What It's Like To Have An Xbox One At Home Now (If You Work For Xbox)

What It's Like to Have an Xbox One At Home Now (If You Work For Xbox)

If you're a powerful person at Microsoft, you may already have an Xbox One in your home. Such are the perks. What's that like? Two of them talk about it. Of course they're only saying nice things, but this is the best we have for now...

These new (first?) impressions of home Xbox One ownership come up at about 11 minutes into a podcast interview between Xbox hype man Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb (pictured above) and Xbox head of game development Phil Spencer.

To give you some context, they've just been talking about the next week's Gamescom show in Germany, where there will be a short Xbox One event (Spencer promises that, at Gamescom, they'll be "talking about some unique exclusive coming to the platform; we're going to talk about Europe's biggest franchise... we have some stuff." Presumably the franchise he's talking about is FIFA. The exclusive better be Blast Corps 2, but is most probably not and never will be. We'll see.) Spencer also talks about his love of playing DOTA 2 and his happiness with the progress that Xbox One launch game Ryse is making. Their talk is mostly gaming.

And then they get to the whole having-their-next-gen-consoles-at-home-already thing:

Phil Spencer: Like you, I have my Xbox One at home now.

Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb: Right.

Spencer: So I'm getting to use it. It's hard to talk about all of the ways that this console kind of impacts my entertainment experiences…

Hryb: It changes everything.

Spencer: It does change everything. And then I think about games as showing up as a first class form of entertainment for everybody. Because, before, I was really either on my Xbox 360 or on my Comcast TV box. And those two things: never the twain shall meet. There was no overlap. Now, as I'm sitting there playing games, I can instantly go over and watch and see what the Mariners score is or watch something on TV. And vice versa: I'm always socially connected to my [Xbox] Live community, no matter what I'm doing on the box, all of my entertainment comes through the box: movies, television and games. And it's just learning… all of the stuff we've learned about social games on Xbox 360 now comes to every form of entertainment. I'm probably as excited about what this means for TV and movies as I am for just watching games right next to the season debut of Breaking Bad last night. And what a great place for gaming to show up on every television.

Hryb: Yeah, like you said, I've got mine set up at home. We're testing it and we're getting new builds all the time. And I was showing my wife kind of what it was, and she said, 'Wait a minute, I can watch TV…' — obviously she's connected to the gaming industry through me — but when I stepped back and let her use it, she was like, 'Wow, wow…she's like, 'When do I get one?' [And I'm like], 'We'll have one, sweetie, just relax. [Laughs]

Spencer: The simple thing of having my favourite TV shows and they follow with me from box to box as I move around, assuming I ever have more than one Xbox One in the house..

Hryb: Or you go some place else...

Spencer: Or I go someplace else. Or my wife sits down and she's auto-logged in and its her favourite TV shows. And I don't have to remember what channel number such-and-such channel is on. It just knows what I want to watch.

And then they go back to talking about games.

What to make of this?

1) Obviously, Xbox people are going to say lots of nice things about having an Xbox One at home, though I wouldn't be so quick to disregard anything they say just because of that.

2) They seem rather taken by the ability to swap between games and TV, which goes back to the question: Do you/we/I care enough about live TV for this to be a relevant function? And/or, would we go back to watching more live TV with a set-up like this?

3) The features these two men describe rely on a combination of some sort of persistent cable and/or online connection (for the TV stuff), and Kinect (for the auto log-in stuff). If the experience is as great as they're saying, perhaps it'll become more clear once the Xbox One launches why Microsoft used to think that online and Kinect requirement would be appealing to a of customers.

Thoughts? Anyone else out there have an Xbox One in their homes? Or a PS4? Or... I don't know... a new next-gen blender?


    I know someone who has the only Xbox One is Australia in his office. he won't let me break into Microsoft, though... :/

    Most my friends and myself included have multiple Xbox 360's in the house....so I guess it will be the same with the Xbox one

    Sounds like the usual marketing tripe. That said, I am looking forward to the TV stuff. They better not take forever to make it work in Aus though :/

      Agreed, useless to Australians if there's no support

        There will be pretty soon enough, Australia represents a pretty decent market share for them nowadays

          Yeah I guess it could be, but we are 22million in Australia compared to 314million in the US even UK is 63million......but hopefully your right :D

            Given past experience of the Xbox support AND 360 support, I'd hazard probably not, we're a tiny market and not exactly boardroom strategy material.

          Maybe, but I think we'll never be more than an optional region. A bonus if you're willing to go for it but perfectly acceptable to ignore.

      Will the TV stuff work with just Digital TV do you think? Or would you need freeview/FOXTEL or something?

        "But we are looking to cater for the way in which TV is delivered in each market, so whether that's over the air, whether that's through the internet, or whether that's through a Pay TV or a cable set top box, we are ensuring that we can allow for those different services within each market." http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/the-xbox-one-s-tv-functions-will-work-in-australia-at-some-point-1153384
        It'll probably work with free to air. The only question is if it's by hooking up to a set top box or by streaming over the internet.

          From somewhere I read there will be an additional peripheral you'll need to buy, similar to what Playstation TV has now i think. That'll just sit between your TV so it won't be much of a problem I don't think.

            Personally I'm really hoping Microsoft make a DTV tuner like you're suggesting. The majority of Freeview boxes out their blow chunks!

        Well since freeview is just the combination of the free TV channels, that is no obstacle. There is nothing beyond a short contract stopping the Xbone from being a 100% freeview compatible DVR/set top box from day one.
        It won't though, because Microsoft will want more money than the channels are willing to pay. Just a hunch. Foxtel on the other hand, I could totally see coming to an agreement with Microsoft within the first year, in time for Christmas 2014.

      They won't. They'll probably just not bother.

      There's only like 200 people in Australia right?

      I'd suggest that it won't work for Australia (except possibly for Foxtel) over the life of the console. With that said, though, I can't see myself switching between gaming and TV - I regularly use picture-in-picture mode to keep tabs on the footy or the cricket _while_ I'm gaming, but switching between them just sounds irritating and there's no word that it'll handle P-in-P mode.

      With that said, I'm substantially less opposed to the idea of getting an X-Bone now that I can toss away the Kinect - but certainly not until games start to come out for it and almost certainly not until there has been a price drop or two.

      I'm tempted to plug my Foxtel box into it and see how that pans out. Could be awesome.

    There will be no support for Australians.

    Im a gamer i buy a game console to game. If i want to check the tv for something i hit "source" and do so. I can already do that feature without the one.

    Im interested in things that are going to enhance my gaming experience not connect all the other crap in my life with fb,twitter integration.

    And yes im aware sony is doing the whole social thing so its not hate on MS day.

    All Ms is talking about here is a American market.

      There's not support for the Australian market, yet.

      Also, if you don't like the integration with social media, don't use it?

        I understand your comment. Why get upset about something you wont use.

        The reason i speak out on it is because its taking away from R&D that could of been put into things relating to games.

        And the fact that they are pushing it so hard that it has all this social integration is going to be great and a game changer ect ect. when if i want to look at this kind of stuff while playing a console i pick up my phone for two seconds. The other stuff like tv integration isn't going to make it over here for a while and cert not at launch imho. so they are talking to a yanky market in that regard.

        Imho they are moving away from their core function doing this kind of stuff.

        Depends on if it's going to be obnoxious about it. In a perfect world my console wouldn't have anything about Facebook, Twitter, etc on it until I actually went out looking for it. When I got my Surface Pro I wiped the Start screen clear and went after the Apps I actually wanted and was never bothered by stuff like Bing Maps or the Skype app again. I'd love to do the same on the XBOX One/PS4.
        Realistically I expect it'll ask me to enter those details right away when I'm setting up and if I choose not to enter anything that'll be the end of it. There will probably be a tile for all of them placed prominently, but my fear is that it's going tie it to something I use in a way that it's in my face all the time.
        That's why I find the way 'social' features are built into the PS4 a little concerning. If I don't want to use that stuff it's still going to be all over my dashboard, in most of my menus, on my controller. I like coke, I drink coke, but I'd rather not have someone offering me one every five seconds. Get what I mean?

        I'm not outraged about it or anything, but it's got the potential to not be as simple as just not using it.


          Gotta agree with you. It would be nice to be able to customise the dashboard to how "I" the customer would like to see it. And delete all of the rest of the useless crap.

        Pretty sure I saw a HDMI input for cable/tv use in the unboxing video by Major Nelson . The last time I checked my tv signal is sent via an antenna cable not HDMI.

          HDMI cable will be for pay tv services and things like tevo (sp) and dvr im guessing.

      I can envisage playing a game, realising something I wanted to watch is on TV, yelling at kinect "record [insert TV show that won't make me sound lame here]" and then continue playing my game while the xbox records in the background.

      Now that would be the future.

        You'll have to wait another year before they implement Australian accent support to do that, though. ;D

      Heck, MS even said that some of the features are essentially using the X-box One as a command center for your tv and cable box by letting you use kinect's voice commands.

      Doing a quick google search brings up results for voice commanded remote controls for under 100 dollars, and I doubt that motion controlled remotes cost all that much more.

      So yeah, at this point in time, all the major tv features as promoted (rather than just the results of changing channel or input source) can be done for much cheaper with already existing products.

      I'm a gamer with a significant other. When I'm home alone, I game, when she's here we watch TV/Movies. I hate hitting source and going from a smooth console experience to a clunky TV UI. Very much looking forward to having it all in one.

    Can someone give Phil Spencer a new job? He's really doing more harm than good.

    Sounds revolutionary. So much better then pressing the 'source' button on my remote to instantly change to tv

    Number 2 there really does beg the question is it as good as just pressing the AV button on my remote? Don't get me wrong, I've wanted XBOX Live to be on when I'm not using my XBOX for a long time, it's the reason I try to use the XBOX 360 to watch movies instead of the PC's HDMI output when possible, but they're selling it like the advantage is that you don't have to go through the nightmarish process switching inputs.

    Last edited 14/08/13 1:35 pm

      I'm seeing the Xbox ads playing like an infomercial.

      Black and white montage of people struggling with remotes.

      "Tired of fumbling for remotes? Sick of having dozens of remotes and never knowing which one to use?"

      Actor looks at camera as emphatically nods yes.

      Introducing Xbox One! Throw away those old remotes and embrace the power of the cloud today!

        Heh. Like I said, I'm totally on board for the feature, they're just selling it exactly like you said.

        Major Nelson: Gee, I love watching TV but it sure is hard keeping track of all these buttons and working my fingers to the bone pressing them.
        Larry: Well have I got news for you. Not only can the XBOX One make changing channels a breeze, but it'll save you thousands on batteries every year. It'll also protect you from costly house fires caused by IR beams!
        Major Nelson: Wow! That sounds great, but how much can I expect to pay for this life changing device? $50? $60? $100?!
        Larry: $599...

      If you have an AV setup then chances are you might have a remote for the TV, DVR, Receiver and possibly your console. Since the Xbox One can act (thru the Kinect or a separate module I believe) as an IR blaster, you can have it operate functions on other devices that some people currently use universal programmable remotes for. Its not a big deal for everyone but some people will find it both practical and handy to use.

        I've been asking for this for ages, I'm just confused about the way they're pitching it to everyone. What you said just then would be a good thing to talk about. Although I'm not sure if it can actually act as a universal remote. Even if it can't it'll be a good feature.
        Instead they seem hung up on the ability to switch between TV and XBOX, which is a pretty trivial part of it all. Like gamers of all people were sitting around at home struggling to hit the source button. It's like selling someone with a SDTV a HDTV by pointing out digital channels have name tags on them. It's sort of cool but it's literally the least impressive part of what's being done here.

          It was an assumption on my behalf since they have said that there will be IR blaster features that you would be able to, above the basic TV commands, have it switch multiple things if needed in your setup.
          They really do have a lot of awkward messages that don't quite hit the spot tho. I like to hope that the people doing the work are doing a good job and eventually the PR will catch up (hopefully soon).

      I know,

      These hitech TV's nowdays have multiple inputs, and having to scroll through the menu from Hdmi 1 to Hdmi 2 to TV can be challenging at the best of times.

    I think that the problem with the Xbone right now is its working hard to sell us on features were derisive of because we don't know we want them yet. Once the console is in our homes, it'll make sense.

    so they're still banging on about the TV bullshit that real gamers don't give a crap about? good work microsoft...

      "real gamers" Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that people who liked to play video games weren't allowed to like to do anything else. My bad...

        sorry i like my games consoles to be... GAMES CONSOLES... geez...

        I never said people aren't allowed to do other things... I just feel the focus on being able to watch tv via your xbox one is so stupid and pointless, they seem to care more about this crap than the actual games...

        excuse me for having an opinion that is shared by many others i know... enjoy watching tv on your xbox... if/when we eventually even get the functionality to do it in this country...

          They shouldn't need to rant on about games, that's a given in a console. They are trying to point out what makes it different to/better than the competition.
          Just how much can you say when it comes to games other than telling us what they are and showing them. Not a hell of a lot, especially when they are so far from release.
          Getting angry over something that is paid less attention (in marketing and not necessarily in development) because it is essentially a given seems crazy to me.

    " and she said, ‘Wait a minute, I can watch TV…’"

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is such a sexist thing to say about a woman. Acting like she is a total idiot.

    Oh wait, she is married to a Microsoft employee. Nevermind.

    Does it auto logout? That'd cause some problems every time I go get a drink. If it doesn't though won't the XBOX One log me in just for walking past? I dunno, it seems like a feature that would just be sort of annoying because it doesn't have the AI to understand when it should/shouldn't do it. It's like having a your car automatically unlock/lock when you get within or go outside a 20m range. It's cool in theory but unless it can read my mind I'd rather just use the remote to lock/unlock. That said I'm sure auto login will be an option so it won't hurt anything.

      Don't worry, the Kinect will have little legs so it will follow you to the kitchen and watch you, just in case you want to multitask. And to the toilet too. Just in case.

      You can mount a Kinect in every room of your house. That way it knows you're not in front of the TV.

        Maybethe kinect will automatically turn up the volume on the tv if you look away from the screen. Just so it can get your attention. Look at ME damn you!

    So me using PIP to watch sport while gaming is just so yesterday? I'll save the $600 for the fancy remote control brick :P

    Ummmm..been doing this for months . On my WiiU ?? Test cricket on the TV & Pikmin 3 on the gamepad the last month for example...nothing better ( for cricket fans anyway !! ) . Not to mention laying on bed playing as well , and I don't need a TV in there :)

    I think the big thing for me would be being able to play simple games while watching tv. I watch tv where what's actually on the screen doesn't necessarily matter - so long as you can hear dialog, you'll get by.
    Being able to play simple games like, for example, translucent monotone platformers over the tv image would sell me pretty hard. When I was obsessed with Time Crisis and Point Blank on PSX I used to dream of a peripheral where I could use the gun watching free to air, and it'd superimpose bullet holes etc over the picture.
    What if it analysed the picture and created levels based on the content of the image? Kind of like a music visualizer with gameplay?
    It's the integration of the UI between TV and games and these theoretical combinations of the two that pique my interest, not two separate features which don't overlap apart from being run from the same box.

      I like your way of thinking.

      paintball with Flower guns.
      and painting glasses and mustaches on tv characters or playing an ovelayed tetras during the ads.

    "Spencer: So I’m getting to use it. It’s hard to talk about all of the ways that this console kind of impacts my entertainment experiences…

    Hryb: It changes everything."

    Ugggh. Sticky masturbatory marketing talk is sticky.

    If the Kinect sees that you have left the room, it will stop loading your game, to save power.

    Seriously we are talking about TV?
    I already have a TV I only care about the games.

    Microsoft has lost the plot, have you forgotten the Xbox One announcement? TV, TV,TV, TV,TV, TV,TV, TV,TV, TV, Sports, TV, TV, Sports, Sports, Sports, TV, TV,TV, TV,TV, TV,TV, TV.
    With the Kinect costing almost as much as the console they have compromised the performance and day one it will be behind outdated and under-performing unable to run Unreal 4 properly.

    Kinect is a gimmick that is a Trojan Horse, invading your privacy with the NSA and Microsoft relationship.

    Sell the Xbox One without Kinect and all my friends and I may consider it, otherwise keep
    your Spybox.

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