The title here I understand may cause some suggestion to favoritism towards a particular games console in what has been an ongoing argument since we were children and my SNES is better than your Sega!  It’s one of those never ending arguments, but ultimately, regardless of which route you went down, they did pretty much the same thing and we all had fun!

And for the first time, both the new Xbox (Nov 22nd) and Playstation (Nov 29th) are to be released within just 1 week apart which hasn’t been seen before, which now gives everyone interested an important decision to make on your next living room device which will no doubt be there for at least the next 10 years!

However, games consoles have come along way since the early years and the word ‘games’ console is no longer accurate.  In early 2012 the current generation Xbox 360 made a significant announcement in stating that the console was now used more for online entertainment than online games.  The adaptive nature of the consoles software has allowed for consistent updates to be rolled out over the last 8 years to offer users a multitude of services.  You can now watch Netflix, YouTube, Sky, iPlayer, stream music, browse the internet and chat on Skype even.

I personally find myself now in my maturer age watching a lot more movies than playing games like I once did.  So given this transcending shift over to an entertainment device that offers me everything as a one stop shop for my lounge, I’m inclined to purchase the next generation this November based on my desire to spend much of it watching the latest House of Cards episodes and whatever new series takes my fancy.  After all, let’s face the fact here that if you want to play the latest games, there’s no real difference in one having better graphics like there once was and this time round, the Xbox has succumbed to having Blu Ray, so that advantage no longer stands.

The real winning offering here that Xbox will deliver and what I consider to be severely undervalued given it’s abysmal launch mess up which gained all the headlines for the wrong reasons unfortunately, but should be considered before purchasing your new console comes down to the ability of the Xbox’s unique user experience with the entertainment features and offering that can only be experienced with the Xbox.  Such as…

Control the console interface with just your voice.

This will enable you to turn it on/off, change TV channels, launch movies or perhaps search the internet while playing a game.  If you’re thinking the voice control might not work well then I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised.  The accuracy nowadays is fantastic such as can be experienced with Apple’s Siri and Google Now.  To quote Microsoft directly, “The all-new multi-microphone array…. Advanced noise isolation lets Kinect know who to listen to, even in a crowded room. And, for the first time, you can use your voice to launch any Xbox One experience from anywhere in the system, so you can quickly move from one thing to another.”  Along with voice control being picked up by the Kinect sensors, the camera within also will know who you are so need to login manually for different users.

Connect your TV’s cable or satellite boxes directly into the console.

This pass-thru feature in turn will allow you to fully watch your TV channels like normal but within the Xbox directly.  So those handy voice commands and overlaying features can be used in parallel whilst watching TV.  The major given advantage of this set up is no more losing remotes and flicking between HDMI ports.  “One” box does it all, hence the name!

So that’s some pretty impressive lounge added benefits to make life even lazier, but quite importantly useful given that the ‘remote control’ is a somewhat prehistoric device.  The important thing to note here is that the reason the Xbox One is £80 more expensive than the PlayStation at launch is because you will be forced to purchase the Kinect bar which has this fancy motion and sound tracking tech which in turn will ensure developer adaption as the user base will be there from the very start.  A very bold move by Microsoft, which Sony is capitalising on by stating that it’s cheaper.  We’ll have to find out if this decision will pay off in the long run, but it’s certainly a good thing for the future of gaming as whole.

Cloud power.

If that’s not convincing enough and you’re a gamer at heart and are happy to burn those calories through sticking with traditional infrared remotes, then the most overlooked and undervalued piece of information Xbox have announced was the provision of 300,000 data servers!  To the average console user, this doesn’t exactly sound like a great deal on the surface and neither did it grab many headlines because it’s a little techy in nature.  However, this unique advantage is what will become really noticeable once users start playing online and game developers start taking advantage of this.

Better graphics.

The external power of these servers allows for the game rendering and other requirements on your console to offload some of the processing power needed to the cloud and therefore, suddenly the scope for increased graphics power and the level of detail can be increased dramatically regardless of the consoles internal chips.  This alone future proofs your console some way to ensure that games keep looking and working better.  There’s also a lot of discussion of how the artificial intelligence of games will improve due to the cloud and Jeff Henshaw at E3 suggested there is possibility that,” if you leave a game it may persist with other players and feel the effects of time, wear, damage and weather so when you come back online it will have evolved.” So the cloud base has more scope than we yet even know about!

Quicker, more reliable online gameplay.

The cloud also offers much quicker matchmaking and likewise, reliability of your online game.  Current play is mainly done with a local host of someone dedicated within say a 12 person match where there is a ‘host’ who holds the connection of the game.  Sometimes the latency issues of this give an unfair advantage and if you’ve ever played Halo, you’ll have experienced quite regularly the pause of when that host quits and all must wait for a new connection to be established.

So, some quite promising features which are yet to be fully explored and understood until we get our hands (or voice) on it, but I’d certainly suggest there are some compelling advantages that the Xbox has this time round and what’s especially of interest is that the PlayStation may not be able to match some of these, as they are gambling that price is more important than motion and voice sensing.  For me personnaly, the ability to pass-thru my TV cable box is a good enough reason to choose the Xbox this November as my new entertainment system.  And remember, it could be 10 years till we see the next generation thereafter, so you’ll want something future proof and it would appear that the Xbox will fulfill this much further.

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