For years, video game journalists will tell stories about how badly Microsoft’s botched the launch of the Xbox One entertainment console back in 2013. It’s not as if they’re imagining anything. After only revealing a slice of its vision for the console, Microsoft arrived at E3 2013 without answers to the questions users wanted. In mass, the tide slowly turned against Microsoft. Fans made it clear, either Microsoft fixed the huge issues they had with the Xbox One or they’d turn somewhere else for their gaming needs.
Fix the Xbox One problems Microsoft did. In the summer of 2013 Microsoft reversed course and started making the necessary changes users demanded. Out was the Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s Xbox and devices leader. To replace him the company brought in Phil Spencer, an avid gamer and longtime leader of Microsoft Studios. For better or for worse, Spencer put the focus back on gaming. He introduced a version of the Xbox One that didn’t included a Kinect sensor and cost $100 less than the $499 price tag of the original console. To put it on equal footing with other consoles and devices Microsoft stopped requiring users to have a membership to its Xbox Live Gold service to use the apps and services they were already paying for.
A year and a half of steady software updates and smart moves later, the Xbox One has mostly recovered from the disaster that was its launch. The Xbox One has tons of unique features that users can’t get anywhere else. What’s more, Microsoft has solidified it’s exclusive games line-up, leaning less on content exclusivity deals for games like Call of Duty and focusing more on developing its own internal portfolio of tiles. At the same time, it’s expanding the reach of Xbox Live, redefining the service as a modern social network as well as social gaming platform.
Here are 9 things you’ll love about Microsoft’s Xbox One entertainment console.
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Xbox Live is the crown jewel of the Xbox ecosystem. It’s not completely specific to the Xbox One, Microsoft created the first generation of Xbox Live services for the original Xbox. It then revamped those services for the Xbox 360. The current generation of Xbox Live is the most advanced we’ve seen yet.
Xbox Live is still a gaming service in the classic sense. Everyone gets membership free of charge when they setup their Xbox One console for the first time. Text messaging, profile browsing, voice messaging and app access are all things that users get for free. Subscribing to Xbox Live Gold for $9.99 a month gets users two free game downloads a month plus, multiplayer access and cloud storage for their game clips.
In a lot of ways, Xbox Live is a living breathing community. The service has its own badge system for identifying toxic players, plus its own police force for monitoring suspicious behavior. There’s an integrated store for purchasing more games and downloading more apps. There’s plenty to experience for television lovers too. Xbox Live connects users to services like Netflix and Hulu Plus so that they can see what their friends are watching. The Xbox OneGuide is the ultimate media guide, giving users a full breakdown on the shows that are airing and the most popular content in their media apps like YouTube.