But some of those little details are pretty fascinating and give insight into what the system can and can't do. Here are a few things you might not know about Microsoft's latest console.
It can help you improve your TV's picture. Next generation graphics aren't going to be as eye-popping as they could be if your TV isn't optimized. Hidden in the Xbox One's settings (in the display and sound category) is a calibration tool that helps you tweak the brightness and color settings (among many others) on your set to get the best picture possible.
There are professionals who charge hundreds of dollars to do this very same thing. While their services are likely much better than the Xbox One's advice, this is still an easy way to prepare your HD set not for only games, but for better quality television viewing.
The controller was almost completely different. The Xbox One controller may not seem a whole lot different than what you had for the Xbox 360 - but before settling on the less-is-more design philosophy, Microsoft reportedly spent $100 million exploring some crazy ideas.
Among those was a device that emitted smells. Another came with a projector that beamed out visuals around the player. And Microsoft toyed with the idea of a touchpad, camera and speakers in the controller. Ultimately the ideas were nixed so that players would remain focused on the TV in front of them and the controller's battery life would be longer.
You can pace while you Skype. When you Skype with a friend from your laptop or desktop, it's a pretty stationary affair. If you move more than a foot or two, you're usually out of the picture. With Xbox One, you can roam if you want to.
The Kinect camera is designed to stay focused on you, so if you pace while on a call, the camera will follow you around the room, even zooming in if you're far away. It's a minor feature, but a very useful one that finally makes videoconferencing as convenient as using a handheld phone.
It has three operating systems. Xbox One has multiple purposes; making a single operating system to juggle all of them presented risks. A tweak to improve, say, Skyping could affect the gameplay experience - which would be disastrous.
As a result, Microsoft made the decision to have three brains within the console. One is used to run apps such as Skype. Another is focused on gaming. And a third acts as a mediator of sorts, ensuring that the first two are talking to each other.
It doesn't do 4K... Perhaps because of the last-minute policy changes - and perhaps because Ultra HD televisions are just hitting the market – the Xbox One does not support 4K games or movies at this point. That's expected to change in the future, though, as Microsoft officials say 4K support will be included in a future update.
It doesn't do 3D either... Microsoft, unlike rivals Nintendo and Sony, has never fully gotten behind the 3D-gaming movement. They’re not changing that stance with the launch of the Xbox One. (And, really, who can blame them, given how fast the trend seems to have faded?) That said, the company says it realizes there are people who enjoy watching movies and playing games in 3D, and it plans to bring those capabilities to the system in a future software update.
…but you can play your home movies. Sony upset its users when word slipped out that the PS4 didn't support media server functionality - and the company is racing to correct that. Microsoft dodged the bullet. Through DNLA, you can watch videos, look at photos and listen to music from virtually any media storage device in your home.
- Technology & Electronics
- Game Consoles
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One