Goodbye To The Xbox One, The Most Pointless Console I Have Ever Owned

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Goodbye To The Xbox One, The Most Pointless Console I Have Ever Owned
Image: Kotaku

I moved house last year, and while packing everything away my wife and I made a simple rule: if anything was still in its box 12 months later, we would get rid of it, because that meant we never used it and didn’t need it. Last month, I sold my Xbox One.

I remember lining up at midnight to get it at launch back in 2013, excited to be completing my next-gen lineup having bought the PlayStation 4 the week before. I spent $550 on it — cheaper than a Series X this time around, but still a lot for someone with two small kids, a mortgage and a game journalist’s salary — but did so on the basis that, hey, the last two Xbox consoles I’d owned had been fucking amazing, so this one would probably be worth it too.

It wasn’t. Within weeks it was collecting dust. Within months it was, aside from the odd professional use, almost forgotten.

Microsoft’s bizarre early obsession with live TV support and apps for the console was useless to me in Australia. Kinect support was, as it had been on the Xbox 360, an answer looking for a question. Oh, and most importantly, I wasn’t playing any games on it.

For the first and hopefully only time in over 30 years of owning video game consoles, I never bought a single game for the Xbox One (I was sometimes sent review code, and the console came with a copy of FIFA 14). And never had much reason to! Multiplayer games tended to be better on PlayStation 4, both technologically and in terms of community size, and Microsoft’s decision to gut its own internal development studios over the late ‘00s meant there weren’t that many exclusives to fall back on either.

I tried Halo 5. Didn’t like it. The Gears of War games came out on PC, so I played them there. Same for Forza. Fable was dead, Project Gotham was dead. And while the Xbox One X promised to at least close the gap on Sony in terms of performance, there was no way in hell I was going to buy a second Xbox One (an issue I’ll be expanding on in a different Last Generation feature).

And so when we moved house last year, my Xbox One was one of the first things to go into its box, and I don’t remember even thinking about it still being there until my wife found it in the garage and said “we should probably get rid of this”.

It wasn’t an unreliable machine like the Xbox 360, it wasn’t over-priced like the PlayStation 3, it wasn’t a bad idea like the Wii U or a machine out of time like the Dreamcast. But I think the Xbox One was the worst console I’ve ever owned simply because it was so pointless.

Why did this machine exist, with nothing to set it above — or even apart — from its competitor? Without many big games of its own, or any technological reason to opt for a multiplatform game over the PS4 version, my Xbox One was barely a video game console at all, just a black box I spent $550 on then regretted for the next seven years.

Obviously, Microsoft don’t need me telling them any of this. Sony’s resounding sales victory in this past generation, selling well over twice as many consoles, was built on the strength of its library of games, big-selling exclusives especially, and Microsoft’s recent purchases of big brands like Zenimax/Bethesda shows they’ve definitely learned that lesson.

The company’s Game Pass, too, will change the shape of this console generation in a way we couldn’t really appreciate last gen. If customers were lured towards the PS4 thanks to some kind of game and community-based gravitational pull, then Game Pass is more like a black hole sucking everything and everyone towards the centre of the Xbox Series X/S universe.

But those last two points are for the future, and this feature isn’t about the future, one where I’m a lot more positive about all things Xbox. It’s about the past, somewhere I’m all too happy to consign my memories of the Xbox One to.

Note: In case you’ve got this far and haven’t realised, this is a personal story. I’m not speaking for the Xbox One userbase as a whole here, or even the staff of Kotaku, this is just my own experience owning — and not using — an Xbox One, one clearly shaped by my ability to also have a PS4 and PC to play other games on in the first place. If all you ever had was an Xbox One, and you liked it, then that’s cool!

Comments

  • Reading your story, I could both relate and also not understand (which sounds insane I know). I think for the first 3-4 years of the console, I only played the occasional game on XBone from the Games with Gold series and all primary gaming was done on PS4 (why not, it was more powerful, more of my friends had gone to PS4) but then with Game Pass I shifted..

    I know you could just game on PC, but to make a dedicated PC that could easily run all the games would be ANOTHER investment (and I had a laptop which did all the ‘non gaming stuff’ perfectly fine, so why would I buy a PC just for games when I had the consoles there?)

    I will say however, I do think with the Series S/X, the XBone has become completely useless (unless you’re addicted to Kinect games).

  • I have long been a PC gamer, had a 64 for golden eye and a playstation for need for speed and fell in love with the first 3 assassins creeds games on 360 but largely PC gamer.

    A few years back i purchased a Xbox One because my living situation made it easier to play a console on a tv instead of having a desk and a desktop set up somewhere. I think it lasted about 3 months before i gave up on it and forced my way back to being able to game on a PC. It now sits under my tv, not plugged in, more for show and full with dust.

    Pointless console

  • I watched media more on the xbox one, than i did play games. That is the ONLY console ive ever owned i could say that about.
    Was such an odd and somewhat disappointing console.

    • It took them three attempts to get a machine that was worth playing cross-platform games on instead of the Sony equivalents, and by that time I’d already bought the fucking thing twice, and wasn’t going to buy a third. The One S should’ve been the One X to beat the Pro. It was a half-step that didn’t need to happen, since it didn’t compete with the Pro in the first place.

      Last gen was the rise of cross-platform, and the complete and utter absence of system-selling exclusives for the bone meant that mine was exactly the same as yours: a UHD player.

      Now it doesn’t even need to be that. I should trade in both my xbones while I remember. Maybe get a nextbox when they’re not selling out preorders the minute they’re open.

  • I got a Xbone One S Minecraft version for $189 from Amazon, strictly as a UHD Blu Ray and media device, and it’s worked great for that. I think it came with a Minecraft code I lost, and I’ve never bothered trying a single game on it

  • Personally, I loved the Xbox One and still do. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) using it to watch TV.

    I like that it records 30 minutes of TV, so I can pause a footy game for half an hour while I feed my child or rewind a cooking receipe to make sure I get it right.

    Conversely, I was gutted to find my Kinect disabled by Microsoft (I used it to turn the TV on, set the volume, change channels, and even Skype call my parents on the other side of the country.) Kinect was so much more useful than Cortana ever was.

    The Games for Gold were consistently better than the PS equivalent, my Xbox had Cloud saves which allowed me to go back and forth with my Xbox360 in the other room to play the same game, and then Xbox Game Pass came out.

    I think too many people were focusing on the negatives, and not enough on the positives to truly appreciate what a fantastic piece of hardware the Xbox One was. I for one, will love my Xbox One until it’s gone.

    • I think as a console, it pales compared to the Ps4, with both less power and MS really failing to capitalise on any exclusives.

      MS though have righted the course largely throughout the generation, but removing that ‘launch stink’ is almost impossible. I think it is a shame that people now look at Game Pass as a great thing, but it’s been out for years and for me, that was the biggest thing that changed my XBone from secondary console to primary.

      • But funnily enough, the “no disc” always-online fiasco which everyone kicked a stink at Xbox One about pre-launch has semi-come to pass for both consoles this generation. And no one is saying boo? Funny that, how people’s mentality changes over a short period of time.

        Mark my words, the console generations after this will be completely discless. All games retailers will go the way of Blockbuster Video and Video Ezy within the next 10 years, and again no one will say boo about always-online!

  • I think I got my Xbox One in 2015, at the time there were amazing 1TB Fallout 4 bundles and it was way cheaper than the PS4 that didn’t even come with any games.

    The point of Xbox I think is to provide a lower barrier to entry to gaming. It might be pointless to you if you get every console released, but if you have nothing to game on it was the cheapest way in. Game Pass and the Series S has cemented that this generation.

    For casual gamers who didn’t care about missing out on exclusives, the Xbox One was great.

  • Fact check how could you line up for the Xbox One for the midnight launch the week after the PS4 launched. The PS 4 launched the week after the Xbox one

    The thing about Xbox and tv is I think they gave up on it too soon. After they quit Amazon, Disney, HBO and others all launched their services. If they had of stuck with it and produced some non gamer can Brent and made deals with other production/distribution companies it might of been a hit service especially now if it was included in game pass ultimate.

  • Kotaku always so shameless when it comes to your coverage of all things xbox. Seriously there have been many exclusives which at every stage you guys would diss and then always on repeat “xbox has no games” lol. Your so blinded by your own playstation bias and advertising dollars, i really hope you do better this generation as it has not been a nice site to be someone who prefers xbox. This is just another pandering article like most of the edgelord reviewers that diss multiplats and praise to the roof ps exclusives with a blind eye to any of their faults. This is really poor form Kotaku. I really loved my xbox and im sure a lot of your readers did as well. Your just shitting on stuff for likes. Do better Kotaku.

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