Xbox One: Time To Jump In

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Editor’s Note: More than a year out for each of the newest batch of game consoles, I wanted staffers to give their honest pitches for each of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft’s 8th generation platforms. Each piece will speak to the writer’s personality. Today, we are continuing our series, after the PS4 yesterday, with the Xbox One today. Tomorrow, we will finish off with the Wii U.

Looking to pick up a new console this holiday season? Well, I certainly don’t think you could go wrong with either the PS4 or the Wii U. Both are fine choices. But for pure value and future potential, I honestly think the Xbox One has them beat. I say this as someone who owns all 3 current-gen consoles and did not have much faith in the Xbox One just over a year ago. But, a lot can change in just a year. Here are some very compelling reasons to buy an Xbox One and buy it now.

Better Value

Simply put, even if it’s only for the holiday season, the across-the-board $50 price cut for all Xbox One consoles and bundles make it the best value this season by a long shot. It’s only $50 more than a Wii U at the base price, can come with up to two free AAA games depending on what bundle you get and if you are willing to go a bit higher can get you double the hard drive space for just a little more than a PS4. And that’s not even counting the bonus gift cards or other incentives many retailers are now offering when you buy the console.

Sure, Sony & Nintendo are offering bundles of their own this season, but they seem either unwilling or unable to match the sheer dollar value. The closest thing Sony is offering is a console with a couple of old games. Great games they are, but odds are you played the hell out of them last year and not a horribly convincing reason to upgrade when they are still easily available. It’s been heavily rumored that Nintendo might have a Smash Bros bundle to offer people, but nothing’s been confirmed, and unless you were a hardcore Smash fan waiting just for that game to buy a Wii U, it’s hard to justify the cost when for just $50 more you can get a far more powerful console with more games on it.

Bottom line, the Xbox One is the best bang for your hard-earned buck right now. While I’m sure some people will argue that PS4 will have the superior versions of most third-party titles, the fact of the matter is that not only is that not always the case, but the difference is pretty miniscule to the point where even playing the games side-by-side the difference is pretty insignificant. The best third-party titles this year will still look and run great on the Xbox One and that will continue to be the case going forward because, as I said, the disparity between the consoles isn’t much at all.

Better controller

I think all 3 controllers have their advantages. As much as people bemoan the Wii U Gamepad, it works fine for most games and I’ve had far more success using it as a way to play my console games off-screen than my Vita since it doesn’t rely on my internet connection. The DualShock 4 is a pretty massive improvement over the DualShock 3, which always felt cheap and was horrible for certain genres like shooters. Despite these positives, there are still some massive problems with both. You can’t ignore that the Gamepad is clunky and Nintendo constantly shows its unwillingness to really be devoted to it by giving you a bajillion control options ranging from old Wii remotes to newly made Gamecube controllers. Options are nice, but dedication to one controller (you know, the one that comes with your system) could’ve done wonders for showing the significance of that controller rather than most complaining about it.

And while as I stated before, the DualShock 4 is a massive improvement over its predecessor, it still has a major design issue. Namely, the analog pads easily get scratched and scuffed. Despite taking very good care of my controllers, the pads look like I let a pet chew on them, which is kind of unacceptable. Simply put, the Xbox One controller feels a little better. It’s not a huge evolution from the 360 controller, but the 360 controller was excellent, so it didn’t need to be a huge change.

But the real crime of both the DualShock 4 and the Wii U Gamepad is the pathetic battery life. With the Wii U Gamepad you are lucky if you get more than 4 hours on a charge. I basically just have to leave it plugged in for long play sessions. The PS4’s DualShock 4 isn’t a whole lot better, clocking in at 8 hours tops, though I don’t think it really lasts that long in actual play time, meaning I have to have a backup to switch out constantly, and no such thing all night co-op Diablo III with the wife.

I will say openly that I don’t like that the Xbox One’s controller uses batteries and you have to buy a third party rechargeable battery pack & charger in order to enjoy the same convenience you do with the other consoles controllers. That being said, those packs and chargers aren’t horribly expensive. I’ve been using the Xbox One controller quite regularly since I got the system, and I rarely need to charge it at an inconvenient time or switch to my backup controller. For anybody interested in lengthy gaming sessions or just not having to constantly switch out or plug in your controller during an all-day streaming marathon, the Xbox One Controller is the obvious choice.

Next: Repairing a Brand Through Exclusives & an Open Ear