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Customer Review

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Depends on Who You Are, December 13, 2013
This review is from: Xbox One + Kinect (Console)
There are two major reasons that I got the Xbone and neither of those reasons are for gaming. For gaming, I still use and will continue to primarily use Steam. Anyways I've broken down my thoughts about the X1 into sections.

[Good]

Kinect:

1) Improved Tracking: A lot of the old Kinect limitations with distance and brightness are now mostly gone.

2) Fitness: Not even the new Wii U can lay claim to this. Steam and PS4 can't do this well either, nor do they really even try. In fact nothing but Xbone can touch this area or further expand on it. Workouts like P90X and Insanity are now integrated with Kinect. Future Kinect features like being able to track your heartbeat just push it further ahead. This is one of the major reasons that I bought the X1.

3) (Future) Children's Apps: Yes there aren't any now, but the Sesame Street series was huge on the 360 Kinect. There are also apps from both Double Fine and Half Brick that were really nice for keeping kid's attention. These apps serve as either educational or great distractions for children which is priceless. (It keeps your kids and even other people's kids from running around your house and breaking things.) I am pretty confident that we'll be seeing more soon. This is the second major reason that I got the Xbone. Again in this area, I don't see either Wii U, PS4, or Steam even trying. Many people will retain their sanity around kids with Kinect.

4) (Far Future) Out of all the cameras, nothing goes better with VR than Kinect. Sadly, MS has no announce VR solution. I know they had a AR solution in the works but I have a feeling that they have to start from scratch now since AR and VR are two very different things. Sony has already announced VR for PS4. Where is MS on this one?!?!

New Controller: I've heard the complaints, but I don't understand why. No it doesn't feel like it cost $100 million dollars to develop (lol this has to be the biggest marketing joke ever). However it is better than the old 360 controllers which were already pretty good. It's also still better than the Wii U's, PS4's controller (even though PS4's has more features), and probably than the Steam Controller (which will probably be worse than all of them).

Silent: Unlike the 360, which sounded like a vacuum cleaner (or a leaf blower when you paired it with extra fans); the Xbox One is silent. It is awesome.

Forza: This is an awesome launch title that really shows off the console. I don't care about Gran Turismo anymore. UPDATE: 3/19 It's nice that it comes for free with the console now. Still if MS wants to keep up, what they really need is a price cut and a future VR solution.

UPDATE: 3/19 Speech Recognition has been greatly improved since the last software update. It seems to work as advertised now.

[Bad]

Xbox Live:

1) (FIXED Summer 2014) Unnecessary Paywall: Outside of games, NOTHING WORKS without an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Crackle, and a ton of services that Microsoft doesn't host are still locked behind the Xbox Live paywall i.e. you have to pay the $60 per year Xbox Live tax to get access to them. X1 is crippled unless you pay Microsoft's $60 yearly extortion fee. I can understand paying for multiplayer and maybe even for the Fitness Hub (eh not really for the fitness apps that you have to pay for), but there's no excuse to extort money for the other stuff. It's free on Apple TV, Roku, Google TV aka Android TV, and even on Wii U and PS4. This really needs to be fixed and is the most broken thing on Xbox One. It's the one biggest ripoff for consoles and it kills the notion of the X1 being the one box for everything. Who in their right mind would pay $60 a year and not just get the same access to Netflix and Amazon for free on the Roku or Apple TV. Aside from the $100 price difference, this will be another huge reason people get the PS4 and I don't blame them.

2) Previously purchased games do not migrate to X1: All the downloadable games, primarily the Live Arcade ones, that I bought for 360 are forever stuck on the 360, a dead box. Compare this to Steam, where a lot of the games I bought I can play on Mac, Linux, and so far on every new version of Windows. My paid Steam games will still work if I ever decide to buy a nice new fancy PC in the future. It's the 21st century and it's now the norm to expect your software purchases to migrate to new hardware. It's not even just Steam, the 800 lb gorillas iOS and Android do it too. If I can help it, I will never purchase downloads from MS again, disc only. In Microsoft's defense PS4 and Wii U don't do this either. This is yet another reason for gamers to go Steam.

3) No point in buying download versions of disc games: The price is about the same and there's no great feature to really differentiate it like Family Share. Oh yeah Family Share is already on Steam. It's in BETA but it's active right now.

Kinect Issues:

1) (FIXED Summer 2014) It adds $100 to the cost. If you heavily rely on Kinect like me, this isn't an issue. However I don't think most gamers will be relying on Kinect any time soon if ever if history is a good predictor of the future. This is the first major reason that people will buy a PS4.

2) Speech recognition works but it's limited, and Kinect doesn't do anything for it. As with the old Kinect, Kinect doesn't actually process the speech, it only acts as a fancy microphone. The actual speech recognition is still done by either the X1 itself or on MS's Azure Cloud, so Kinect doesn't even offload some of the processing for it (so the underpowered X1 does even more work not related to graphics). Technically if you stuck a microphone on the controller, you'd get the same capability, if not better. It also doesn't work well if you have a few people over or a couple of kids in the background. Kinect needs it to be quiet to work well for voice pickup.

3) Use in Gaming: As I've already pointed out, speech recognition doesn't count since Kinect doesn't even process any of the speech. Historically I can't think of any major games that used the Kinect's motion recognition ability in a great way. Why? Because it costs too much for 3rd party developers to really customize for one console as opposed to just having the same game on all of them. Only MS and its subsidiary game developer houses will be able to do it. Sadly even MS itself can't really figure it out, since Kinect games were absent from its E3 presentation. At launch there's only the Wii Sports knockoff and Forza still uses a controller. I predict Kinect will only be used for Dancing games, Fitness apps, and Children's apps and games. Real games will probably not use Kinect's motion detection. UPDATE: 3/19 If MS had a VR solution, Kinect would finally be useful for gaming beyond yet another dancing app.

4) You still need a lot of room for Kinect, just not as much room like the older one needed.

5) Most features like the kids games and even the workout apps aren't here yet. They're not even on the release schedule yet. If you're looking forward to any of that, you'll be waiting about two years.

It doesn't feel Next-Gen in graphics and just in general: PS4 doesn't either. This is apparent with both X1's 720P upscaling limitation and PS4 stuttering at 1080P. My two year old $426 PC with $149 video card does way better in this department in both quality and performance. It also doesn't help that the same games have awesome user created mods for PC. I'd say the major tablets will all catch up in hardware horsepower within three years.

Game Prices: So far nothing beats the prices and the frequency of sales for Steam or GOG on the PC. Getting a new or used game is just so expensive for the consoles and they're the same games as PC. This is the other reason that a lot of people like me will continue to use Steam as their primary gaming platform. Buying games on Steam and GOG (and even Green Man) is just way way cheaper, especially if you just wait one to two months after release.

For all the emphasis MS marketing has put on TV, TV integration isn't great:

1) X1 softens the image. Many people won't notice, but a lot of techies will.

2) X1 automatically outputs stereo, making your fancy surround AV system near useless. The good news is that there will be software fix soon.

3) Speech Recognition is not good: It only recognizes some channels. If you have more than one HBO then you may have issues getting to HBO2 and HBO3. Using the controller to navigate is still easier than using voice. UPDATE: Speech Recognition has been fixed with a recent update. However in many cases, it's still a lot easier to just use a controller to make your selections, especially late at night when everyone else is sleeping.

4) Even if you disable standard definition channels from One Guide, when you use voice commands, it will still take you to the SD version of the channel instead of the HD version of the same channel.

5) (Fixed 2014) Netflix and Amazon Prime videos look horrible: for some reason neither app plays videos in HD. They all stream in SD on Xbox One. Yet on my Apple TV, Roku, and Google TV stream Netflix and Amazon Prime in HD just fine. To add insult to injury, you have to pay Microsoft to be able to access services from other companies that you are already paying for. This isn't acceptable.

Lack of Good Exclusive Launch Titles: Ryse sucks. Dead Rising is so so.

Horsepower: PS4 currently has a slight edge and it's a $100 cheaper. It's really a minor complaint since both machines are pretty weak. What makes it even worse for the X1 is that it does a lot of extra processing that the PS4 doesn't have to do like analyzing your voice with Kinect commands since the Kinect itself doesn't do it.

Slow Load Times: Load times for the launch games are horrible, especially for Forza. It doesn't make any sense since it's reading everything from the hard drive unless it's still doing DRM checks while the game is playing.

Really Slow Install Times: It shouldn't take an hour to install a game from a disc. Why does it take an hour? DRM. For some reason it takes Microsoft an hour to verify that you actually bought the game through the internet which is really annoying. It's faster to download and install games on my PC using Steam.

No Harddrive Upgrade Option: With PS4 you can replace the stock hard drive with anything you want like an SSD. With X1 it's currently not possible to upgrade the hard drive. Even if it were, you'd probably be forced to buy MS's overpriced hard drives.

VR: Microsoft, true next-gen isn't TV integration. True next-gen is VR. PC has one and now even PS4 has a solution coming. Where is VR for Xbox One?!?!

[Misc]

I am lucky: Unlike many PS4 and Xbone owners, my unit seems to be free of defects (at least for now). Then again we'll all know for sure since the defects will surface within two years if they exist.

Do not buy this from Gamestop, especially if it's a ripoff bundle. I'd say it's only smart to buy at Amazon and Costco.

I got X1 for free after a bunch of trade-ins at Gamestop, specifically the ripoff bundle. I would not have gotten this system if I had to pay for it.

[Verdict]

If you just want something for games, I would at least give Steam a look. Upgrading a desktop PC that you already own with a decent graphics card (about $150 - $200) is also way cheaper than either PS4 or X1. Xbox controllers also work on PC. I know that if I was a poor middle school, high school or college kid, Steam would be the best thing since you can get so many games on the cheap (most of the console games except for a few exclusives are on Steam), it works with TVs now (a lot of video cards have HDMI out too), and games on PC look and play better than on X1 or even PS4. Steam also has major sales every quarter, so a problem I have is that I have too many games than I have time to play. Oh yeah unlike PS4 and Xbone, you don't have to pay for multiplayer and you can share games with up to 10 people in your friends list. Steam works on Mac, Windows, and now Linux.

If you're one of the few old people like me who has money to blow, you care about hi-tech fitness, and something to keep little kids occupied and from driving you insane, then the Xbox One is for you.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 13, 2013, 1:31:08 PM PST
I agree with just everything you said but not being able to play 360 games is really not a console limitation but more of a difference in architecture of the games. Same thing for PS4 and why they cannot play PS3 games. It's not the same as PC or Steam games and the OS has the same underlying architecture. But you will also see that some games that were made for Windows XP don't work on Windows 8. I do agree that I wish this was possibile because I have a lot of 360 games but I also think it was something to be expected. Let's just hope that MS comes out with a web service (similar to what Sony is trying to do) that will allow streaming of those games. Then at least that's something. But I'm afraid MS will try to get us to pay to stream those games that we've already bought LOL.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2013, 11:48:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2013, 11:49:31 PM PST
Someone says:
I'm not talking about the AAA games that sold on disc. I'm talking about the Xbox Live Arcade games. They aren't as resource intensive and most likely they were written in C# and not C++. The X1 already has two virtual machines running. I don't see why they didn't have one that could run XBLA games. Technical details aside it really doesn't matter. The end result is that I have a lot of games trapped in a dead box. It's the 21st century and it's now the norm to expect your software purchases to migrate to new hardware. It's not just Steam, the 800 lb gorillas iOS and Android do it too. If I can help it, I will never purchase downloads from MS again.

"Same thing for PS4 and why they cannot play PS3 games."

Historically Sony just sucks at software. Whether it's running a service, providing dev tools, or the OS itself; Sony just barely gets it done. So yes Sony can't do it. Well Microsoft isn't Sony.

" Let's just hope that MS comes out with a web service (similar to what Sony is trying to do) that will allow streaming of those games."

I'm going on a tangent, but both MS's Azure cloud and Sony's Gaikai are just marketing pipe dreams that aren't really sustainable in reality, especially for streaming games. I looked into and unless both companies have some secret, the bandwidth costs alone will be horrible. Another thing that makes it not feasible is that right now you need one server per player.
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