It would be quite the understatement to say Microsoft has turned some gamers off with the Xbox One. Between constantly harping on about the system’s TV features and trying to push always-online DRM on the public, Microsoft’s approach to the system has put a sour taste in a lot of mouths.
That said, the Xbox One arriving on store shelves this Friday isn’t exactly the same machine Microsoft announced back in May, and despite the bad press, the console has a number of things going for it. Dan already laid out why you should wait on the system, so here’s a few reasons to throw caution to the wind and take the Xbox One plunge…
Microsoft Has Dropped All It’s Most Controversial Xbox One Policies
All that stuff that made you so mad earlier this year? The always-online requirement, the blocking of used games, the machine not working unless Kinect was turned on — all that stuff has been thrown on the scrap heap.
Granted, Microsoft has only changed their policies, not their hardware — the Xbox One is probably still capable of doing all those things, but doing a double reversal would be PR suicide, so don’t expect Microsoft to start randomly blocking used games a year down the road or anything.
You Might Learn To Like Its TV Features
Listen, I understand — Microsoft going on and on and on about TV stuff while barely mentioning games when it first unveiled the Xbox One was infuriating. I never wanted to hear the words “Xbox” and “TV” in the same sentence again after that.
That said, get past that initial knee-jerk “ARGH! I JUST WANT MY CONSOLE TO PLAY GAMES!!!” reaction and you might find the Xbox One surprisingly useful. I mean, who really likes their DVR? Anybody? You take whatever the cable company will give you, and usually it sucks. Who likes awkwardly switching between the half-dozen things you have hooked up to your TV? Want to switch from playing a game to watching a TV or movie? Power down the Xbox with one controller, find the remote for the cable box or DVD player and turn that on separately, pick up a third remote and change the video-input on the TV — it’s a pain in the ass.
With Xbox One you could be playing a video game, pause it, switch to watching your show that just came on, then switch to watching old episodes of that show on Netflix then return to your game, un-pause it and keep playing. All seamless. Hell, you can do it all with just your voice if you want — no fussing with remotes. That is pretty cool, admit it.
Yeah, you have to pay $5 a month for Xbox Live Gold, but Microsoft has always operated under the “pay a little, but get online features that actually work” philosophy. Xbox One will carry on everything you like about Xbox Live while introducing some improvements, including a new feed that will let you track your friends in real time, and a streamlined friend-ing system.
There’s More To Play On It Than The PS4
Sony may be touting the PS4 as “The Gamer’s Machine”, but they sure didn’t deliver a lot of good games at launch. By comparison the Xbox One has a pretty damn good line-up. Dead Rising 3 and Forza 5 are both good and even the somewhat sketchy-looking Ryse: Son of Rome is picking up some solid reviews. Just, uh, avoid LocoCycle.
There Will Probably Be More To Play On It For A While
The Xbox One’s 2014 line-up also looks better than the PS4’s. Sony has Driveclub and a new InFamous on the way, while Microsoft has possibly the next Call of Duty in Titanfall, the interesting looking D4 and the promise of a new Halo.
The Bottom Line
It can be hard to look past the terrible job Microsoft did unveiling their latest system, but once you do, you might be surprised by how much you like what you see. The Xbox One beats the Playstation 4 when it comes to quality exclusives, it’s media hub features look surprisingly useful, and Microsoft has backtracked on almost all their offensive requirements and restrictions.
The Xbox One isn’t going to be for everyone, but it might be for the busy older gamer who needs a little streamlining in their life, or the family that likes the novelty of Kinect or hell, just the guy who wants to play the next Halo. Any of those sound like you? Then you might want to give the Xbox One a chance.