It’s that time of the year to look back and reflect on just how lucky we are when it comes to gaming. This medium has progressed a lot over its lifespan, with the original Xbox’s introduction in 2002, one of the biggest consoles made its mark.
Now 14 years and two systems later we are looking at one of the most advanced gaming systems available full of features we could have only hoped for back in the early years. This is a look back at all of the best additions that have made the Xbox One a powerhouse in the gaming industry. We aren’t looking to fuel the fire of console wars, but to simply acknowledge just how far we’ve come and how incredible gaming systems have gotten.
Downloading In Rest Mode
One of the most annoying aspects of the last generation of consoles was if you wanted to download a game it required users to leave their Xbox 360 on for its entire duration. Now not only is this inconvenient, but it would also halt your gaming since most updates stopped if you started another title. Thankfully, this all changed with the Xbox One, which allows users to not only download updates in rest, but entire digital games.
In an era where game file sizes are getting bigger and bigger, having to keep your console on during the entire duration of a download would be unrealistic. Since these can take upwards of 1 to 3 hours (depending, of course, on file size and your storage capacity), rest mode can free users up to work on other things without having to monitor the progress of a download bar. Heck, you can even watch Netflix or a movie while you wait for the game to download which is clearly a win-win.
Games With Gold
Who doesn’t love free games? Games With Gold is Microsoft’s answer to PlayStation offering their Plus customers free titles each month and it’s a more than welcome addition. Since its inception, there have been 51 titles available for Xbox One customers that span the gambit of genres, quality, and studios. Not only does this help introduce players to titles they may have never heard of, like Child of Light and The Escapists, it also allows users to experience games they may have been hesitant to pay for.
Then there are the fantastic triple A titles that are offered like Sleeping Dogs, Sunset Overdrive, and Tomb Raider. Given that there are literally hundreds of games released each year, having the chance to buy and play all of them is fairly unrealistic. Thankfully, this program allows users the chance to pick up titles that they either couldn’t afford or have the time to play when it released. Besides, it’s free, so even if you didn’t like it there wasn’t much wasted on it.
There are a lot of games that released during the Xbox 360’s lifespan, many of which players may not have had a chance to play. Much like Games With Gold, the ability to pick up titles from the past is always a fantastic addition. These aren’t digital rentals either, as Microsoft allows you to keep your collection of 360 titles to experience and enjoy with no strings attached. Yes, not every game that was released for the 360 is backwards compatible, but Microsoft has done a fine job curating a list of fantastic games.
This also allows for a more particular setup for people, as many may not have room on their desks, shelves, or tables for multiple systems at a time. Being able to condense both libraries into one piece of technology is quite helpful. It’s also a great way to show off the classic games that made the Xbox 360 such a success as if it’s a digital museum preserving its history. Plus, it’s completely free if you already own the game so there’s nothing really to lose.
The Elite Controller
Just like any system before it, there are a ton of different controllers that are available for consumers to purchase. One of the best for the Xbox One is the Elite Wireless Controller, which takes some of the best ideas from other products and molds it together. The button mapping is by far one of the biggest features as it allows users to not only customize their layout but also save it. Combine this with the customizable triggers, d-pad, and joysticks for one of the best options for people looking to buy a high-end controller.
Now it’s important to note that there have been complaints about the longevity of the Elite Controller, however, the positives are far outweighing the negatives in reviews. There aren’t a ton of premium controllers that offer so many options, making the Elite Controller one of the best.
The newest addition to Xbox One, Play Anywhere allows users to experience their games on either PC or Xbox One, while still allowing players to earn achievements, game online, and access all of their digital titles. Mobility and gaming have always been a bit awkward since it has always been regulated to handheld devices like the Nintendo 3DS or just playing games available on PC. Being able to seamlessly move your Xbox game from the physical console to your laptop allows for on the go play in a way that major consoles have never been able to achieve. Companies like Microsoft have never really delved into the idea of playing your games anywhere until recently and it’s one of their best additions.
Being able to play your favorite titles anywhere is an incredible addition that alleviates users of delegating only one section of their home to gaming. This also helps anyone who travels a lot since they’ll no longer need to heft their Xbox One with them everywhere they go. Even though this feature boasts a rather small library right now, the future looks good for what other games are available. Plus, this gives users an easier way to experience games together, without having to fight over a single television screen. Play Anywhere is the next step in gaming and it’s going to be exciting to see where it takes us.