Xbox One - everything you need to know

Xbox One.

Xbox One.

Peter Nelis, ClickOnline.com

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

The Xbox One spluttered to life back in May when Microsoft seemed to completely misjudge the general opinion of gamers in tagging on an always-on DRM system which many people thought to be archaic, a compulsory Kinect add-on and a lack of support for indie developers looking to self publish on the console. This was all compounded by an unveiling event that focused almost completely on a slew of TV and entertainment slanted services that seemed to forget that the whole point of the system was to play games. In short, the first few weeks of the Xbox One's life were something of a nightmare for the company - serving mainly to put the next-gen ball squarely in Sony's court.

Thankfully, though, things have improved dramatically between then and now, with a reasonably strong software showing at E3 helping to get many undecided gamers back on the company's side. The likes of Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Titanfall and Killer Instinct served as a way back in for Microsoft, and they continued their good work almost immediately following the event, when then-President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick confirmed a stunning about turn for the system's proposed always-on system.

Players would no longer be required to have their system call home once a day, although an online connection is still required to complete the initial set-up of the console. The news went down reasonably well; however it did result in the device being christened the Xbox One-Eighty by many gamers, poking fun at the unexpected about turn. Within a month, Mattrick also followed the DRM out the door, moving to Zynga to take up a high profile position with the social games company instead.

The changes didn't stop there, either. The next big alteration to the Xbox One's original policies was that independent developers would be allowed to self-publish after all - something that was hardly surprising given the huge level of support Sony had garnered from the indie community thanks to its incredibly open self-publishing policies. It wasn't until after this original announcement that the details began to emerge, but from what we've seen they're certainly a hell of a lot better than many expected, as "qualified game developers" will be offered free development kits, documentation and support to help them build titles.

The last big change from Microsoft centred around the One's Kinect hardware. Originally planned to be an essential part of the system, with the console not working if it was disconnected, the backlash against potential intrusive data gathering in light of the PRISM controversy led Microsoft to confirm that the Xbox One would indeed function without the motion sensor attached. Sadly, though, the company also confirmed that there would likely never be a version of the Xbox One available without the Kinect included.

Price
The Xbox One was confirmed at E3 to cost $499.99 - however, before you go running to Sony, it's worth considering that you're actually getting quite a bit more hardware included than you might have initially thought, although whether that's a good thing or not is very much up to the individual. The system ships with the brand new Kinect system, enabling features like facial recognition, voice control and motion control. It's not for everyone, as the previous generation Kinect showed, but thankfully you'll not have to have it connected for your console to work anymore following a recent announcement from Microsoft.

As with the PS4, there are additional costs to keep in mind here. The newly redesigned controller is expected to retail at $59, while a 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscription (needed to access features like Netflix and online gameplay) will run you another $59.99, and although you won't be getting the Instant Game Collection of PS Plus, you will be getting incredibly reliable and stable servers to play on.

Hardware Specs
CPU: 8-Core x86-64 AMD Jaguar
GPU : AMD Radeon-based processor with 12 compute units totalling 768 cores
Memory: 8 GB DDR3 RAM
Hard Drive: 500 GB (Non-Removable)
Optical Drive: Blu-Ray/DVD
Ports: 2x USB 3.0, 1x AUX, 1x Ethernet, 1x HDMI In, 1x HDMI Out, 1x Digital Out
Connectivity: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR), Infrared
Dimensions: Final Dimensions TBC
Weight: 3.18 kg (Approx)

Xbox One Launch Titles

Although if features a noticeably smaller launch lineup than that of the PS4, the Xbox One nevertheless hits shelves with an incredibly diverse catalogue 23 games, 11 of which aren't available for PS4. In terms of genres, there should be something there for everyone, while all the big multiplatform titles like Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25 and Need for Speed: Rivals will be hitting the console. You can check out the full list here:

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag
Battlefield 4
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Crimson Dragon
Dead Rising 3
FIFA 14
Fighter Within
Forza Motorsport 5
Just Dance 2014
Killer Instinct
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
LocoCycle
Madden NFL 25
NBA 2K14
NBA LIVE 14
Need for Speed: Rivals
Peggle 2
Powerstar Golf
Ryse: Son of Rome
Skylanders: Swap Force
Zoo Tycoon
Zumba Fitness: World Party

Notable Services
Xbox Live Gold - $59.99 Annually (Required to play online and access online services)
Xbox Live Marketplace
TV on Xbox One (Watch cable directly through your XBO)
Snap
Skype
Trending (Displays trending TV shows among friends)
OneGuide (Search TV channels by voice)
Game DVR
Xbox SmartGlass (Second screen experience using your tablet/smartphone)
Netflix
HBO Go
ESPN
Vevo

Additional Info
Despite a slightly slow start (to say the least) Microsoft has made some brave, if wholly necessary, changes to its Xbox One policies, catapulting the system from a potential mess to being highly fancied by many within the industry to repeat the success of its predecessor. The removal of DRM and call home features in the console have really opened up the next generation race, and the industry will be all the better for it.

Set for launch this November, the system is definitely in a strong position, offering a number of very promising platform and console exclusives, while there will also be a huge number of multiplatform third party titles making their way to the XBO (we refuse to call it XBone) in the next twelve months. Coupled with incredibly versatile multimedia functionality, the system will certainly ensure that gamers have some difficult decisions to make in the coming months.


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