Living rooms are a mess, with most people having to deal with at least two or three devices in order for them to watch TV, play games, and stream content. Well, now that Microsoft has released its Xbox One, it may be able to takeover the living room by replacing all of those devices with just one.
Unlike the PlayStation 4 (PS4) from Sony, Microsoft spent a lot of time developing the One into a system that would be good for the living room as a whole, and not just for games. Although this move annoyed some hardcore video game fans, it may pay off in the end for Microsoft.
Nov. 22 Launch
Apple product launch lines are sometimes as bad as Black Friday shopping, and in this case, for Microsoft's Xbox One, many of the store lines have been equally as long. With game consoles only coming out every 5-7 years -- and this generation may stick around even longer -- gamers bought up all of the available pre-orders within a few days after they became available.
Those pre-orders went out in June and to many people, they marked the beginning of the long-awaited next generation of console gaming. Finally, after months of anticipation, customers were able to pick up their pre-orders and experience the system for themselves.
With the Nov. 22 retail launch, which began at midnight in 13 markets worldwide, Microsoft says it sold more than 1 million Xbox One consoles within the first 24 hours. While quite impressive, Sony says it also sold more than 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles with the first 24 hours of its launch last week.
Compared to the PS4's retail price of $400, the Xbox One is somewhat pricier, at $500. With that price tag however, the Xbox One offers tons of features not found on Sony's PS4, and it automatically ships with the Kinect voice and motion-sensing input device, which is now used to control the system, as well.
Early reviews have noted that the Xbox's focus on the Kinect is promising, but as of now, the Kinect's hardware and software do have some issues. For voice control, unless you speak clearly and are in a room with no echoes or other sources of noise, it may be difficult to solely operate your Xbox One without a controller. Since the Kinect's integration with the One is such a big selling point for the console, those issues could be fairly problematic.
Fighting for the Living Room
As many reviewers have pointed out, the Xbox One is essentially a well-wrapped gaming PC for the living room. Through various engineering and design practices, the One is capable of playing games at a higher FPS rate than most $500 PCs. Nonetheless, it remains more of a computer than other traditional gaming consoles.
Prior to the Xbox One unveiling, many speculated whether Microsoft would work with Sony in order to license its Blu-ray technology. Microsoft ultimately did integrate Blu-ray into the console, making it much more of a contender to rule the living room/family room space. And, while you may not be able to eliminate your physical cable box entirely if you use the Xbox One, the console is capable of controlling a cable box, and effectively allowing a user to deal with just one living room device.
Overall, the Xbox One has a lot going for it, although it's not yet fault-free. When you combine the Kinect's functionality with the console's plethora of features, it definitely seems that the Xbox One could become a core living device in the long run, and certainly a hit in the meantime, for this holiday season.