Hot on the heels of last week's Sony PlayStation 4 is the Microsoft Xbox One. The console got off to a rocky start earlier this year when Microsoft announced unprecedented and seemingly draconian DRM that would limit the ability to use the console offline or play used games. When the PS4 was positioned as the more liberal alternative with none of these restrictions, Microsoft back-pedaled: a day-one patch to Xbox One reverses the previous policies.
The console features a Blu-ray player, a 500 GB internal hard drive, 8 GB of RAM, 802.11 b/g/n wireless and wired Internet connectivity, and USB 3.0. On the surface, that sounds a lot like the PS4, but the Xbox One has two distinguishing characteristics out of the box. The Kinect camera is included, allowing all developers access to its futuristic motion sensor and microphone. Microsoft's previous console, the Xbox 360, had an optional, less sophisticated Kinect that had little appeal to the hardcore gamer crowd that was the Xbox 360's core audience; it's unknown whom the Xbox One's Kinect camera will target. Will privacy-minded individuals, haunted by the specter of NSA's PRISM program, want a camera in their living room, watching their every move?
The inclusion of the Kinect is Microsoft's justification for the $499 price tag. Being a week late and a $100 more is not helping the console win over the good will it lost with its earlier marketing stumbles.
Let's see what else is in the box in my Xbox One unboxing video.
Click the links in the below table of contents to skip to a specific chapter of the video:
- 0:34 – 9:41: Unboxing
- 9:42 – 20:37 Power up!
- 20:38 – 32:50: System settings
- 32:51 – 37:17: Store & Kinect
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Neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One feature backward compatibility with previous consoles, so this can be a good time for new gamers to choose a platform. Or you can opt for the affordable and family-friendly Nintendo Wii U, which costs $299 and includes a game. Nintendo could use the help, as analysts predict the Wii U to sell only a quarter of its family-friendly predecessor, the Wii.