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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Here are some of the biggest brands to appear only on the Xbox One;
|Forza Motorsport||Gears of War||Perfect Dark||Re:Core|
|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|
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.
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.
|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.|
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|47||Destiny: The Taken King||2015||Shooter||Activision||0.46|
|48||Kinect Sports Rivals||2014||Sports||Microsoft Game Studios||0.45|
|Grand Theft Auto V||97||2014|
|Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain||95||2015|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||91||2015|
|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|
|Minecraft: Xbox One Edition||88||2014|
|Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition||88||2014|
|Ori and the Blind Forest||88||2015|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||87||2014|
|Forza Motorsport 6||87||2015|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||87||2015|
|DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition||86||2015|
|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|
|Halo 5: Guardians||84||2015|
|Madden NFL 16||84||2015|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops III||83||2015|
|Castle Crashers Remastered||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|
|Tales From The Borderlands: Episode One - Zer0 Sum||82||2014|
|Far Cry 4||82||2014|
|Resident Evil HD Remaster||82||2015|
|So Many Me||82||2015|