Here are four things you need to know about Xbox One.
Getting a One will be tough. Just like PS4, the Xbox One will be a difficult device to find on store shelves. The websites for retailers Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop and Target are all sold out, and stores are expected to have limited quantities available at brick-and-mortar locations.
Meanwhile, if you really must have an Xbox One, there's always eBay. But prepare to shell out more cash. Based on the auctions hosted at the online marketplace, the consoles are fetching bids as high as $700.
However, Xbox One has some stiff competition. The $399 PlayStation 4 has already topped 1 million in sales.
What's in the box? For those users who secured an Xbox One, an initial update is required to use Xbox Live, the console's online service. The console comes packed with a 500 GB hard drive, a Kinect sensor, one controller and HDMI plug. The console accepts two HDMI inputs: one to connect to a cable or satellite TV set-top box, and a second that goes straight into the TV.
As for content, there are more than 20 games available, and arguably a more diverse mix compared to PS4 at launch. There are racing games like Forza Motorsport 5, brawler Killer Instinct and Zoo Tycoon, where players care for animals in a zoo. Many titles available for PS4 are here, too, including Call of Duty: Ghosts, Madden NFL 25 and Battlefield 4. Apps at launch include Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, ESPN, NFL and Amazon Instant Video.
Learning Kinect's language. As our review notes, Kinect allows users to control Xbox One and their cable or satellite programming with their voice. But it can be finicky. Here are two quick tips:
- "Xbox, Select" is your best friend. This pulls up menu options with green text, meaning you can simply speak the option without the Xbox prompt. For example, "Xbox, Select," then say "Store," "Pins," or any other option you choose.
- Repeat phrases, even if they don't work initially. Every time I asked Xbox One to "Watch The Cooking Channel," it took me to Discovery, TLC and every other place with "The" and "Channel" in the name. However, Kinect learns from its mistakes and will adjust. Now it recognizes channels it didn't previously.
All-in-one entertainment. Sony has focused heavily on games with PS4, but Microsoft has taken a different approach by pitching this as a box that can take over your living room.
Is Microsoft successful? When it works, Kinect and the new features of Xbox One are great. But they need some fine-tuning. For example, the Snap feature that lets users "snap" an app alongside a TV show or game doesn't work great with every app. Also, although Kinect is better at correcting itself, users will still run into issues periodically where it seems Xbox One isn't listening. Regardless, Xbox One is an impressive leap
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