Parents’ Buying Guide To The Xbox One

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A few days ago we covered the Play Station 4 reveal and concluded that it wouldn’t be great for kids. Yesterday, we got a sneak peek at the upcoming Microsoft video game platform, named Xbox One. At first glance, it appears Microsoft is trying to capture a more general audience with its “entertainment center” offering.  The Xbox One might appeal to a larger audience, but it is riddled with issues and encompassed with an arrogance that makes it dismissive for such a large purchase.

As parents, we understand that price probably weighs the most when deciding on what to buy. Unfortunately, Microsoft is still keeping that under wraps. If I’d have to wager a guess, I would say $400-$600, though it’s worth mentioning that there are people speculating upwards toward the $800 mark. I find that hard to justify, but I think these rumors are being fed with the fact that each system comes with the motion controlled Kinect.

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Let’s move on to what we do know. The Xbox One appears to be an all-in-“one” entertainment system. The new user interface will act in a similar fashion as the panels in Windows 8. You’ll be able to view and interact with different types of content simultaneously, for instance watching TV and using Twitter at the same time. I’m not sure if your child will be able to play a game while you watch your favorite program. However, you will be able to surf the Internet while the kids watch a Disney movie. That might be a cool feature if you don’t own a laptop, tablet or smartphone, but overall I think practicality wins over “cool” expensive tech.

The unit also acts as a cable box, allowing you to instantly go from playing a game to watching TV. You’ll be able to view a channel guide as well. The new Xbox will be controlled by gestures and voice commands. As I previously mentioned, every unit will come with a non-removable Kinect device. If your kids love Kinect, then this might be a bonus for you. No games have been announced for the Kinect yet. I’m sure we’ll hear about some in the coming weeks at the video game convention E3.

Here’s the horrible news: The Xbox One will not be backward-compatible, nor will you be able to play your Xbox Live Arcade games on the system. This is going to be a deal-breaker for many of you, and unfortunately the PS4 is not backward-compatible either. The big concern I have is for people like myself, who have invested hundreds of dollars into XBLA games. If this isn’t a concern for you then, let’s talk about buying used, renting or borrowing games. It appears that era has ended, at least for Microsoft. Sony is keeping a lid on the details for now. If your kid wants to borrow her cousin’s Xbox One game, you’ll have to pay a fee to transfer ownership. I’ll pause here, while you scream at the monitor in frustration …

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OK, renting games from places like Gamefly or Redbox seems all but lost. Microsoft is putting the blame on game developers for this, but either way middle-class families are being left out of the target audience when considering how much new video games cost.

Now that you’re in a bad mood and shaking your head in disbelief, we’ll talk about the specs. The Xbox One will have an 8-cpu core along with 8 gigs of DDR3 ram. A 500 GB HDD will be included, but we aren’t sure if it will be able to act as a DVR or not. The optical drive will be Blu-Ray compatible. The PS4 and Xbox ONE seem remarkably similar under the hood, but we’ll have to see what benchmark results reveal as we get closer to launch.

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Unfortunately, neither system seems geared toward kids at all. For parents with kids, it has been a depressing week in terms of video game console reveals. Sony didn’t seem to offer anything new and the Xbox One came off as an arrogant piece of hardware with one foot already in the grave. Once E3 wraps up, we’ll compare both systems and the Nintendo‘s Wii U to ultimately determine if it is worth purchasing a new console this holiday season. Honestly, I think you better start preparing the kids for disappointment early on.  Unless you happen to be a gamer, then the PS4 seems to be winning the battle.

Jump over to our forum and discuss it with me and other parents.

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