Xbox One is now four years old, and its fourth year on the market was not so surprising or encouraging. It's hard to know exactly how the system works commercially because Microsoft has stopped sharing sales numbers, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer has made it clear that, for him and for Microsoft, Xbox One hardware sales are no longer exit. Microsoft has expanded its game aspirations, but in many ways, it has doubled in its recent and easy-to-use strategies with Xbox One, which has been promising.
With 2017 coming to an end, let's take a look at the year that was for Xbox One.
Another dose of new hardware, this time with significant changes
Last year's Xbox One S was a solid revision of hardware, providing a dramatic reduction in size, compatibility with HDR and playback of Blu-ray 4K capabilities. However, apart from a small increase in performance, it was indeed the same system that was launched in 2013. The same can not be said for Xbox One X, which was launched around the world in November.
Microsoft likes to promote Xbox One X is the "most powerful console in the world". As much as it sounds like a marketing line with little basis in reality, it is true. Xbox One X is a power source of a console, and one that is also incredibly well designed. That he manages to be so powerful but so silent, and no bigger than an Xbox One S, is an engineering feat.
Many of the games that have been updated to take advantage of the additional power of the system look impressive. Assassin & # 39; s Creed Origins, Forza Motorsport 7, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Gears of War 4, Hitman, Halo 5: Guardians and others have great improvements. Often, games even offer marked increases to resolution and other areas over their PS4 Pro-enhanced counterparts.
But within those improvements, there has also been some degree of confusion. For your credit, Xbox One X addresses a specific complaint about PS4 Pro: it allows you to filter your games to show only those with upgrade updates. However, it is not clear exactly what you will get from a certain game. The Microsoft website hosts a list of X-enhanced games along with indicators for those with HDR and 4K support, but is it a native 4K or a dynamic resolution? Can players choose between a mode that favors higher resolutions and one that offers more stable frame rates and better effects? Discovering normally involves using third-party publications such as Digital Foundry. It takes a lot of research on the part of Xbox One X owners to know what kind of experience to expect from a game.
] That being said, as in the case of PS4 Pro, It is difficult to complain about the general approach of a hardware upgrade of the middle generation, because it is purely optional. There will always be those who want better graphics and performance without having to build an expensive computer, while others will prefer to continue playing on their current console. The Xbox One X feels like an ideal compromise for this point in time: it offers those who care about playing improved versions of games an option to do so, but without dividing the multiplayer user base or taking anything away from those who are happy with it. what they have. There is a degree of commitment to this, since the games have yet to work on Xbox One. At least so far, no developer has shown the willingness to provide significantly different game functions in X. We do not know of any games that operate as, for example, Shadow of Mordor, which offered the Nemesis system in the current consoles but an extremely reduced version in Xbox 360 and PS3. But it is a commitment that is necessary to avoid leaving anyone behind, and it is not preventing the X from offering some really precious games.
Among the most welcome aspects of how Xbox One X works are the improvements it presents in all areas. Even without a patch, Xbox One games benefit from anisotropic filtering, as well as, in many cases, shorter load times, framerates that achieve their objectives more consistently and improvements in the dynamic resolution scale, which allow games run at higher resolutions more often. The results vary from one game to another, but they are often impressive, and this even extends to Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. And in any case, you will get all these benefits at no additional cost beyond the system itself.
Continued Welcome enhancements for the Xbox ecosystem
Those improvements to your existing game library play into a broader strategy that Microsoft has been pushing for the past two years. Since the introduction of backwards compatibility, it feels as if Microsoft decided to listen to what fans want and give it to them. While it's possible that you're losing some of the exclusives that PS4 owners have access to (more on that later), the company has made having an Xbox One more attractive than ever.
That starts with the continuation of backward compatibility. We have seen add more than 145 games this year, which totals more than 450 games. This allows you to play games you already own on Xbox One, often with several technical improvements, even on systems that are not Xbox One X. It is perhaps the best feature to distinguish the system from the PS4 (whose closest equivalent is the PlayStation Now subscription-based), and continues to be available for free.
Microsoft has presented to the owners of Xbox One what feels like a respectful ecosystem message that is committed to maintaining its playable library of games, and better than ever, if it has an Xbox One X.
Compatibility with Previous versions have only improved this year with the additional support of the original Xbox games. While the selection is limited and will not expand at the same semi-regular pace as the library compatible with previous versions of Xbox 360, it is good to be able to play Ninja Gaiden Black and company on Xbox One.
2017 also saw Microsoft enter new space with Xbox Game Pass. For a fixed fee, subscribers can play full versions of games from a library with more than 100 games. But unlike Netflix or PlayStation Now, these games are downloaded, instead of being transmitted. This avoids potential latency problems, although large download sizes for some games are still a problem.
Game Pass certainly provides value for some – $ 10 / £ 8 / AU $ 11 per month is not terribly unreasonable for someone on a tight budget who does not mind having long-term games. However, it still feels somewhat incomplete. Microsoft has talked about the potential it has to support the development of original games, in the same way that Netflix has its own original programming, but six months later, that is something that we still have to bear fruit. The definitive edition of ReCore was available at the launch of Game Pass, but it was an update to a game from a year ago. It remains to be seen if the service ends up leading to the creation of new games.
Elsewhere, Microsoft has provided more Xbox Play Anywhere games, providing a great incentive to collect digital copies of selected games. They provide access to both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs at no additional cost. And the company continues to seek cross-play support. While Sony has refused to open the doors of PSN, Nintendo has consented, allowing the owners of Xbox One and Switch to play games like Rocket League and Minecraft together. That is good news for everyone involved.
Frequent system updates – and, finally, moving forward a little
The design of menus and the Xbox One board has been a source of complaints since the launch. Providing intuitive access to so many functions is not an easy task, and this has remained a work in progress for the past four years. As with Xbox 360, Microsoft has had no problem reviewing the Xbox One board. 2017 was the best example of that so far, as we saw not one, but two major updates to the board design and the Guide.
The first one arrived in March. He devoted much less space to the game or active application and provided shortcuts for options related to him, such as his game center. Finally, it also made the Guide accessible at the touch of a button, something that previously required two. The guide itself was refined to provide quick access to Game DVR and other functionalities. Other additions included an on-screen achievement tracker, mixer integration (known at the time as Beam) and the co-driver's accessibility feature.
Incredibly, just over four months later, Microsoft revealed another redesign. Speed and personalization were promoted as two of the key objectives. Aesthetically, it seemed almost identical to the March update, but the main home screen was completely changed. It now consisted of "content blocks", each of which is dedicated to an item of your choice, as a specific game. The Guide (which still appears when you press the Xbox button once) was reoriented to have a horizontal design. The fall update was officially launched in October.
The Xbox One menus are still complex and intimidating, especially for newcomers. The introduction of such frequent shaking leads to confusion; the same way you get used to a configuration, things change suddenly. As expected, opinions vary on any changes, although the Fall Update Guide has at least emerged intelligently. Microsoft has said that "small adjustments" are more likely than "big changes" in the future, which may be accurate, although there is still work to be done.
Some quality games, but the exclusive gap feels bigger than ever  Xbox One is, ultimately, a machine designed to play. And, in fact, there were tons of great games to play in 2017. Microsoft certainly argues it all, but a problem arises when looking for exclusives on Xbox One versus PS4. Sony had a great year, with Horizon: Zero Dawn, Yakuza 0, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Hellblade, Nioh and Nier: Automata as exclusive console. In addition, in many cases, third-party games were undeniably better on PS4, either by hardware (Xbox One does not have virtual reality support to make the VR mode of Resident Evil 7 playable) or because of value considerations (Sony pays for content exclusive in limited time in games like Destiny 2).
However, the owners of Xbox One have a lot to play with. Between the exclusives that were launched and the numerous third-party games on the market, choosing an Xbox One in 2017 will not leave you without worthwhile games. (The frequent addition of new games compatible with previous versions does not hurt, either.) And if you choose an Xbox One X, now you're even getting the best version of these third-party games, with the exception of those with PS4 exclusive content.
Xbox One was not completely devoid of exclusives this year. Forza Motorsport 7 and Cuphead are excellent, and the next early access release of PUBG is likely to be huge, if the performance of the game on PC (and that of the Battle Royale update of Fortnite) are any indication. But the chasm in the exclusives this year has felt particularly big, no doubt due to the cancellation of Scalebound and the delays of Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves (which were also delayed in 2016). Whether he made the right calls or not, the end result was a much stronger year for the competition in terms of exclusive games.
Other matters, in summary
- It was another good year, although not spectacular, for the Games With gold There were few games released recently (Slime Rancher was a notable exception), but we still have a total of 48 games that can be Play on Xbox One, all of which can receive at least some benefits when played on Xbox One X.  Xbox One is still the only console with access to EA Access. This is still a good service for $ 30 per year, even offers recent games like Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2 and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
- 500 GB is still effectively the size of the standard hard drive for Xbox One. That felt small at launch in 2013, and the situation is worse now. With games like Gears of War 4 and Halo 5: Guardians that increase in size (the two combine to occupy about 200 GB) and can use less than 400 GB, it is possible to fill the disk with only a few games installed. The external hard drive support of Xbox One is excellent, but the system could use more storage space right out of the box. This problem extends to Xbox One X, despite the 1TB hard drive, due to the size of the 4K assets.
- Kinect feels really dead by the end of 2017; Just like the Xbox One S, Xbox One X lacks a port for the sensor, which requires the use of a dongle. With little support and voice commands are more overcome than ever by devices like the Amazon Echo, that's the best.
Even in place of a game like a Halo FPS, this has been a positive year for Xbox anyway. It's unlikely he'll ever catch PS4 in terms of sales, and it remains to be seen if Microsoft can begin to match PS4's exclusive output. But after this generation began by disconnecting a large number of people with the initial presentation of the Xbox One, Microsoft has continued to make peace by focusing on fan-friendly initiatives, such as backward compatibility, Play Anywhere and cross-over. play
Microsoft says that unannounced games are coming, but you do not know when; Exclusives may remain a problem for the foreseeable future. There is no way around it, but Microsoft has presented to Xbox One owners what feels like a respectful ecosystem that is committed to maintaining its playable game library, and better than ever, if it has an Xbox One X. That may not Be as flashy as a long list of exclusives, but it's a compelling argument to consider investing in Xbox.
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