As the Microsoft submission to the next generation console wars, the Xbox One has a lot to offer gamers. The machine itself is built on PC architecture, particularly with an x86 processor that allows developers to work more readily with the hardware.

Will this meant he end of bad PC-console ports? Perhaps, but that will depend on the effort each developer puts in. What other features does the Xbox One have to offer?

Kinect Integration

The original Kinect has been something of a gimmick for the Xbox 360, but it has a number of features that make it very interesting to play with. Some people feel that the always-on Kinect is a bit of a privacy invasion, but that’s not strictly true. In fact, the passive microphone really only listens for one phrase — “Xbox: On” — and certainly doesn’t record anything. No Kinect data would be sent to Microsoft. The Xbox One’s Kinect 2 has a 1080p camera and tracks a few dozen statistics for excellent feedback and responsiveness. It will be very interesting to see how developers play with the features it enables.

The Evolution of Xbox Live

Xbox Live will continue with the Xbox One, but it won’t survive unchanged. Your gamertag, gamerscore, achievements, avatar and all the rest of your personal data will be ported over, so you won’t have to create a new profile or start from scratch. This is excellent news for gamers with scores in the hundreds of thousands. With the continuation of Live come a few other changes. First, Microsoft is already retiring the concept of Microsoft Points. All marketplace purchases will be made with real money. Second, Achievements will be a more active and reactive system. Developers will be able to add, change and tweak achievements on the fly to balance them or to reference popular memes. 

Game Library

Going forward, the Xbox One already has a nice selection of exclusives lined up. Everything from Ryze: Son of Rome to the upcoming Halo all look to be excellent system sellers. Games like Forza 5 scratch the itch for series fans, while Tom Clancy’s The Division and Quantum Break bring new IPs to bear for the release. 

All of this is good for Microsoft, of course, because the system will not be backward compatible. If you want to play your 360 games once you have an XBOne, you’ll need to swap out the systems. Unfortunately, this even includes games purchased on Xbox Live — the software simply won’t run on the new hardware. 

Constant Connectivity

The initial rumor, and indeed the initial plan from Microsoft, was to force the console to call home online every day. It would allow them to keep software up to date, push out critical patches and monitor statistics about gamers. Of course, so many people complained about the always-on connection that Microsoft went back on their plans. The console will still require an initial connection and probably a day one patch, but after that you’ll be free to play offline all you like. Then again, some games will surely require patches themselves, and others are much more fun online. 

Used Game DRM Rumors

Initial rumors put forth the idea that the Xbox One was trying to kill off the used game market by requiring a fee to install a previously used game, which would be high enough to offset the cost of buying the game used to begin with. While the original plan might have called for something similar, and indeed the strict DRM looked that way in their press conference, Microsoft has since reversed their decision on this matter as well. They claim you will be able to sell, trade and buy used games exactly how you can today. 

Bundles

As with any launch console, there are bound to be bundles with many of the system exclusives on launch day. Which of the bundles so far announced are you planning to buy?

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