Now, it’s not really that the Xbox One needs saving, not at the moment at least. What it really needs is a steer in the right direction. If it had carried on as it began, almost a year ago, there is no doubt that the PS4 would have left it in its dust. The machine that I have at home, as do some of you, is far different to what Microsoft had initially proposed. It seems that, thanks to the efforts of the internet, Microsoft got the picture. We didn’t want a console that we couldn’t play pre-owned games on, or always needed to be connected to the internet. These were idiotic ideas and, thankfully, Microsoft eventually agreed. Yet it seems that the changes aren’t quite over and, in the coming months, Microsoft will be making some more alterations to the Xbox One that could make a whole world of difference.
The biggest change to the console can be found in its new price. In the UK, the Xbox One is now retailing at £399, including the Kinect as well as a copy of Titanfall. That’s a pretty impressive deal, considering that it was retailing around £50-£60 more just a few weeks ago. That deal did come with a copy of FIFA 14, but it was little consolation when you’re paying that sort of money for a games console. This coupled with the fact that the Kinect, though great for voice recognition and dashboard navigation, had no real games built for it, but couldn’t be removed from the bundle, made the expensive console a little less desirable for some. It has raised some questions about how Microsoft will reward those who had faith in the product and paid the hefty full price back in November last year (I, for one), but it’s still great to see Microsoft finally realising that the price was ‘too damn high’.
•Edit• – When first writing this article I had heard the rumours about Titanfall being bumped to 1080p shortly after release. I was sceptical, but thought that it was comment worthy nonetheless. Since then, Respawn have come out and said that Titanfall will NOT be running at 1080p. Surprise, surprise. But I feel that the paragraph below is better left in, rather than editing it out. What I’ve done instead, however, is added my edits in bold at the end of applicable sentences.
This one’s more speculation than actual fact (it’s all lies). There have been a few rumours floating around the inter-webs that are suggesting Titanfall could be boosted to 1080p shortly after its release (though it won’t be </3). Now, I’m not a gamer that’s overly bothered by the level of ‘p’ that my console runs. As long as I can see it and it doesn’t give me a headache / a mild case of nausea, I’m golden. But when you’re paying an extra 60-odd quid for a games console, you’d expect it to at least compete on resolution quality with its cheaper competitor. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case thus far, but there’s a chance that Titanfall could set a precedence for future Xbox One games (who needs 1080p anyway. Obviously, since first drafting this article the rumours have been squashed, but maybe Wolfenstein running at 1080p will set a precedence instead, who knows). There has also been recent news that Wolfenstein: The New Order will run at 1080p/60FPS on the Xbox One as well (by ‘as well’ I of course mean, ‘instead’). Though the Bethesda representative does omit the word ‘native’, so maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors. Perhaps Wolfenstein will be the turning point in the resolution war, or maybe the rumours are complete bull, I guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks.
Twitch Live Streaming
Good news boys and girls, Twitch Live Streaming is finally coming to the Xbox One! The Twitch app has been available on the Xbox One for some time, but it’s been pretty redundant. We’ve only been able to watch other people playing games on other platforms, which was disappointing to say the least. Now, though, we can live stream our gameplay to the Twitch community. This is a great step forward for the Xbox One, finally bringing it in line with the PS4’s gameplay sharing functions. But, what’s better, Microsoft are introducing a new voice command, “Xbox broadcast”, which will allow you to instantly broadcast your gameplay on your Twitch account. People can join your game whilst you live-broadcast from the Xbox Live party and you can even save your favourite broadcasts to the Twitch archive. A great improvement indeed.
Party / Friends update
The main update in March will change the party and friends system on the Xbox One. It will allow you to favourite select friends so that they appear higher on the list (this is because you’re able to have up to 1,000 friends / followers on the Xbox One, and at times it can get a little confusing as to who is and isn’t online). The friends list will be easier to navigate as well as having a couple of extra options which are easier to get to (such as comparing games). The party system will also be changed. Party Chat will automatically be turned on when you start a party and you can also invite people to a party without them needing to be playing the same game. You also have the options to invite people to the party, to the game or to the party and the game – FINALLY! Basically, Microsoft have made the party / friends system more like the Xbox 360’s interface. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, is my motto, so I’m glad that Microsoft have taken the criticisms on board and developed the console for the better.
It’s nice to see that Microsoft are finally listening to the fans. They’re making the console better and cheaper to hopefully appease current owners and draw in potential buyers. In the console fight, the PS4 has landed quite a few haymakers over the past few months. But it looks like the Xbox One has shrugged off the blows and is ready for round two. Even if it’s slightly beaten and bruised, maybe 2014 will be the One’s fight. One thing’s for sure – the console is finally starting to look like the machine that I wanted it to be, all those months ago when Microsoft first announced the Xbox One. Hopefully, things can only get better.