat with your friends or surf the web on your TV.
5 Reasons to wait before buying an Xbox One...
1. There's still life in the old Xbox 360
Before you rush out to order an Xbox One, consider this. The current Xbox 360 still has much to give - just take a look at the incredible and mesmerizing GTA V, which isn't available on either of the next-gen platforms. (Yet).
It's also worth noting that many of the games that are available for the Xbox One are also available (or incoming for) the 360 - Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, FIFA 14 and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag to name but four. Heck, even Titanfall is actually a Microsoft exclusive rather than an Xbox One exclusive. You'll be able to play it on the Xbox 360 in 2014.
2. The best Xbox One games aren't out yet
While exclusive titles like Dead Rising 3 and Forza 5 aren't available for the Xbox 360, the best Xbox One games are surely yet to come. Think Watch Dogs, Below and Destiny, Project Spark, Sunset Overdrive and Halo 5. Launch games are quickly forgotten and we'll get a better idea of the Xbox One's potential in six months from now, when delayed games have been released and new franchises (Gears of War for Xbox One, anybody?) have been revealed. Even jetpack shooter Titanfall has been delayed until March 2014.
3. The Xbox One is pricey
At $500/£429 for the basic console pack, the Xbox One is a fair whack more expensive than the PlayStation 4. That's a lot of money, especially when you consider that the Xbox 360 launched at a far more affordable price back in 2005. By not jumping in as an early adopter, you probably won't pay full price or be forced into buying a more expensive console bundle because all of the standalone machines have sold out.
While the Xbox 360 didn't get its price reduced until 20 months after launch, Sony dropped the high RRP of the PlayStation 3 a mere seven months after its debut. Don't rule out an Xbox One price cut in the summer of 2014.
4. Never buy version 1 of anything
Microsoft knows only too well that it's hard to launch a new console without encountering a few problems - the infamous Xbox 360 'red ring of death' claimed many a launch machine before newer and cooler versions of the hardware managed to eliminate it.
Sony too has suffered 'blue light of death' syndrome with a tiny number of launch day PS4s. So sit back. Wait a while. The first version of any complex technology product is often plagued with frustrating niggles, bugs, quirks and missing features - the UK version of the TV Guide won't be up and running until 2014. Consider Apple's original iPhone, which launched without 3G connectivity, video recording and an LED flash. It will take time to bang the Xbox One into shape.
5. The next-gen console war is just beginning…
Which console is better? The Xbox One or the PS4? You can't judge a new system on the first version of a console's software and the handful of games that developers rushed out to meet its launch date. Ask the question again in six months time. Or better still, ask it in a year's time, after cool new features have been added, delayed games have finally been released, and brand new titles have been announced at CES and E3. Only then will we get a true idea of which console has its nose out in front, what their limitations are, what has captured consumers' imagination and what hasn't.
Are you buying an Xbox One as soon as you can get your hands on one? Or do you plan to wait? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Need more Microsoft? Maybe this awesome Xbox One smartphone render (yes, you read correctly) will please your peepers: