Microsoft hasn’t released a game console since the Xbox 360 arrived in 2005, and a lot has changed in the world of gaming in the past eight years.
If you’re still deciding whether to buy a console, or if you’ve made a choice and still want more information, we want to break down some interesting facts about the Xbox One for you right here, right now.
1. What’s in the Box?
The Xbox One console comes with an Xbox One controller, Kinect camera, HDMI cable, power cable and power brick. It also comes with a chat headset, which Microsoft almost left out, for a grand total of $499.
The Xbox One, like the PlayStation 4, only works through HDMI. Unlike the PS4, which has an internal power supply, you’ll need space on your shelf for the One’s power brick.
2. Day-One Update
The Xbox One will require at least one day-one update to play. Gamers must get the patch before doing anything else with the console.
Microsoft has not commented on the size of the patch, only that it will probably be a “15 to 20 minute download.”
3. Digital Downloads and Storage
Gamers can purchase nearly all Xbox One titles digitally on the release date. Microsoft confirmed the Xbox One can interface with external hard drives to boost its internal 500 gigs of storage, an ability that will be unlocked with a patch download eventually, the company said.
4. 21 Games Available at Launch
There will be 21 games available to purchase either in stores or digitally on Nov. 22 when the console launches in North America. Some of those games are console exclusives published by Microsoft: Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Crimson Dragon. Two Microsoft-published titles, Lococycle and Killer Instinct, are digital only.
The cross-platform blockbuster titles available on the One include Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Skylanders: Swap Force, Need for Speed: Rivals, Just Dance 4, Lego Marvel Super Heroes and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Sports fans will get plenty as well, with Madden 25, NBA 2K14, Fifa 14 and NBA Live 14 available at launch.
Other titles include Zumba Fitness World Party, Fighter Within, Powerstar Golf, and Zoo Tycoon.
5. Cable Box Integration
The Xbox One has an HDMI in, so you can plug in your cable box and run your TV experience through the console. This will allow players to quickly switch between games, live TV and other on-demand entertainment through the One, and even run separate activities on the side.
The console has its own programming guide, called OneGuide, which supersedes your cable provider’s setup. It allows you to favorite your top channels and use Kinect voice commands to access them quickly. Certain apps will also tie into OneGuide, allowing you to view your Hulu Plus queue along with live TV.
One caveat: To watch TV, your Xbox One must be on.
6. The Kinect Has New Tricks Up Its Sleeve
The Xbox team has stressed that the motion-capturing camera Kinect, which is bundled with every Xbox One, is a much more sophisticated device than its predecessor. The camera can see a lot more of what is happening in the room; it can sense the number of people, see their skeletons, monitor heartbeats and even recognize faces.
The Kinect will now be able to log players in to Xbox Live as soon as they come into view, even logging multiple people onto one console. It also knows who is giving orders and can tailor its requests to the speaker.
Some of the Kinect’s advanced features will be on display in the Xbox One’s built-in Xbox Fitness app, which can monitor not only the body’s pose, but also weight distribution and exertion. The app boasts workouts from well-known trainers, including Shaun T’s Insanity workout, and each segment provides feedback based on the player’s performance.
7. The Dashboard Comes With You
The Xbox One dashboard is more closely associated with your Gamertag than ever. Players customize the color scheme of their dashboards, along with up to 25 pins — apps, games, shows or movies they want to easily access.
The customization comes in handy when you visit friends, as the dashboard will appear on any Xbox One you signed into or any instance of SmartGlass you run on a smartphone or tablet.
8. Xbox One Is Better for Windows 8 Users
It’s no secret that Microsoft has been positioning the Xbox to have a closer relationship with its desktop and tablet operating system. If you have Windows 8 devices at home, you’ll get more out of your Xbox One when it comes to media sharing.
Xbox One has a SkyDrive app that can bring your pictures and videos easily over to the console. While the app can work on all operating systems, Windows 8.1 has the cloud storage app integrated into the Metro dashboard. Microsoft provides seven gigs of storage for free, and users can even view their photos and videos in the Xbox OneGuide.
The other Windows-only benefit is a service called “play to,” which allows users to stream video and music directly to the Xbox One from Windows machines on the same network. These are the only media server capabilities available on the Xbox One, and they are definitely more restricted than previous consoles.
9. Video Chat With Skype
The Xbox One has Skype built in natively, thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of the company. You can receive calls via audio or video while playing a game or watching TV. You can also answer with the Kinect.
Skype uses the Kinect camera for video calls, too. Although the Kinect cannot pan and zoom manually, it can digitally zoom in and pan out as it follows your body on screen. It will even widen the shot as more people enter the frame.
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