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The New Xbox One. Is It Worth Upgrading From Xbox 360?

Do you want one of these?


The Xbox 360 replacement has been out for a while now. This article explains the difference between the Xbox 360 and the new Xbox one to help you decide whether it's worth the upgrade.

The Xbox 360 has been on the market for 8 years at time of writing and nowadays is starting to look a bit old hat. The graphics and capabilities of the machine are well behind what PC gamers have been seeing in even fairly low end systems for years. I have still used an Xbox as well as a PC for years now as I do like the multiplayer aspect of Xbox live, but the hardware has been in need of a refresh for a while.

Like most gamers across the world I have been interested in what the new machine will be capable of and after some research, I thought I'd share the system specs.

First of all, this is what it looks like!


DVD = dead. Bluray = alive. For the moment anyway.


A bluray drive. Finally!

Yes, 7 or so years after Sony released their console with a bluray drive, Microsoft have decided to catch up. I imagine that Microsoft were probably slightly annoyed when they realised what Sony were planning as the bluray drive was a fairly large selling point for the PS3, while the Xbox 360 made do with a standard dvd drive.

The introduction of this is good for several reasons, the first is that you will now be able to watch blurays without needing a separate bluray player. Nice, as long as the system fan is fairly quiet of course. The second is that the capacity of blurays is so much higher than DVDs (50GB compared to 8-9GB) that games can now all be on one disc to stop irritating disc swapping. Thirdly there is now breathing room for games developers to make larger games.

As you can see from the picture above, there is no disc tray, the new one just has a slot for you to slide the disc in.

Too much effort for someone as lazy as me, but others will love it


New Kinect sensor

The new Kinect sensor is no longer optional. It comes with every Xbox One and the console won't work unless it is plugged in! Whether you want it or not, you've got it.

The new sensor is considerably more sensitive than the previous sensor. This is going to make games a sight better to play as it will be able to react to subtle movements far better. It now detects your body far closer to the camera than the previous model as well, so you don't have to move your coffee table to start playing.

The big deal with the Kinect setup on the new system is that you can use it to control the Xbox menus by swiping and grabbing. If you've seen Tom Cruise in Minority Report, you get the idea. Of course this is technically very impressive. However personally, I find remote controls and pads far easier to use as all you move is a thumb, rather than have to swish your hands around. Economy of movement is what I'm all about when I'm relaxing! The other thing the new sensor has is the ability to control the Xbox with voice commands. This worked great at the demonstration (where I suspect someone was actually controlling it in the background with a mouse), but in real life it's not quite as impressive. It works perfectly in a quiet room, but when you've got a game on and the music playing, the Kinect isn't quite so responsive.

One thing that it does do is transmit your voice to other players even if you haven't put the microphone on. It's always on, so if you are playing a game and swearing out loud, the others will hear you!

For gamers like me, who don't really like Kinect as it takes too much effort and just want to sit with pad in hand for hours at a time, the improvements to Kinect probably aren't really going to be a big deal. But for those who like jumping around, then you're going to be happy.

Do you like games? Well stop playing those, watch TV instead....

The new Xbox is no longer just being marketed as a games console, Microsoft are trying to push it an entertainment system that you can use for your music and to watch tv & movies as well.

The quite funky part of this is that you can ask for programmes to come on by name, rather than have to switch channel and search. It will then stream whatever you want to watch. So you can say 'Xbox, watch Breaking Bad' and then watch Walt doing his best to make it through life, while Skylar nags at him.

If you download movies/tv shows this won't interest you, but the people out there that like to pay for this sort of thing will probably find this feature quite nice.

Personally I don't watch films on my Xbox, I have a better system in place for that, the only reason I have a games console is to do that old fashioned thing and use it for playing games, so what about that side of it?

Improved D pad and vibrating triggers are the two new features of the new pad. Not much else is needed really.

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A new controller

This is potentially a risky move as in my opinion the xbox 360 controller is great and feels perfect in the hand. The first xbox controller was bigger and not so ergonomic, but they really nailed the 360 pad.

The new one is practically identical which is a good thing in my opinion, but they have now improved the D pad and introduced force feedback into the triggers. So your trigger fingers can now vibrate instead of the whole pad vibrating. This isn't a big difference, but it does make games a bit more interactive, especially during driving games, if you hit the rumble strips at the side of the track, you can feel the tyres rumbling! The D pad being improved is a good thing although it's rarely used for anything in my experience.


Improved graphics capabilities

This is the biggest deal with the new system. Of course decent gaming graphics are what people are interested in and the Xbox has been lagging behind the competion for a while as the PS3 has more raw power and nowadays PC graphics simply blow the graphics from both consoles clean out of the water.

The new Xbox features a faster CPU, more RAM than the current system as it now has 8Gb, compared to 500MB along with a much more powerful pair of graphics processing units (GPUs) than the 360, which only has one GPU. The new system is supposed to be eight times more powerful than the predecessor, which should make the next generation of games even more lifelike and terrifying.

The new console also has a 500gb hard drive as standard, which is a fair bit bigger than the hard drives available for the Xbox 360, which boasts a 250gb as the largest drive.

Might as well bin this lot..


Any downsides?

Well the biggest downside of the new system is that it isn't backwards compatible with games from the Xbox 360. That is a shocking thing to hear as all of the games that we have been buying for the Xbox over the last 8 or so years are now obsolete. This includes the arcade games that many people have built up over the years.

At least for the first few years, this is going to mean that if you want to get an Xbox One, you're probably going to want to keep your Xbox 360 as well if you want to play your old games with your friends online.

Plus at the moment there is a big potential problem for gamers that like to pick up used games and save a bit of cash (which is probably most of us at some point or other, everyone I know buys some new and some used games).

Microsoft have decided that if you want to sell a game, you can only sell it to someone that has been on your friends list for 30 days or more. There are some discussions about ways that this can be done through approved shops who no doubt have to pay licensing fees to Microsoft and other such complications. This is a major blow for most people, as buying all games brand new isn't really what the majority of people want to do in my opinion. What doesn't help is that Sony have decided to not have any of these issues and simply allow people to sell, swap or give their games away the same way the system has always worked..

This is the best price available at the moment for the Xbox

So is it worth the upgrade or not?

At the time of writing there are more and more games starting to come out for the xbox one and it is starting to be worth the upgrade. I bought one a while ago to be honest but play the One and 360. I will be keeping the 360 as there are some arcade games on there I can't live without, like quarrel, but I imagine over time the majority of my gaming will slide across to the One.

I hope this article was useful, outlining a few ways in which the new Xbox differs from the current version. As my friend say, if you're going to buy one sooner or later, why wait? Get one ordered!

If you have any comments, then please leave them below. Thanks!


Bernie Ment from Syracuse, NY on April 08, 2014:

Nice article. I've thought about getting a newer gaming console - I still have my original Xbox, which should tell you just how much time I have to play games. Your article certainly puts some perspective on this console. If I do decide to buy, I'll refer to your articles for advice on which to purchase. Voted up.

EJ Lambert from Chicago, IL on June 04, 2013:

I'm sure it is worth the upgrade, but I would caution not to do it right away. As we've seen over the past 10-15 years, there is always bugs and kinks to work out in the first models of a console system. It's best to wait a little while until new generations release before jumping in.

Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 20, 2013:

We'll see what happens, even a USB stick is too much for some though. It could be good though.

dommcg on January 20, 2013:

I don't think there would be that much of a challenge for developers as its different to the world of pcs where there are hundreds of different processors and memory types and graphics cards to optimise for. There would probably only be a single upgrade plugin every couple of years, it would be a case of detect that the upgrade is there, if so make the game run faster, smoother and better. If its not there it would just run in slow mode. You're right though it would have to be a simple USB plugin or of similar complexity as there are a lot of muppets out there.

Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 20, 2013:

Although I'd like it from a consumers point of view, I imagine it would lead to more difficulty for game developers. How do they create games that run on all different varieties of console with differing levels of hardware? On the PC you obviously have this, but you have to adjust the game settings to make it work on your system.

This isn't too tough if you know what you're doing, but the whole point of consoles is that they are plug and play with zero hassle.

It's theoretically quite appealing in some ways, but anything that takes away from simplicity is unlikely to be implemented in my opinion, as the console manufacturers will want to avoid any possibility of complaints about their system being unreliable/difficult to use.

Plus this system would undoubtedly cost a bit more. Microsoft have already stopped giving away hdmi leads with consoles, even though they cost pennies, just to save money. I wouldn't be surprised if a huge proportion of users never buy one and use their console in low def because they don't understand about differences between cables. In fact I met someone once who had his xbox plugged in with the composite leads, running in low def. When I tried to explain that a hdmi lead would allow him to play in HD he just couldn't grasp what I was saying. I gave up in the end. That's the sort of consumer Microsoft/Sony and any other consumer manufacturers have to contend with.

dommcg on January 20, 2013:

As far as upgradable games consoles go I think it has to be the future. There are numerous reasons that the companies shy away from it, but I think the benefits from it would be huge, particularly if Microsoft for instance got the first mover advantage and sold an upgradable console as it would take Sony 8 years to respond by which time they would be dead in the water.

I remember my old Commodore 64 had a memory upgrade cartridge that you plugged into the back that made it perform much better. That was about 25 years ago, surely they can make the technology to make this work now. The key would be to making the initial unit so that you could very easily, like plugging in a cartridge, add memory or increase processor speed. It would mean you essentially get a new console every 1-2 years rather than just every decade!

Paul from Las Vegas on January 18, 2013:

I wasn't really refering to internal upgrades specifically in this instance I was thinking more along of the lines of how they integrated the Kinect and Move peripherals to the devices. It's not entirely out of the question that they'll make similar upgrades like those but on a larger scale with the next gen systems. However what you described is conicidentally something I thought about just yesterday. All they would really need to do is manufacture whatever internal hardware in house and make them slot acessible. So long as the games they made prominately displayed that you need "X" upgrade in order to play this game, the principle would hold. If people are willing to pay 400-600 dollars for a system at launch then a 50-100 upgrade wouldn't be too much of an issue. Since these things are essentially PC's to begin with PC standards could apply. Having said that I'm completely sure that they wouldn't even consider something like that because console games are supposed to be a dummy proof system and even that eludes so many as it stands. Forcing or allowing people to upgrade a console would likely result in mass pandamonia because dumb people have have the loudest voices that ruin the image of companies despite their best intentions.

Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 18, 2013:


That would be an interesting idea. It's very easy to upgrade laptops with extra RAM for example. If Microsoft and Sony left their consoles open to future upgrades, then they are certain to make a lot of cash from doing so. However the problem they would then have is standardisation, how do you create a console game that runs well on an upgraded console and not so well on an upgraded one? It's possible, but I don't expect them to offer that as an option to be honest.

Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 18, 2013:


Well it'd be foolish to bring it out in the new year. The best bet for Microsoft and Sony would be to bring their new consoles out before Christmas and of course they are both going to want to be the first to release their consoles. I'm sure Sony doesn't want a repeat of last time, when the PS3 came out well after Microsoft had already established a good customer base with the Xbox 360.

Rain Defence (author) from UK on January 18, 2013:


Well I think that online sales is the way forwards. I of course have Steam on my PC. Works very well and there are lots of good games on there. I do love buying games from the Xbox marketplace, when it first started the games on there were mostly pretty useless although they let you play some old retro classics and see how badly they have aged. Nowadays though, the marketplace is pretty awesome and some of the independent games, like Quarrel and The Walking Dead are easily as good as games that I've bought and paid full price for in my opinion.

I love how easy it is to download games, even though of course you can't resell them if you don't like them. Playable demos generally means that isn't usually a problem though as you get a chance to try before you buy. I guess if you are younger and need to trade games in to get your next game as you don't have much cash, this is a big deal, but I suppose Microsoft aren't really going after that sort of customer anyway.

As far as Bluray goes, of course it will be outdated one day. I can't see that happening for a few years though. Microsoft were cheapskates putting the dvd drive in the Xbox, but at least they have caught up. The PS4 has bluray as well so there isn't a new format on the horizon, or at least not yet anyway.

I have not really used Kinect myself other than having a go on it at friends houses. I can't have it in my place even if I wanted to as I run my Xbox on a projector, so I'd be in the way of the screen if I started dancing around in front of the sensor. But it's not really the way I like to play anyway, I like long gaming sessions where I can sit with pad in hand drinking beer for a couple of hours, rather than tiring myself out in 10 minutes jumping around on a kinect. Kinect 2.0 would be an improvement I'm sure, although it certainly isn't a selling point from my point of view.

I can't really see how this console can fail to be honest, Microsoft have such an enormous fan base that most people will buy it regardless of how good it is. The same with the PS4. Fanboys of both systems alone will account for millions of sales.

We'll see when it comes out anyway. Thanks for your comments!

dommcg on January 18, 2013:

A very interesting article, I've been using an Xbox 360 for a while now and really think an update is due. I can't wait for the durango, I'd be very surprised if we see the 720 before 2014 tho.

Paul from Las Vegas on January 18, 2013:

First let me say I'll definitely be getting the new version xbox and a new version playstation almost imedeately availible. I "cut the cables" over a year ago but I hate my Roku boxes so moving my 360 and ps3 to the two TV's currently hooked up to the things isn't really a hard decision.

Going further though I think the whole used game thing is blown out of proportion. It's entirely possible that the next gen systems could have a direct download option that's cheaper than buying at the current full retail. If that isn't the case it's still likely you'll be able to purchase triple A games via download for a reduced rate a few months down the line after the initial sales have taken place. This system is some what in place now in the Playstation Market.

I'm also of the opinion that the next gen systems will leave room for addition expansion besides what they feature upon release. The technology the big two are utilizing now is ancient in the grand scheme of things and they still pushed game changing tech with the things well into their life cycles. There's little to indicate they won't do the same thing here and likely do it better this go round.

John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on January 18, 2013:

Glad to see some more news on the subject, though I think I'll give this a miss for a few months. I think gamers and players alike are starting to expect a new console, especially when the hardware has been pushed to its limits and even past breaking point in some games. A new console ought to help with this problem.

I probably won't pay £350 for this console, not when (by the sounds of things) it offers very little that I'd be interested in. A Blu-Ray player sounds fine and dandy, but when's the next digital versatile disc player coming out? What will take over Blu-Ray and just become ANOTHER selling point? Sony would do right to wait it out and have that one in their console.

Kinect couldn't be any worse based on the stuff I've played, and it's about time it was fixed. A huge library of its games has been shocking for the most part in terms of control and recognition with voice and motion, so let's hope the current issues are finally solved.

Finally, DRM. I'd hate it, though I can see why it's being done. But unless Steam makes some kind of merger or agreement with Microsoft Game Studios, chances are the market for this console isn't going to be fantastic. Steam offers so many games that're more than affordable, and many online stores are starting to take notice of how much money they can make from discounts and sales. Whether MGS have the smarts to do such a thing, is totally up to them. However this will unfortunately harm superior game stores like Gamestation and CeX, as there'll be no way to sell/exchange these games with DRM. It's just going to harm "offline" game retailers even more than they already are.

In all, it sounds good, but not great. I'd need more details, and all this console has really done is just caught up. More needs to be done before I can say much more than "about time".

Voted up, useful and interesting!

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