Xbox One ProblemsThe Xbox One is Microsoft’s next-gen console. However, it’s not without problems. Here are the main issues with Microsoft’s answer to the PS4.
It’s not backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games
One of the most annoying things about the Xbox One is that does not play Xbox 360 games. The Xbox 360 played a few original Xbox games, but the new console doesn’t play any of the games of its predecessor.
It’s a real shame, given how many of us have giant Xbox 360 game collections built up over years. You won’t be able to retire your old console yet.
Microsoft has also said it has no plans to offer a PS4-style game streaming service (due to launch for that console in 2014), as it would be extremely difficult to implement. What we’re likely to get over the coming years are re-released versions of old Xbox 360 games, given a spruce-up and individually ported to the Xbox One. However, you’ll obviously have to pay for those, so it’s no replacement for actual backwards compatibility.
The slight silver lining is that some publishers are offering low-cost next-gen upgrades for games that are going to be released on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One. However, this applied to a handful of titles only, and you do have to pay a small fee.
Should I care? Yes, it’s one of the most annoying parts of the Xbox One.
It’s sold out
The Xbox One is completely out of stock in online retailers. You can pre-order, but some places are already sold out until after Christmas.
The situation is likely to calm down a bit after Christmas, but it’s best to get your pre-order in soon, or prepare for a long wait on the high street – possibly followed by crushing disappointment.
Amazon has already announced that stock of both the PS4 and Xbox One is run out until after Christmas.
Should I care? Yes, if you want one soon.
It’s massive, its power brick is massive
The Xbox One is a very large console. It’s much bigger than the PS4, and bigger than the Xbox 360 too.
Apparently it’s to ensure that the console does not overheat, and it also helps to keep noise down as the fan doesn’t have to work too hard. Overheating was behind the ‘red ring’ issues of the Xbox 360, so it’s a pretty sensible move.
However, the power brick is a bit annoying. Not only is the console huge, so is the powerbrick. Yep, it has a separate power supply, while the much smaller PS4 fits this into its svelte body.
Should I care? If you have limited space, yes. Otherwise, just appreciate that it means your Xbox One will hopefully never die.
Several features won’t work in the UK
Lots of the more unusual features of the Xbox One won’t work in the UK – at least at launch. The most important are the media features that were shown off in the first few big Xbox One unveil events.
In the US, the Xbox One will be able to be used to control your TV, even offering its own electronic programme guide that’ll show you what’s on each channel. Microsoft has said this should make it to the UK in ‘2014’, but offered no more precise information on exactly when – it could be any time from January to December. And we’re guessing it won’t be January.
Without this functionality, the Xbox One will never really be the centre of your living room – which the Xbox One was basically sold as in the first place.
Should I care? Yes, it’s a real pity.
iPlayer isn’t supported at launch
Microsoft has announced the first wave of streaming services that’ll be available in the UK. We get Netflix and LoveFilm, but no BBC iPlayer.
We have a strong suspicion that this is down to the BBC rather than Microsoft, which would presumably love to have one of the most popular streaming services in the world on its console (it’s available on the Xbox 360 after all). The BBC is famously not all that quick to react to integration within new tech, needing to justify the development incurred thanks to the license fee. You have to love bureaucracy.
Should I care? Yes, but it’s probably the BBC’s fault.
External hard drives not supported at launch
Another feature missing at launch is external hard drive support. Microsoft says you will be to use hard drives in time – USB 3.0 ones too - but the console will need to get an update before they’ll work.
In time you’ll be able to install games to external hard drives, though, which is very good news. Game installs can take up to 40GB of space, which will quickly eat away at the 500GB internal hard drive.
Should I care? Not much, as hopefully it’ll be added before you fill the HDD up.
Not all games are played at 1080p
The Xbox One is a Full HD console, able to play 1080p games with – in theory – relative ease. However, not all games output in this resolution – some are ‘only’ 720p, like the majority of Xbox 360 games.
This does come across as a bit odd when it’s meant to be a ‘next gen’ console. However, there are obvious reasons for this. Developers generally have to cross-develop for Xbox 360-gen and Xbox One-gen consoles at the moment, and using lower-res textures will make development much easier.
It also helps to avoid most of the inevitable performance issues often seen in games made for new platforms.
Should I care? No, and most people probably wouldn’t notice if they weren’t told.
The PS4 is more powerful
For gamers, the Sony PS4 has a pretty strong draw over Microsoft’s console. It’s more powerful, with a beefier GPU, and faster RAM.
In previous generations, graphical fidelity has always been the top factor to show off at a console's launch. And if the Xbox One seems fundamentally less impressive as a console, it will be in trouble.
For a more in-depth look at this issue, read our tech tear-down of the Xbox One hardware.
Should I care? It's too early to tell what effect this may have on graphics, but it's worth considering.
Next, read our in-depth comparison of the PS4 vs Xbox One