By the time I remembered that the XBOX One game console was about to be released, it was too late for me to reserve or pre-order online and I'm not the kind of guy to battle a crowd full of young people hopped up on Monster and Red Bull, nor am I willing to stand in a line outside in the middle of November in Michigan just to be able to pay its retail price. That's where eBay comes in.
Even before the XBOX One was available for sale, people who pre-ordered them had been flooding eBay and Craigslist with posts and ads with XBOX One's and when the console was officially released there were even more. Due to the fact that Microsoft had only produced so many units, anybody and everybody who could get there hands on one tried to, and those listing them for sale online were doing so at a significant markup thanks to the good ol' economic theory of supply and demand. In fact, by the time I had purchased mine 13 hours after the XBOX One launched, the average sale price on eBay was $703.00, which is more than $200.00 over retail.
Luckily, I was able to get one from eBay for less than that (including shipping), but I didn't exactly pay retail either. I guess that's what I get for waiting until the last minute. At least I have one though, just in time for the holiday season.
Before purchasing the new XBOX One, the only thing I'd really heard about it was that it is intended to be the focus of your entire home entertainment system, almost like a home theatre receiver. The unit comes with extra ports on the back so you can plug your XBOX into the TV and then your cable box and whatever else into your XBOX. This is because Microsoft gave the XBOX One more RAM and processing speed to support it's new interface that allows for almost instantaneous switching of sources.
For instance, you can literally have the game your playing on one side of the screen and cable TV on the other side with the Picture-in-Picture capability, then immediately choose one to use for the whole screen, then switch out of it, back to your dashboard and open up Netflix.
I can attest to the speed. That was one of the first things I noticed about the console. It's super fast. Simply starting up takes no time at all, whereas with the an XBOX 360 or PS3, I could turn the system on, go get my gaming fuel, and still make it back to the couch before the home screen would show up. Shutting the system off us equally as fast.
The other main feature they want you to integrate into your entertainment routine is the new Kinect unit, which accepts voice commands, as well as has a far more sophisticated camera and feature recognition system than the XBOX 360. You can turn the system on by saying, "XBOX On", and the unit will load the home screen and apps for your gamer profile by using facial recognition. This is can also function as a security feature so no unauthorized faces can play as your gamer profile and risk killing your stats and reputation
Personally, I don't plan on using the Kinect feature anytime soon. The fact that a camera connected to the internet would be in my living room kind of creeps me out. Not to mention the NSA doesn't need a view directly into my home, or to watch me get something in my eye during CNN's Heroe's (I swear it's aways a piece of dog fur). Unfortunately, if I'm not going to use the Kinect I have to log into my gamer profile the old fashioned way every time. You'd think that if they can make a game console that recognizes your face they would be able to give you a choice to stay logged in with a checkbox that says "remember user profile" so that I could avoid this, but no.
The redesigned dashboard has a sleeker look to it now since it's black, and it emphasizes the ability to "pin" apps to the front of your dashboard. I have Amazon Instant, Netflix, Blu Ray, and Ryse pinned to my front screen right now. The new layout also makes t easier to get to your XBOX Live gamer profile and XBOX One console Settings.
The XBOX One controller is a little different, slightly smaller than a 360 controller. It also has right and left trigger buttons with a bit of a different shape that's allegedly supposed to make it easer to move you fingers from right trigger to right button and from left trigger to left button, but the jury's still out on that one. The new XBOX button smack dab in the middle of the control is pretty cool too. It glows white (instead of green) when the controller is powered. This is the button that allows you to switch back to your dashboard if you aren't using the Kinect and its associated features.
I've had my XBOX One for almost a month at this point and I'm pretty happy I bought it. I really like the updated look and user experience of the XBOX One and I'm looking forward to some of the games coming out in 2014. I didn't think the system was going to be as different as it turned out to be, so kudos Microsoft.
However, if I could change a couple of things I would. Like I mentioned above, the fact that I have to select a gamer profile every time to log in is kind of annoying since I don't want to use the Kinect features and there's only going to be one gamer profile on the unit anyways.
I also wish that the system was backward compatible with XBOX 360 games, mainly because I don't want to overflow my TV cabinet with older video game equipment (my fiancee already thinks I'm too old to be playing video games, though she does like that the XBOX One has Blu Ray player), and because I have unfinished business with Deus Ex: Human Revolution and my second run through Mass Effect 3 on the XBOX 360.
I think that $500.00 is a little pricy for a video came system. I understand what it can do and that it's pretty powerful, but Microsoft could sell way more units by lowering the price, which I'm sure they'll do within the next year or two. I'm guessing Microsoft wants to try out Apple's elitist marketing strategy at least for a little while, but I guess I shouldn't complain then because I own all Apple products too. Sue me, I like a good computer.
Learn more about the XBOX One at www.xbox.com.