Everything you need to know about Xbox One

Trying to choose the right gaming console for you and your family? You'll find everything you need to know about Microsoft's Xbox One console right here.

Last updated:

Untitled design (8)

What is The Xbox One?

Despite its name, The Xbox One is the third machine from Microsoft following the Xbox (2001), and the Xbox 360 (2005).

The term "One" was chosen as Microsoft believed it to define the console as being your "one" entertainment solution, providing film, music, internet, apps and other multimedia features beyond simply gaming.

Latest Xbox headlines

The console began rolling out globally from November 22, 2013, and as of its second birthday there were 450 games available for the Xbox One, although this figure includes 104 backwards compatible titles.

Despite initial plans to make it mandatory, the Xbox One does not require an internet connection to work. However a number of the smaller titles available for the console are only downloadable through the Xbox Store.

An important new feature on the Xbox One - which wasn't present on the Xbox 360 - is a Blu-ray drive. The Blu-ray drive allows the console to run bigger games from a single disc as well as playing DVDs and Blu-ray films.

What are the Xbox One's main competitors?

The Xbox One's direct competitor is the Sony PlayStation 4.

Outside of exclusives made, primarily, by first-party developers (studios that work for the manufacturer), both systems tend to get the same library of games at the same time.

The PC is also a competitor but is generally played from a desk rather than a couch or beanbag, which makes for a different kind of experience. The PC also tends to receive many of the games later than the PS4 and Xbox One – often months later.

The Nintendo Wii U is another key player in the console space. However its limited hardware power, focus on Nintendo's own exclusive games over large third party brands (Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto, etc.), and targeting of the family demographic sees it considered by many to be running its own race.

What Type of Games are Available on the Xbox One?

The Xbox One's catalogue of games is primarily targeted at adult males, with a heavy emphasis on racing, sports, action, RPGs and shooters. There is also a focus on online play, with a number of key titles not offering offline multiplayer at all. Many developers argue that they can create a better visual experience and faster frame-rate (which improves the feel of gameplay) by not opting for split-screen multiplayer.

In comparison to its main rival, the PS4, the Xbox One offers less variety of games, less exclusives from Xbox owned or affiliated developers, and less downloadable titles from independent developers.

In its favour, however, is the Kinect device, currently the best motion and voice control device in gaming. Also in the plus column, Microsoft provides dedicated servers to provide more reliable online play. If you’re especially keen the Xbox One Elite Controller (sold separately to the console itself) is widely considered to be the best controller in gaming history.

What are the Unique Features of the Xbox One

Unlike previous console generations, in raw power, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles are more-or-less like for like.
Instead the consoles mainly differentiate themselves through their catalogue of available games and user features. Here are the most notable breakaway features of the Xbox One.

  • The Kinect device allows for hands-free motion-controlled gaming, face recognition for signing in to your profile and voice commands.
  • The Xbox One has pass-through capabilities for TV viewing. This feature allows you to run a service like Foxtel through your Xbox One to your TV, which means you can switch between gaming and viewing in an instant.
  • The Xbox "snap" feature allows you to have more than one viewable screen open on your Xbox One simultaneously. You can be playing a game in one window, while having a website open, or a Skype call, or Twitch stream, or even Live TV, playing in the other.
  • The November 2015 dashboard update brought backwards compatibility to the Xbox One. This allows you to play selected Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One. Not all titles from the existing Xbox 360 library work, with 104 available at launch and more rolling out over time.
  • Xbox provides Skype call integration.
  • You can play an Xbox One on a PC or laptop that is running Windows 10. The Xbox App for PC connects to your Xbox One and streams the content across over your Wi-Fi network. It's called Remote Play, and you can connect an Xbox One controller to your PC so you can play your games as you normally would.

What Are the Best Xbox One Exclusive Game Series?

Here are some of the biggest brands to appear only on the Xbox One;

Forza Motorsport Gears of War Perfect Dark Re:Core
Halo Fable Project Spark Ryse
Crackdown Dance Central Sea of Thieves Sunset Overdrive
Quantum Break Killer Instinct Scalebound Titanfall
Viva Piñata Banjo-Kazooie Alan Wake Zoo Tycoon
Dead Rising Rise of the Tomb Raider Dance Central Condemned
Too Human Ori and The Blind Forest

What is the ideal gaming setup for an Xbox One?

The Xbox One is a high performance console and should be paired with a large Full HD or 4K flatscreen TV. To make the most of the experience, a 7.1 channel sound system or headset is recommended.

While not strictly required, an internet connection is recommended. You want as low a ping as possible (definitely less than 40ms) and if you plan to buy a lot of large games online or stream your play through services like Twitch, you will definitely benefit from a fast internet speed. You will need a significant download quota, too, as large patches, game purchases and downloadable content can take upwards of 100GB per month.

You may also need to invest in an external hard-drive around one year into the console's lifespan. The internal hard-drive on the core model is limited to just under 400GB of useable space, and every game must be installed to play.

Games frequently require between 20 and 50GB of space, so after 10 games you will need to begin deleting old-favourites to make space, which isn't particularly user-friendly. Any USB 3.0 external hard-drive can function as a storage extender, but be mindful that some hard-drives require their own power supply, which can be tricky to find plug space for once everything is plugged in behind your TV.

The newer model Xbox One comes with a 1TB internal hard-drive - for the reasons listed above, this is a significantly better option if it is available to you.

Xbox One Buyer's Guide

There are a number of different versions of the Xbox One console available (termed SKUs), each iterating on the last to get closer to meeting the market's demands, but also to enhance the device as technology improves.

Originally, you had to have a Kinect device connected to the Xbox One for it to work, but that limitation has since been removed. When shopping for any new console, compare the various retailers for bundle offers. While there are occasionally official, themed spin-offs to the console, retailers will also make their own bundles that include different games to sweeten the deal.

Here are the core differences between the retail Xbox One SKUs.

Model Features
Xbox One 500GB The stock standard console
Xbox One 500GB with Kinect The stock standard console with the Kinect device
Xbox One 1TB Double the internal hard-drive space, a matte finish and improved Xbox One controller with headphone jack.
Xbox One 1TB Elite Bundle Comes with a solid state hybrid drive for faster installs and game loads and Elite Controller.
Xbox One 1TB Console - Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition Bundle Everything included in the 1TB model with a Halo 5: Guardians-themed casing.
Xbox One 1TB Console - Forza 6 Limited Edition Bundle Everything included in the 1TB model with a Forza 6 themed casing.

Is the Xbox One good for kids?

The Xbox One isn't aimed at a young demographic, and while there are some notable games available for younger players such as Minecraft, Viva Piñata, the Lego series, the Rayman series and Screamride, more consistently it delivers on mature content for those aged 15 and above.

For children under 10 we recommend the Wii U, and for those aged 10 to 15 we recommend the PlayStation 4, which has a wider variety of crossover games for kids entering their teenage years.

What Are The Best Selling Games on Xbox One?

Rank Game Year Genre Publisher Global Sales Millions
1 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 2014 Shooter Activision 4.73
2 Grand Theft Auto V 2014 Action Take-Two Interactive 3.35
3 Assassin's Creed: Unity 2014 Action Ubisoft 3.06
4 Destiny 2014 Shooter Activision 3
5 Titanfall 2014 Shooter Electronic Arts 2.7
6 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 2015 Shooter Activision 2.67
7 Halo: The Master Chief Collection 2014 Shooter Microsoft Game Studios 2.66
8 Call of Duty: Ghosts 2013 Shooter Activision 2.6
9 Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag 2013 Action Ubisoft 2.11
10 Forza Motorsport 5 2013 Racing Microsoft Game Studios 2.04
11 FIFA 15 2014 Sports Electronic Arts 1.99
12 Battlefield 4 2013 Shooter Electronic Arts 1.8
13 Halo 5: Guardians 2015 Shooter Microsoft Game Studios 1.77
14 FIFA 16 2015 Sports Electronic Arts 1.49
15 NBA 2K15 2014 Sports Take-Two Interactive 1.47
16 Dead Rising 3 2013 Action Microsoft Game Studios 1.41
17 Watch Dogs 2014 Action Ubisoft 1.4
18 Madden NFL 15 2014 Sports Electronic Arts 1.37
19 Minecraft 2014 Misc Microsoft Game Studios 1.32
20 Far Cry 4 2014 Shooter Ubisoft 1.29
21 Fallout 4 2015 Role-Playing Bethesda Softworks 1.27
22 Ryse: Son of Rome 2013 Action Microsoft Game Studios 1.24
23 FIFA 14 2013 Sports Electronic Arts 1.15
24 Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor 2014 Action Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 1.1
25 Forza Horizon 2 2014 Racing Microsoft Game Studios 1.08
26 Madden NFL 16 2015 Sports Electronic Arts 1.04
27 Batman: Arkham Knight 2015 Action Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 1.03
28 Battlefield: Hardline 2015 Shooter Electronic Arts 1
29 Mortal Kombat X 2015 Fighting Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 0.95
30 The Elder Scrolls Online 2015 Role-Playing Bethesda Softworks 0.93
31 Sunset Overdrive 2014 Shooter Microsoft Game Studios 0.87
32 NBA 2K16 2015 Sports Take-Two Interactive 0.87
33 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 2015 Role-Playing Namco Bandai Games 0.84
34 NBA 2K14 2013 Sports Take-Two Interactive 0.8
35 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2013 Action Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 0.76
36 Dragon Age: Inquisition 2014 Role-Playing Electronic Arts 0.74
37 Madden NFL 25 2013 Sports Electronic Arts 0.71
38 Need for Speed Rivals 2013 Racing Electronic Arts 0.59
39 The Evil Within 2014 Action Bethesda Softworks 0.57
40 Wolfenstein: The New Order 2014 Shooter Bethesda Softworks 0.57
41 Forza Motorsport 6 2015 Racing Unknown 0.55
42 Dying Light 2015 Action Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 0.53
43 Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2014 Shooter Electronic Arts 0.49
44 Gears of War: Ultimate Edition 2015 Shooter Microsoft Game Studios 0.48
45 WWE 2K15 2014 Sports Take-Two Interactive 0.48
46 The Crew 2014 Racing Ubisoft 0.47
47 Destiny: The Taken King 2015 Shooter Activision 0.46
48 Kinect Sports Rivals 2014 Sports Microsoft Game Studios 0.45
49 Diablo III 2014 Role-Playing Activision 0.41
50 Evolve 2015 Shooter Take-Two Interactive 0.41

What Are The Most Critically Acclaimed Games on Xbox One?

Game Metacritic Score Year
Grand Theft Auto V 97 2014
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 95 2015
The Swapper 92 2015
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 91 2015
Rayman Legends 91 2014
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition 90 2015
Destiny: The Taken King 90 2015
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin 89 2015
Game of Thrones: Episode Six - The Ice Dragon 89 2015
FIFA 14 88 2013
Minecraft: Xbox One Edition 88 2014
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition 88 2014
Ori and the Blind Forest 88 2015
Fallout 4 88 2015
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 87 2014
Forza Motorsport 6 87 2015
Rise of the Tomb Raider 87 2015
Shovel Knight 86 2015
NBA 2K14 86 2013
DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition 86 2015
NBA 2K16 86 2015
Titanfall 86 2014
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition 86 2014
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - New 'n' Tasty 86 2015
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition 86 2014
Forza Horizon 2 86 2014
Mortal Kombat X 86 2015
Pinball FX 2 85 2014
Killer Instinct Season 2 85 2014
Batman: Arkham Knight 85 2015
Dragon Age: Inquisition 85 2014
Halo: The Master Chief Collection 85 2014
Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 85 2015
LIMBO 85 2014
Velocity 2X 84 2015
Halo 5: Guardians 84 2015
Rare Replay 84 2015
Terraria 84 2014
Madden NFL 16 84 2015
FIFA 16 84 2015
Metro Redux 84 2014
Rogue Legacy 84 2015
SteamWorld Dig 83 2015
Call of Duty: Black Ops III 83 2015
Castle Crashers Remastered 83 2015
Quiplash 83 2015
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition 82 2015
Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones 82 2015
Child of Light 82 2014
Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island 82 2014
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions 82 2014
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime 82 2015
FIFA 15 82 2014
Tales From The Borderlands: Episode One - Zer0 Sum 82 2014
NBA 2K15 82 2014
Far Cry 4 82 2014
Resident Evil HD Remaster 82 2015
So Many Me 82 2015

Latest gaming deals on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site