I Finally Like My Xbox One

I Finally Like My Xbox One

I didn't realise I hated my Xbox One until I loaded Fallout 3 on it and felt all warm and fuzzy when I saw the Xbox 360 logo and heard the Xbox 360 theme. It was Thursday, and it was the first time my Xbox One has ever made me feel warm and fuzzy. All it took was for Microsoft to start putting an Xbox 360 inside it.

I try not to be a platform loyalist. There are good games you can play only on the Wii U, or only on a PC, or only on your iPhone. But if you made me take a side in the 15-year rivalry between Microsoft and Sony, I would say that I was an Xbox player from 2001 until 2013, when the PlayStation 4 came out.

Like most everyone I know, I've gravitated toward the PlayStation 4 over the past couple of years after preferring the Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 3. The PS4 is where most of my friends and colleagues play. Its menus seem to run faster. It is much easier to share screenshots and game videos from it. What takes a few button presses on a PS4 involves some shouting on a Kinect-enabled Xbox One, followed by a teeth-gritting tour through a kludgy interface to get your images or videos onto the Internet.

Even so, I'm not surprised that I have finally started to hit it off with my Xbox One after an awkward first date. There's a new Halo game. Microsoft has a timed exclusive on the new Tomb Raider. The new dashboard is a much-needed improvement. What I didn't expect was for backward compatibility — limited backward compatibility! — to be the thing that made me think, for the first time ever, that the Xbox One has something important that the PS4 doesn't.

Home consoles should evolve into ecosystems like the iPhone's or the Kindle's (or the 3DS's, or the PC's), where you can buy a new device without having to worry about losing all the stuff you bought on the old version. When I turn on my Xbox One, the backward-compatible Xbox 360 games that I own in digital form now appear in my games folder. I can hop into Fallout 3, Just Cause 2, and Super Meat Boy without changing machines. I can take screenshots — like the one above of the road to Megaton from Fallout 3 — or record videos, and then share them or upload them to my OneDrive account. You can't, alas, use the suspend-and-resume feature that allows you to all but ignore save points on next-gen machines.

That feeling I had on Thursday, of seeing an old friend, was created in part because until then it seemed like my Xbox 360 was gone forever, sentenced to sit unloved and untouched next to its big brother.

We develop feelings for our game consoles and our computers unlike those that we have for any other machine, save for maybe our cars. It's no coincidence that some people name their computers and their cars, but never their coffee makers or their televisions. We touch them, and not just once and quickly. We spend time alone with them. We travel with them to new places. We tell them our secrets. They know us as we really are. This is starting to sound a little gross, and that's why we make fun of people who love their cars and their computers too much. These are the machines we can know intimately — too intimately.

Maybe that's why I couldn't stay mad at my Xbox One for too long, even as most of the games that I own as digital downloads on my Xbox 360 are still locked up. I'd love to be able — really, I ought to be able — to play Bastion, Braid, Limbo, Fez, Brothers, and The Wolf Among Us on my Xbox One. Heck, why not Texas Hold 'em and Uno?

For the first time, my Xbox One now makes me a little angry at my PlayStation 4, rather than the other way around. Sure, Sony ported Journey to the PS4, but why I can't I play my downloaded PS3 version of Okami, or Telltale's The Walking Dead, on my PS4 — or any of my many, many PlayStation Plus games?

It's a small thing, but being able to take screenshots and videos easily of Fallout 3, and then jump right back into Fallout 4, feels terrific. It feels like the kind of thing a new computer or a new phone can do for you: improve the way that you interact with the stuff you already own, in addition to bringing you new ways to interact with new stuff. New game consoles almost never create that feeling. That's why it usually takes a couple years of new game releases for many players to regard them as justifiable purchases.

The buzz I felt yesterday, when I heard the Xbox 360 theme, is irrational nostalgia. But it's entirely rational to want to own a game system that you don't have to restock every five or 10 years. The Xbox One — and heck, the PlayStation 4 — should have felt like this from the start, like an upgrade for your beloved game console, rather than a replacement for it.

Maybe I've been thinking of my Xbox One as an unwelcome stepconsole, because I couldn't forget the one that came before. This week was the first time I thought it might become a member of the family.

I Finally Like My Xbox One

Comments

    I found the original Halo disc for the original xbox on thursday night, and played through the original Halo, on our 360 on the weekend, with my daughter in split-screen. I forgot how much fun that game is, and it is an original xbox title. The nostalgia certainly flooded back, I had forgotten that it would run on the 360.

    The graphics actually looked better than I expected, and after a bit were mostly irrelevant as we co-oped our way through familiar places. She was playing it for the first time, and was barely able to move around for the first few levels, but I was able to keep her alive while clearing the path ahead. It adds a strange amount of emotion and urgency to be running back to save your offspring when they are cornered. By the time we went up the grav-lift, she had the hang of it, and was regularly saving me from perilous situations in the nick of time. She was never interested in first person shooters, but by the end of the weekend, she didn't want to put the controller down.
    It was so much fun, it almost made me miss the old black and green behemoth that was the original xbox.
    Sadly, we can't do that on the new Halo, so we fired up BlOps3 on the PS4, and went splitscreen for half an hour, and marvelled at the graphics etc.

    Next week it is a toss-up whether to co-op through Halo2 or BlackOps3.

    Last edited 16/11/15 9:23 am

      keep going with Halo. Halo3 was the first game me and my son did co-op campaign - great mix of on foot and vehicle combat. Literally lost count how many times we completed it

    It’s a small thing, but being able to take screenshots and videos easily of Fallout 3, and then jump right back into Fallout 4, feels terrific.

    Depends on how you go, I have got Fallout 3 installed via disc (GOTY ed finally worked haven't tried the DLC disc yet) which means to easily flick between I would need to download Fallout 4 digitally(at the extortionate online price), as even though they forced me to download 7GB Fallout I must have the disc in to play.

    So it's get up change disc for me....

      They always said that BC would be a digital download on the x1. The disc is just drm.

      Supposedly the dlc for Fallout 3 (and all BC games) is included in the intitial download of Fallout 3 and it can work out what dlc you own. I'm curious to see how it worked with your disc based dlc, I don't know if they took that into account.

      Last edited 16/11/15 9:41 am

        I wouldn't try explaining. His past posts show he is dead set on being upset about this.

          He's had this conversation a few times and it's a valid criticism people mistake for an angry swipe at the system. I like the system and I'm still annoyed by the fact I have to put the disc in to play Mass Effect. I totally understand why it works this way, it's not a simple process of just converting the info on the disc to be compatible or giving away free digital copies of old games, but as someone who prefers to play digital titles specifically because they're disc-less it's a total buzz kill to have to screw around with discs and downloads.
          It's not inconvenient enough to ruin backwards compatibility for me but there's a noticeable difference between how accessible backwards compatibility games I own on disc and digital purchases are. It's not as bad as having to plug my 360 in obviously but it's on par with having to dig up a set of batteries for the controller every time I want to play.

        And???

        So if I had bought it digitally there wouldn't have been a problem... But I have it physically then had to download the digital version but am not granted the freedom of having the digital version.

        EDIT: Sorry @chivo for pointing out that it isn't as straight forward as in the article.

        EDIT: @grummm_didley it hasn't picked up the DLC off the download, I assume because you usually get the flood of DLC notes when you start it up (if I recall). It may if I install the DLC disc

        Last edited 16/11/15 9:42 am

          Of course not. All of your disc based x1 games act in the exact same way. The disc is now drm even though the game runs entirely off your hdd(s). That's how the x1 works.

          The physical version giving you the digital license was part of the original plan for x1 that everyone screamed at because they didn't want online only (even though you could send the couple of kb with your freaking phone in the worst case scenario).

          What made you think you would get a digital license when you clearly have the disc?

          Edit: @mypetmonkey Ok after googling "fallout 3 dlc xbox one backwards compatibility" the first result is http://www.vg247.com/2015/11/12/microsoft-explains-how-xbox-360-dlc-works-on-xbox-one-with-backwards-compatibility/

          It appears that the dlc isnt in the initial download.
          My games and apps > highlight Fallout 3 > Crack lines/start/menu > Manage game > the dlc you own should be over on the right under "ready to install". It's all there for me to download, 2.2gbs worth.

          Still not sure how your disc based "downloadable content" is going to work, or if the x1 will even recognise that you own the dlc on a disc. Good luck, I have a feeling you're going to need it.

          Last edited 16/11/15 10:13 am

          Does the disc unlock the DLC on the market place (as in you download it) or does it manually add the info to the hard drive? If the former provided you already went through the process on the 360 go to My Games & Apps, find Fallout 3, hit Menu and select Manage Game. Give it a second to check and your DLC should appear in the awaiting installation list.
          If it's the latter I'm not sure what they'll do (probably nothing, unfortunately). They'd have to make it so you download a digital copy of the disc since technically it's a game and the XBOX One can't read it directly. So you'd download the disc, play it to install the content, then I guess delete the disc. Not a fun process.

            I'll try that, sounds logical.

              Good luck, although I don't have much faith in logic with the way this entire system is pretty much a jury rigged chain of exploits. I mean I'm into backwards compatibility and I like that they included it even though it missed the more important launch window, but it's a weird system to get used to.

                I agree.

                I fully understand that even though I've downloaded it I could ship the disc off to 5 people and they all could download the digital as well, thus needing the disc being physical DRM. It still makes backwards compatibility a clunky experience. It's still easier to just have the 360 plugged in.

                For nostalgia sake gaming especially, which I find is my prime use of backwards compatibility its easier to plug your 360 in and play than wait 8 hours for your download to complete so as to play the game that's on the disc.

                It's good, but it's also flawed, it's better than nothing.

          ummm, fallout 4 came with a digital copy of fallout 3 anyway? just use the digital code, then install the dlc from disc - what exactly is the problem?

        I can confirm that the process is as straightforward as it gets on xbone for Fallout 3 DLC (vs on disc add-ons: ODC?). Find the game in your download list, start the install if you wish, then click the menu button, select game hub. Or manage game, I don't know. After a few seconds it will show all the related stuff you've bought, and you can download them individually or all at once. Actually easier than on 360.

    I uploaded my save from the Cloud the other day and installed Fallout 3. I would say it's been at least five years since my last visit to the Capital Wasteland. It renewed me with so much joy. I have since stopped playing Fallout 4 and am now halfway through Point Lookout. BC is the #1 reason to now buy an X1 in my opinion.

    Bought one last week, set it up over the weekend, and I'm not impressed. I've lost track of the number of times where confirmation buttons have flashed on the UI, but then nothing happens for seconds afterwards; or it tells me I'm not connected to the internet even though I was to load the page in the first place; or when I've spent between 30 second and ten minutes looking at a spinny wheel; or when I had to go look up on the internet how to do a seemingly simple thing like take a screenshot or download my past purchases. And after several iterations of UI, it seems that their ads are still more important on the home screen than my pins. And the download speeds are glacial on a 100mbit connection in a way I never experienced with the 360.

    At least the backwards compatibility thing did work quite well - apart from the unreliable nature of syncing the saves.

    It seems that the console is constantly talking to the net to do things. If their services are overloaded - as looks to be the case at present with downloads of their "new experience"? - it's almost unusable. Does not bode well for being able to pull it out of the cupboard in 20 years time.

    I'm sticking with PS4 as my main platform for the foreseeable future. Backwards compatibility isn't going to change that.

    /rant

      To get to your pins quickly from the home screen, hit right trigger. Takes you to "my games and apps" and your pins.

      Installing games that you own digitally isn't difficult. My games and apps > scroll over to the right and look for them under "ready to install".

      Yeah stick where your comfortable, hopefully MS learn their lessons from this gen and make sure the UI and hardware are up to scratch next gen. The ps4 is definitely smoother for the most part.

        I have learnt the right trigger thing, but I found it offensive that they wouldn't let me customise a single box on my main screen on 360, still do now. I had to look up how to find the downloads, was not obvious because of network issues: there's no headers with an empty section or anything, it's either there or it's not.

        I'm one of the ex 360, now PS4 owners mentioned in the article. I just don't understand how they get it so badly wrong. The PS3 was logical, but unresponsive. The 360 was logical, but cluttered. The PS4 is logical and mostly clean, though it could still stand to improve customisation. The xbone is just cluttered and unresponsive. The worst of all its peers.

          I'm pretty sure they muffed it so bad because the people designing the console ui initially either never played on console (solo or with friends in a party or not) or stopped playing on console a long time ago.

          And Don Mattrick.

          For me the new UI is much quicker, I haven't seen a white spinning wheel last more than 5 secs since I went to the new UI about a month ago in the Preview program.

            Yup. Mattrick is pretty much the root cause for the Xbox's problems. And Zynga's problems. Hell, everything he touches really just turns into a smouldering pile of donkey crap.

    Ahahaha Backward compatibility issues. Just toss it and use the PC! issues solved.

      Hard to play the Halo series on PC though.

        Well, Halo 1 and 2 were on PC and are a blast there or on console. But Yes, the rest could be a problem and you both have valid points: Consoles have exclusives, PC's are better at playing old games. :P

    I also just got one last thursday (mainly for Tomb Raider).

    I was pleasantly suprised how darn comfortable the controller is, despite me being a total Dual Shock purist who used to scoff at the assymetrical thumbsticks. Only thing thats annoying is reaching the LB and RB shoulder buttons, which is a little awkward. And also, so gd annoying trying to remember the button layout ABXY. My mind keeps thinking its SNES layout and making me fail those damn timed QTEs in Tomb Raider...

    Anyway, looking forward to giving Halo and Gears of War a try. Never played either in my life. :)

      We had a big conversation here once trying to figure out why some people struggle with the XBOX One shoulder pads. I can't remember the conclusion we came to but try sort of rolling your palm in and pressing the shoulder button with the part of the inside of your trigger finger closest to the knuckle. It's hard to explain but when you get used to it you'll barely ever take your fingers off the triggers.
      As for QTEs there aren't that many which is either a blessing or a curse. You won't get used to the layout so you'll die on most of them, but you won't have to do them very often. The only major one is having to press X sometimes when you don't get a proper grip on the ledge.

        There have been quite a few in the TR definitive edition (which i'm playing alongside Rise). the annoying ones where its hit "Y" at the right time or have your throat ripped out by a rabid wolf. Thankfully havent come across those in Rise yet...

        Thats very interesting abot the shoulder buttons tho. I just picked up the controller to test, and it seems like, as long as you dont try and put your whole finger across it, just the knuckle, its not that hard. Will have to see how it works in practice later...

          Wobble "LS" frigging fast is the one the stuffs me.... Have to drop the damn pad and play it almost like an arcade machine stick.... THEN the hit "Y"...

          Yeah they definitely had more in the first game. On the plus side you'll get to see some great death sequences.

            Dead Space still wins that one.

              I dunno, they really seem to hate Lara and she doesn't have a mask or any sort of protection. Dead Space is 'oh, you got chopped in half' but Tomb Raider is like 'oh, you fell off a cliff and broke your legs, then slipped and fell into a tree and somehow jammed a branch through your eye'.

    Still can’t play a custom soundtrack though. 0/10

    Also how is the new dash a significant improvement?
    To me it’s just the same but vertical.

    Also I hate that I can’t separate my games into any kind of folder system. Between 20+ full retail games, 2 free games a month since launch, some random demos/ betas and now a small sampling of my very large 360 library, my games folder is an absolute mess!

    I do love my Xbone though. I don’t have a PS4 (which would diminish the value of the Xbone significantly) but as a stand alone machine it’s packed with more good games than I have time to play.

    Batman, Witcher, Halo, Fallout, Tomb Raider, MGS in 2015 alone! You can argue that they’d be as good or better on the PS4, but I can’t remember a better year of gaming on any single machine.

      PS4s UI is worse than Xbox ones.
      Also its game selection is worse.
      Soooo...

        The game thing is completely subjective, as is the menu thing, kinda. Both do different things well, but the PS4's is undeniably quicker/ easier.

        Last edited 16/11/15 12:40 pm

        I'd disagree with you on both counts. I only just bought an xbone because it was on sale, and hey, why not. There were many games before now that made me glad I had a PS4 (and no, I'm not going to start listing them), but still none that make me want an xbox (with the possible exception of Tomb Raider, which is a timed exclusive anyway).

        Last edited 16/11/15 12:56 pm

        Why the hell did you downvote me for that?!
        Did you even read what I wrote?

        Both systems have good exclusives and it’s a personal choice thing, most of the best games are mutual anyway.
        I personally think that the likes of Halo, Forza ect are games I like more than the PS4 equivalents, but I wouldn’t complain if the Xbone got The Last of Us Remastered, Bloodborne or Rocket League either.

        You’d also have to be a moron to argue that the PS4 hasn’t consistently bested the Xbone on performance for 3rd party titles.

          Possibly thinks you are a PS4 fanboy just because you said something negative about the X1, even though you are clearly rather objective and own an X1.

          Last edited 16/11/15 1:41 pm

    Looking forward to jumping back in to Fallout 3... right after I finish Fallout 4. Then Tomb Raider.

    I'm just happy I can play Lego Star Wars on on my Xbone now ^_^

      Lol Lego star wars! After playing it on PS2 I kept buying it everywhere, PS3, PC etc, saying I must play it again. I should. Really.

    why wouldn't I play it on pc or the x360? -_-

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