The Xbox One X Is Fighting A Battle It Can’t Win

The Xbox One X Is Fighting A Battle It Can’t Win

Image: Alex Walker/Kotaku

Every generation of consoles has its ‘default’.

Sometimes that default is difficult to define, other times it’s clear as day.

PlayStation 2: default. Obviously.

Super Nintendo? Probably default. A close run race. Plenty had Mega Drives. Blood in the playgrounds that one. A dark time for the empire.

PlayStation 1. Default.

Xbox 360. Default.

Being the default console for an entire generation is more than a numbers game. Sales plays into it obviously, but it’s a cultural thing. Default means you have the controller everyone’s used to. It means that when buying Call of Duty or FIFA or that game you play with your mates who play video games for one month of the year, you buy it on default.

Crucially, nowadays it means you have the User Interface people are more used to.

It’s no secret Microsoft has had a tough go this time around. I think we can be honest about that. From the day it was announced the Bone has been mired with controversy. Always online, Kinect. Rioting in the streets. Incredibly Microsoft made the precise same mistakes Sony made from their default position. “We’ve got the gamers cornered, let’s go for the mainstream, let’s get that living room”. It backfired. Obviously. Hindsight is 20/20.

It was bizarre in a sense, the 360 snatched Microsoft its very first default title when Sony made similar mistakes. Somehow Microsoft decided they’d repeat history by making the precise same mistakes they capitalised on 10 years earlier. Round and round we go. Incredible when you think about it: gigantic tech corporations are just as prone to ignoring history as regular people.

Only now it’s a little different. The stakes feel higher. Last generation spanned longer than any generation I can remember. 10 years give or take. This generation might last even longer. Consoles are different now – less of a discrete concrete object, more of an evolving brand. Not only are we watching our consoles update and change in real time, we’re buying new versions of them. Xbox One S, PlayStation 4 Pro…

The game is changing, but the changes are more incremental, they come faster but somehow slower. We have every reason to believe that the boxes sitting under our TVs right now might the same ones sitting there ten years from now. Evolved, slightly different maybe, but most likely an evolved version of what we already have.

One thing for sure: the future is less certain. And the battle for default is a battle Microsoft may have already lost.

The Xbox One X Is Fighting A Battle It Can’t Win

I guess you could say I’m reviewing the Xbox One X, but I’m really reviewing my own hardwired preferences.

I’m sitting with the Xbox One X and it’s a beautiful piece of kit. The original Xbox One was clunky, heavy, bloated with its own hubris. The ‘X’ is sleek, smaller, almost apologetic. A shrunken exercise in humility.

It’s black. It’s shiny. It fits neatly with the consoles in my entertainment unit. The original Bone was picking fights like a hormonally charged elephant, The Xbox One X just wants to get along.

But it’s powerful too, that’s obvious from the get go.

As someone who recently bought a 4K OLED, I’ve become addicted to the ‘holy shit’ moments that come with crystal clear resolution, deep blacks and an increased colour range. The Xbox One X has delivered many of those moments.

Forza 7 is the one I remember most fondly. I was in shock for the first five minutes, before remembering I actually hate racing simulators and can’t drive for shit. I found myself wondering: “what if I actually cared about this game?”

Jesus Christ, I might never leave this chair.

FIFA 17 looked great. Assassin’s Creed: Origins looked great. Everything I downloaded and played looked great, regardless of whether I enjoyed the games or not.

I quietly wondered what it would feel like when the dizziness of new technology faded. I shook those thoughts out of my head and went back to enjoying video games. Because the Xbox One X is very good at running video games in all their splendour.

And it plays 4K Blu-rays, a wrinkle that feels important right now, but might diminish in importance as internet speeds and an abundance of streaming content have us relying less on physical media.

Still, nothing I’ve streamed on Netflix looked as good as Planet Earth II and I suspect it will be a long fucking time before anything on any other streaming service comes close.

In short, the Xbox One X feels like a console made for a person like me, with my current circumstances: a brand new TV, a lot of games to play, and horny as fuck for black levels and HDR content.

The Xbox One X Is Fighting A Battle It Can’t Win

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you the story I’ve been telling everyone when they ask my about the Xbox One X.

It was the first time I turned the thing on. Fresh from plastic, cardboard strewn throughout my living room. It’s 2017. Times are different. I know the drill. I knew my Xbox One X would start life downloading and installing a meaty update. I wasn’t offended by that.

I was, however, troubled by the user interface.

The rigmaroll of updates done and dusted, I decided to explore the settings, to check I was at the right resolution, that HDR was working, that everything was to my liking.

It took me 15 minutes to find the settings in the Xbox One X.

15 long frustrating minutes.

The Xbox One X review unit came with around a dozen game codes, which I was keen to start downloading. I queued up around five or six meaty 40-50GB downloads. Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Forza 7, Gears of War 4…

This’ll be a while I thought. Perfect time to check out Planet Earth II in glorious 4K resolution. I put in the disc.

Which wouldn’t run until I went to the store and downloaded the Blu-ray app. This elected an actual, legitimate weary sigh from me. Incredible that a console like this, with 4K Blu-ray at the heart of its proposition, wouldn’t play discs straight out of the box. Utterly mindblowing. But sure, never mind. Let’s download the app.

Of course I’d forgotten that the app was now queued behind five ponderous 40GB downloads. I might be waiting a while.

The solution was obvious right? Just pause the other downloads and get the Blu-ray one finished quicksmart, right.

Right, except that it took another ten minutes for me to find exactly where that download queue was.

10 minutes.

A couple of days later I decided to play the games that had been quietly downloading over the past 48 hours. I was keen to start enjoying this console for what it presumably did best – play video games.

It took me an uncomfortably long time to find those video games.

Things I stumbled across before finding the video games I had downloaded and therefore owned: Netflix apps, movie content, app store… Random Twitch streams featuring random Twitch streamers playing the video games I should have been playing at that precise moment.

It seemed like a perfect illustration of skewed priorities. Of an interface more concerned with what it could sell than providing a clean, workable service to the user. I don’t consider myself a tech savant, but I’m not an idiot either. If I can’t find my games, what chance does a casual user like my wife have? Or my four-year-old son, who has no problem navigating the Nintendo Switch or the PlayStation 4?

I’m finding it difficult to rationalise. Every time I tell this story I get mixed responses. Some agree, “yes, the Xbox UI is brutal and impossible to penetrate.” But a few other: “I find it more accessible than the PlayStation 4”. I’m unsure if the Xbox One user interface really is as bad as I think it is, or if I’m simply a victim of my own preferences.

Either way, it feels like I’m in the majority. With the PlayStation 4 I feel comfortable. The controller sits easily in my hand and I navigate tabs with ease. But each and every time I turn on the Xbox One X there’s a learning curve, and habits too stubborn to break.

It might be unfair (actually it is unfair) but that’s the advantage that comes with being default.


  • Ugh yea, who ever designed on the XB1 the user interface or lack of no pre-installed ‘essential’ apps needs to be repeatedly shot. Switching between the 360 and the one feels like a kick in the nuts and I still dont understand MS’s lack of cusomtisation. At this point I’d even prefer them to have a windows 7 tablet front screen. Also I too did the same when Halo 5 came out, casual 60 gig update, oh I’ll just play another game while it updates in the background, nope, required update, oh another game? Nope required update.

    • Both platforms were just as bad in terms of scaling down utility wise. My Ps3 was the centre of my entertainment unit for a long time due to how fleshed out it was, but my Ps4 comes far behind my Chromecast and Steamlink.

  • The PS4 menu has some wilfully stupid design about it, but the xbone takes the cake. I’ve had one since launch and it has been an ever-changing cavalcade of crap. So many nested menus and roundabouts, it’s awful every time you want to do anything, and you know a Windows desktop UI would fix it all.

    Weirdly, nintendo has veen nailing the UI since the wii. Easy, concise, has everything you need. Wii U was incredibly slow, sure, but for everything from netflixing to web browsing to actually finding your games it was miles ahead.

    The switch really needs those apps. It’s so zippy, but there’s less to zip around to. And the snes mini has highlighted the lack of whimsy/music.

    • I love how Switch pauses your games when you sleep it. The system boots and it’s two button presses and you are back in the game. I barely have to see the UI at all. The only time I use it is to switch out my user icon now and then. I’ll usually check in on playtime tallies at that point to. That’s about it.

      As for your blu rays looking better? They will for a long time. Stuff can stream in 4K, but the bitrate won’t match your physical media for a long time. Planet Earth II is stunning in HD, I can only imagine how good it would look in 4K with HDR. Maybe I’ll have a new box to watch it on when Planet Earth III hits.

      • Yeah it’s something else man. I just bought an LG OLED and jesus wept. Planet Earth II looks SO fucking good.

        • The worst thing about owning UHD 4K Planet Earth 2 is that it makes everything else that claims to be UHD 4K look like pure crap. If I were just comparing, say… Spiderman Homecoming to what most Netflix ‘4K’ streams look like, I’d be stoked. But I’ve seen Planet Earth 2, now. My eyes know what’s possible.

          • Try connecting a mini-SNES, and feel your eyes start to bleed looking at the ugly mess of graphics. My eyes hurt, but I still have a happy nostalgic grin on my face after playing 🙂

        • I can’t wait to try it out sometime. No upgrades planned for the present though. I tend up upgrade with Nintendo hardware, a bit behind the times. Hit HD in time for the Wii U etc.

          On an unrelated note, how good are croissants? mmm.

        • LG’s oled is really something else. I’ve got the 3d version and it converted me to that format. So much better than 3d in the movies and actually more fun to watch than 4k streams.
          Netlfix 4k stream bit rates are only about 15mbps. A 1080p blu ray is about 23-25 mbps avg, so they also look a lot better. 4k discs are about 80mbps if i recall, either way much higher than 1080p blu rays or any netflix stream.
          We need physical media, these online streams just don’t do theses tv’s justice.

        • Yo Serrels, I am looking at a TV upgrade actually…Can you do a lil story on some TV comparisons for the avid TV watcher AND gamer. Maybe chuck a few different price points in there, a few pros and cons, maybe a link or two so I can just straight up buy it and then maybe a little bit of a deliver to my house and install in my wall.

          thanks. Also, serious about all of it except the install.

        • So maybe it’s time to actually make an article that shows how a “5Mbps+ for Netflix HD” doesn’t compare with a 1080p bluray that has 40Mbps+ on the video and 5+Mbps on the audio alone.

          And maybe add in something about UHD blurays being from mostly non-4K master.

          You know, remind people that even in 2017 the 4K content is tremendously lacking.

      • I know the PS4 can do this when you put it in sleep mode – but the setting is buried in the menus and is off by default. Made a big difference to usability, once I found it.

  • I got confused by what this article was about until I’d read most of it. The xbox 360 sold less than either PS3 or Wii, if it is still “default”, then I don’t understand the concept, and think its relevance to what is essentially a critique of the Xbox One X UI is pretty weak.

    How about just a heading “The power of the Xbox One X is let down by its clunky user interface”, and then start the article from “It was the first time I turned the thing on…”

    • I think the 360 was ‘default’ in the US, although the PS3 sold more in Europe. No idea about Australia…

      …but in absolute fairness, if we’re talking pure hardware units, the Wii won that generation.

    • I’m doing some mental gymnastics but maybe the 360 was the default for multi-plat games, since it generally ran them slightly better (and in a few cases much better) than the PS3 did.

      You may be right about the sales though. Since Sony stopped releasing specific sales numbers for PS3, it was last listed at 83.8 million versus the 360’s 84 million, but seeing as how the PS3 had more momentum than the 360 towards the end of its life, it is fairly safe to assume the PS3 passed by the 360 at some point after November 2013.

      • At launch, the X360 was A$650 for the 20GB model. A year later, the PS3 launched at A$830 for the equivalent 20GB model, or $1000 for the 60GB model. With Australian warranty laws effectively negating RROD issues as more of an inconvenience than a “have to buy a new console” situation, and the year headstart the X360 had, you’d generally go for the X360 if you were choosing between the two systems and mostly interested in multiplat games.

        It took a few years, new SKUs and a few price drops before the playing field levelled out, which is why the end-of-generation sales figures are so close – the PS3 made a huge comeback in the second half of the generation.

        • Interestingly I don’t think the PS3 was ever cheaper than the 360 at least not any n time I ever noticed the price.

          I’ve seen a similar pattern this year – after years of being cheaper the base PS4 is now more expensive than the base Xbone!

    • The xbox 360 had a much, much stronger launch than the ps3.
      At the end of the 2nd year they had still outsold PS3 at a ration of 2:1. By that stage it was the default.

    • It’s just an opinion. For me the PS3 was default but that’s just because I bought one and couldn’t justify more than 1 console.

      So now I have a PS3, PS4 pro and a wii u. Obviously 🙂

      I really liked the media playing capabilities of the PS3. Great console.

  • I think you’re right Mark… about it being based on preference.
    Xbox has been my default this gen, i have a ps4 but the xbox remains my primary console.
    I find the xbox ui straight forward… where as the ps4 ui annoys the piss out of me… and it’s the same with the controller.

    I think you’re also right about them having to fight an entrenched user base.

    I look at it as a series of steps though.
    The built a list of every complaint about the xbox, & are working their way down it fixing each one in turn.

  • Those people who find the xbone UI more intuitive than the PS4 UI are either liars, or xbone natives whose only experience with the PS4 is two minutes on a friend’s machine, so they have no actual basis for comparison.

    It seemed like a perfect illustration of skewed priorities. Of an interface more concerned with what it could sell than providing a clean, workable service to the user.
    This seems to be a fair part of why the UI is fucking horrible garbage. Say I want to watch a blu-ray… “First, navigate to the store.” Say I want to… honestly, do anything. “First, navigate to the store.” Make sure you have to go past the social side on your way there, so you can get a nice twitch-sponsored dose of FOMO. See some things you’d like to buy on your way to the store, so you can shop when you get there. Like why electronics are in the back of department stores, so your eye catches higher-margin stuff on the way there.

    “Why should I advertise on XBL?”
    “We can guarantee you X number of eyeballs viewing your ad on their way to various UI functions.”

    That, and trying to maintain some sort of broader Windows UI/design cohesion has resulted in the worst console UI I’ve ever seen. Ever. And I own a DS.

    • I use my Xbox once every 3 months and every time I turn it on the UI is different. Gotta find every thing all over again.

    • I’m neither a liar nor a casual user of the PS4. I own both systems and adamantly believe that the Xbone UI is miles better than the PS4.

      I literally only use the PS4 for exclusives. For me, everything else is just better on the Bone.

      • Have to agree with Tonez here, ps4 ui is terrible. My 4yo twins have no problem using the xbox but have always steered clear of the ps4.

      • Well hell… Stockholm syndrome, perhaps? Especially with that last part…

        I mean, in framerate/performance and resolution/other visual effects, cross-platform titles almost universally run better on the PS4 than every xbone bar the new one. That’s not personal preference, that’s objective. A matter of fact.

        • Yet the reality is your already playing at pretty low resolutions, frames and effects. Whilst the stock PS4 vs Xbone the PS4 comes out better, the reality is for most its indistinguishable, and comes down to preferences like controller.

          And by golly, the Xbox has the better controller by far.

        • dude, give it a rest.

          Stop trying to justify your purchase, if you dont like xbox, go comment elsewhere.

          There is always one who has to try and peacock

          • Why on earth would anyone need to ‘justify’ the decision to purchase a machine that has better specs and performs better? Especially when I already own the xbone, xboneS, and will likely get the xXboneXx if the PS5 looks to be too far off?

            You’re the one making this about tribalism, mate.

          • Stockholm syndrome perhaps?

            Dude, read what you write before you start accusing others.
            Every post you have written has been biased against xbox users, interfaces and systems.
            You are clearly in love with sony, and that’s cool bro, good for you.

            bit rich to try and sway the conversation accuse me of tribalism though.

            try again.

          • You don’t have to be in love with Playstation to hate Xbox.

            I just hate that my console was designed as an ad platform first, gaming machine second.

          • Im confused. Th only ads i see are for xbox gold subs on the home page.
            Do you people have you console region set to US?

            I for the life of me do not see any advertisement on the front page – unless its for wathc this movie, see this on netflix.

            and my point being was, all @transientmind has been doing is replying with PS is better blah blah blah,

      • Add me to Team Tonez. My PS4 sits underneath my TV like a glorified Netflix box, while the ever-evolving Xbox UI has added features that I didn’t even know I wanted again and again.

        • They do make great Netflix boxes, My old ps4 is a netflix box while my ps4 pro/ pc are 4 games, I really don’t have a reason for a xbone but i did like the 360 despite it’s tendency to die but my old ps4 was dud that failed twice. Only reason i have the ps4 pro was as a present to replace the unreliable old present ps4 lol. Gosh Consoles dying is a horrible experience that i wish on my enemies lol.

    • I also own both systems, the PS4 UI is nightmarish, and hence the Xbox gets used much more for day to day duties.

      Still not sure on the latest UI update for Xbox though – more things need to come back to the default home UI IMO.

    • oh because, you know, your thought experiences and opinions are the only ones that matter.
      PS4 is a joke, barely updates, barely any codec support, took two years for an external hdd.

      that stupid ribbon menu? its crap. the way it display the lists – crap.

      Xbox might be clunky, but i personally find it far more intuitive.
      But of course, i must be lying.

  • Just pointing out, not having the blu Ray app installed by default is a money thing. M$ have to pay for everyone who downloads the app to blu Ray, in the form of royalties.

    It’s a smart move not installing. Not everyone uses the console for DVDs. Those who do, m$ is happy to pay for you. Those who don’t. M$ saves a few bucks.

      • I have no idea what the cost is, but say it’s $1 per app download. They save $40m. For something as simple as pressing install in an app that takes like 15 seconds to download. It’s a small price to pay

    • Yep agree 100%, Also, most blu-ray devices require some sort of update to get new discs to play properly, be it firmware or software, that’s just the nature of the beast with the bd-live functions and the bluray security key updates.

  • It’s kind of amazing, in a terrible way, how Microsoft have made the UI for both the 360 and XBone progressively worse with each update. 360 had that funky, quick-to-navigate Blades menu, then they ruined with ‘New XBox Experience’ and that nightmarish ‘Metro’ UI thing.

    The XBone just seems to keep getting progressively worse versions of the old Windows 8 UI that I thought MS had thrown out wholesale with Windows 10. It took my Dad a good five minutes the other day to figure out how to actually switch users on the damn thing.

    Just stop ruining your otherwise nice consoles with awful UI, Microsoft.

  • It’s surprising that if you’re struggling to locate your games and apps under the “games and apps” sections of your XB1, that you don’t struggle similarly on the PS4 and its “Games Library” section. Both platforms take a similar approach in that they put recent items on display, and if you want older items, you have to go looking for them. That’s not a dig at the PS4 UI – I have both platforms, and find their interfaces to be (mostly) equally intuitive, but to hear that you struggle so badly with one relative the other suggests that maybe it’s not the UI you’re struggling with so much as a new system in general.

    As for installing the Blu-ray app – I don’t actually get why that is a problem. It’s a games machine, first and foremost, with optional media features. If you want to use those features, you install them. Storage space is already at a premium, especially with 4K content on offer – why consume it unnecessarily? You’d then have people complaining about having to uninstall stock apps that they didn’t even want to begin with.

    • PS4 UI has a dedicated ‘Games Library’ tab on the main ribbon – you just have to scroll left a few times. I don’t even know where Xbox One UI keeps its games library. (I’ve only managed to find it by pressing the Xbox button on my controller.)

      • All you need to do is say “Xbox, start [NAME OF GAME]” into your Kinect and it should work. That’s how I do it in PS4 if the game is not right there on the home screen.

      • pretty sure its right there on the home screen…….games and apps tab. or like you said, press the guide button. Surely not 10 mins of searching?

        I love the ps4 but gee, ps controllers are pure trash. For a guy with big hands i find them just awful. I think its the aligned sticks that gets me.

      • or you know, hit the home button and left stick down once to Games and apps.

        How is that so hard? its not even as buried as the PS4

      • If you want to get to your games library on Xbone from the home screen starting position tap down (either with the left stick or dpad) ONCE!

        Who knows why they keep designing such obtuse and impenetrable menus

      • Just press “down” on the D-Pad once and like magic you have highlighted “My games and apps”.
        Select it with the “A” button and you will instantly see all games that are currently installed.
        If you would like to see games owned but not yet installed from here, just press “down” on the D-Pad 3 more times and you will have highlighted “Ready to Install”. Now You will see the games and shouldn’t have too much trouble downloading.

  • I’m not a huge fan of the latest Xbox update. The second UI update was nice though, everything on that system was 2 clicks away. Some things are nicer though, and maybe it might evolve a little more into something useful.

    Incumbency is a powerful factor, but I don’t believe the whole ‘UI wins’ thing is the biggest issue, especially considering the sh I t show from competitors like the PS4’s UI.

    XB’s problem is and will continue to remain games. MS really needs to start looking at acquisitions if it wants to bolster its library.

  • “The Xbox UI is brutal and impossible to penetrate.”

    Never were truer words spoken. I just bought an XBox One S and was blown away by how cluttered and counterintuitive that UI is. Never had an issue with the PS4 or Switch.

  • this is a strange read. it seems like you were upset that you had to download a lot of things and that they are big (but if you want a beefy machine capable of giving you things that look pretty this is the cost for that).

    As for having a frustrating UI, that is pretty much this generation in a nut shell. Just look at this generation of Windows compared to a few years ago, on one level it is far more complex but even more so, everything seems hidden. (a move that started with their contextual menus from a few Offices ago). Likewise Apple does this with so many of their programs, see especially itunes, everything is thoroughly hidden compared to how it was years ago. So many games do this now as well, so much details are hidden a few windows deep. Dragon Age III is a perfect example.

    That said, I run a PS4pro when I turn the machine on, there are my games, I pick one and play. Nothing every seems too far away or hard to work out, however while when I visit my nephew and play his Xbox the UI is so busy and full of clutter, and worse, advertising EVERYWHERE.

    On PS4 the games you own are front and centre, you have to go in search of advertising. on Xbox advertising for the games dont own take centre stage. I am too old and too smart to appreciate that obvious lack of subtlety.

    • It’s the advertising on the xbox main page that I really hate. I don’t own one and to be honest, have only seen them operating a handful of times, but every time I can’t get over how many ads for crap they have right there on the main screen.

  • This reminds me of trying to use a mac. I have to do an internet search for such esoteric actions as ‘how to print from a mac’ etc etc.

    I just have no idea how they laid out that OS but I know people who’ve been using macs for years and they just love it.

    • I grew up in a household which only had macs. I remember the old one piece black and white ones.
      Switched to PC the moment I had independence and money.
      Macs are frustrating to use because everything revolves around ‘look we are different’ at the expense of common sense.

      • That’s definitely how it feels to me. Same with the phones. I have an iphone for work and I really don’t like it. It’s like being force fed baby food. Sure it’s simple. But it’s gross.

      • Omg macs are frustrating, It’s exactly as you say, I hate using Itunes now because it went counter intuitive. Granted i haven’t updated Itunes in ages because of fear it will get worse, A mac is like a car that has the steering wheel in the backseat lol.

    • File > Print…..surely not that hard?

      I was a Windows user and switched to Macs, I find them much more intuitive. Windows (at least traditionally) buries everything in menus whereas Macs have them where you’d expect.

  • Just holding out for that PSX (PS5), with 4K Blu-ray player… come to papa.. I’ve found the improvements in the last 6 months to the PS interface quite amazing.. They’re REALLY listening to their users and creating a kickass UX.

  • If you’ve it a bad review because it takes you 15+ minutes to find the settings menu, the problem isn’t the console.

  • “Right, except that it took another ten minutes for me to find exactly where that download queue was” – Seriously? its on the main homepage it literally says “downloadling xxx and the %” how can you miss it? 10 minutes bs.

    • Poor journalism, poor investigation.

      Pandering to PS4 people, clearly inept.

      How can you take 10 minutes to find settings, games and apps and download queue?
      Push the home button and they are all there in front of you.

      Push the cog for settings, one of the first things you see when you push the home button
      Games and apps, directly below the ‘home’ button on the screen

      Seriously, do you guys get proof read, fact checked? because if you are a games journalist, you sound pretty out of your depth here.

      • Calm down.
        What is intuitive to one person is utterly confusing to another. I’ll bring up the example of Apple computers.

        • Thank you. How intuitive a UI is differs from person to person. Also, the people complaining obviously have memorised where things are, which actually makes it memorisation more than anything

  • I’m normally pretty forgiving about salacious articles on Kotaku, and Serrels normally gets an unconditional free pass from me – but this is just … wrong.

    It feels bad, man. Basing an assessment for a mid-cycle upgrade on generational logic, comparing design failures against each other when the faults of one are replicated against the other. And not to mention evolving the narrative from a business failure to a commentary on UX … I … I just don’t know where to go with this.

    I’m going to frown a bit. Write this comment and probably dwell on it for the next 45-55 minutes … maybe this is just the first time I’ve been caught up in Serrels universal hate of everything. 🙁

    • Jesus Christ I don’t hate everything!

      This wasn’t supposed to be a traditional review, there’s plenty of those around. I just feel like there’s a broader story here about User Interface and how the most successful console tends to dominate what people think is useful or helpful in a UI.

      I try to make that point: I’m still not convinced the Xbone UI is terrible. The comments savaging me backs that up! It’s just hard to switch back after years of using the PS4. That’s the problem of losing those early few years in the conversation.

      I mean of course if you’re using the Xbox every day it seems insane that a regular functioning human being would have problems finding where the settings were or how to find the games, yet I keep hearing that story — not just from me, others as well. It’s all part of that broader issue — when you lose power over that default position, it’s difficult to regain traction if you’re a console trying to do a similar thing to your competitors.

      I am not sure if any of that makes sense.

      • Hey, you can’t just write an article with an opinion suffering from mine! You write it down as though it is fact and I find it as a personal attack on me!

        That is what I am hearing. What I leaned from the article is that you personally found the menu counter intuitive and you’re wondering if they can fix it.
        Before anyone yells at me, I own an xbone. Personally, I have no issues with the ui of it, or ps4 or any of my consoles. Give me an apple product though and I am useless.

      • It’s ok Serrels. Don’t listen to the arbiters of what is and isn’t journalism.
        Article is an opinion piece. I think you’re allowed to do that 🙂

      • Yep, the posts all saying, it’s easy to find games, just press home then down on the D-Pad!
        Of course, so simple… except if you haven’t done that before, then it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

        The combination to my bike lock is easy, its just 4 digits, it only takes me seconds to unlock it, I don’t know why it took you 40 minutes to unlock my bike, without knowing the combination!

        I haven’t seen anyone here who likes the ads on the front page of the XB, its a game console, and it hits you with ads and then makes you look for, or memorise the way to get to your games. That alone put me off enough that it ends up not getting turned on.

      • Yea don’t sweat it man, you keep writing those Serrelicious articles and observation pieces. Some people just can’t see past their own biases.

  • PS4 UI is ok, I wouldn’t rave about it but it doesn’t annoy me.
    PS4 is my default console because it simply has better games.

    • I agree, the Xbone UI is a PoS though, I’ve just read this review and nodded to myself several times. It’s not just me who had this issue it seems. I bought a Gears Of War One S and was so excited to get it after loving my 360 but buying a PS4 first. After Gears died online so much faster than it did on 360 (which were busy for years) and Halo 5 was dull as, I found my One S fast became irrelevant. Halo Wars compounded this. I let it sit in storage for a year whilst we waited to move into a new place and pulled it out recently wondering why I ever cast it out only to try and navigate the menus and I swear I had the exact same experience that the OP describes here. I can add one more though, my One S doesn’t install anything any more. Every time I switch it on I find that it has restarted a 25gb update for Halo Wars, it still hasn’t installed a game I bought over a year ago. I give up, I’ll take it on the chin and just use it as a Plex client as it seems to stream nicer over wifi than my Pro does.

  • It sounds like you need to use your Xbox more, I have never had an issue finding any of the above. Sounds like the cuphead tutorial to me ????????‍♂️

  • This article encapsulates the issue I occasionally have with Kotaku

    There’s a natural bias here towards playstation and it permeates every aspect of this site from articles like this, the “This week in games” segment which routinely ignores digital releases on the xbox, the general discussion of the state of the industry which is obviously from the point of view of a group of writers whose preferred console is Playstation.

    Its so blatant at times you’d wonder why Sony would spend any ad dollars here when they just get so much free endorsement!

    It is what it is but you have to read this website with the understanding that it is incredibly subjective.

    • It’s not necessarily a bias. Last generation I played all my multi-platform games on 360 (as did most of the people I know). This generation I play most of my multi-platform games on the PS4. Mainly because they historically ran better on the the 360 and now they run better on the PS4.

      Honestly, that might change now that I have a Pro and an X underneath my TV. I use the console that provides me with the better experience. Until now that’s been the PS4 and that’s my point: the fact that I (and many others) have been conditioned to use the PS4 makes things difficult for the Xbox One X. That’s exactly the point I’m trying to make here.

    • What bias? The PS4 is the leader of the two in popularity and sales. Stands to reason it gets coverage.
      Plenty of switch articles too, it being the the third and most unique console.

  • This article really hits the nail on the head about user interfaces on the PS4 and Xbone. I had a PS4 and that was a little bit of a mess, but I just bought an XBone and it is just 90% advertising stuff that you don’t have.
    I’m not sure what they are going for. Are they really selling movies on that thing when there are so many other streaming options out there? They seem to be targetting people who can afford a 4k TV and a XboneX and buy a few games for it, but don’t have the money to buy a stand alone streaming device which would have a much better media interface and support many more streaming apps. Given such devices are around $100, and they are already forking out at least $2k for the setup, that is a very narrow market.

  • I just don’t know why the damn THIRD revision of the Xbone controller has such shitty plastics. If I wave my stick around the noise permeates my eardrums and entire house. PS4 plastic feels like royalty in comparison.

    A ‘premium experience’ (with premium price) Xbone X with that shitty plastic controller feels like a Lambo with a Prius steering wheel.

  • I stopped reading when you claimed the SNES and MegaDrive were close, yet crowned the 360 the undisputed winner of its generation. Clearly no idea. Go research the numbers.

  • Poor Xbox, it’s the ignored middle child of this console generation.
    Big sister PS4 had the good looks and was ever so popular for it.
    Little sister Switch is fun and cute and makes everyone smile.
    But poor old Jan just doesn’t have any friends in the games media.

  • Well this thread has devolved into a fan boy fuck fest lmfao, I’ll throw in my 2 cents, the Dual Shock 4 is trash compared to any Xbox pad and both UI’s are fine, come at me!

  • I always had Xboxs and the Ps4 is the first sony console I’ve ever owned. Xbox One at launch has left the worst taste in my mouth, I don’t think I’ll ever buy an Xbox again. Its like a fucking sports advertisement shit heap with no exclusives. I truly hope they improve going ahead because competition is good but fuck ever buying an Xbox. Its the big fat commodore of consoles.

    Microsoft need to spend all their money, time and effort on their first party studios making games quick smart. Xbox might have a bigger dick but its not a better dick, it hurts and its boring.

  • What? The 360 wasn’t the default platform last generation. The only area it sold better than the PS3 in was North America, and even there it was almost 50/50.

  • I like you Mark but seriously? 10 MINUTES to find the games section? Like… what? It’s literally on the first screen you see once you turn the console on. It says MY GAMES AND APPS. How the hell did you miss it?! It’s stupidly obvious.

  • “a wrinkle that feels important right now, but might diminish in importance as internet speeds and an abundance of streaming content have us relying less on physical media.”

    Currently I’m scheduled for FTTN NBN on June 2019, so I expect this is still going to be important for some of us for at least 2 more years!

  • Spot on….. its all been over complicated, Apps Apps & more Apps to load (The most powerful console )to date… We have the power to load more and more apps.
    Einstein would have had a problem with this set up what is it these Americans Say its a Cluster Suck… We Scots say Less is more, Its a Generation Of abused Technology & Its all Built for Apps, They Ruined what used to be a games console.. Instant Game play made easy would be to much to ask….. They have took it to far…Remember when they remove the Start button on Windows, Its the same clowns just a different performance, I rest my case.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!