Xbox One: Xbox Live
Xbox Live is the model for most online gaming services, and it’s just as good on Xbox One. Writing before release we’ve yet to do much gaming online, but profile pages have seen a major overhaul, with your gamerpic on the left, followed by settings, your recent activity and your most recent game clips.
These are the big new thing on Xbox Live for Xbox One. At any point in a game you can tell Kinect to ‘Record That’ and it will save the last thirty seconds of action. You can then use the free Upload Studio app to edit your clips, add picture-in-picture video or a commentary, and then upload to Microsoft’s servers. You can then save the clips to SkyDrive, with the whole Xbox Live community or just your friends.
If you want to brag about your Forza victories, highlight your best kills in Call of Duty: Ghosts or simply show off a spectacular sequence of swordplay in Ryse, then this is the way to do it.
Beyond this the Xbox Store makes it easy to find and download new games, though we’re not sure if that’s going to stay the same as more show up, and we can see a lot of content being buried beneath the first pages, just as it is on the iTunes App store or the Google Play store. You can purchase and download games just by clicking on them, but Kinect also now works with QR codes, which is a whole lot easier than entering 25 characters without making a mistake.
Of course, Xbox Live still costs money, and while Microsoft has committed to carrying the free ‘Games with Gold’ initiative over to Xbox One, the two free monthly games we’ve seen on Xbox 360 haven’t always been particularly attractive – and certainly not up to the standard set by Sony’s PlayStation Plus Instant Games Collection programme.
Xbox One: Parental Controls
With the Xbox One at the centre of the living room, parental controls become all the more important. You’ll need to set your kids up with Microsoft IDs beforehand, but once you do the Xbox One takes care of the translation into Xbox Live profiles, controlled by your parental Xbox Live account.
You can set limits on the content they can access, plus websites they can visit and whether they see explicit material in the TV OneGuide. The system isn’t perfect – kids might still access some content by not signing in – but if you enable Kinect-based sign-in this isn’t a problem; they’ll be signed in automatically as soon as they wander into the living room.
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