Xbox One: Is It Time To Get One?

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The Xbox One is a little over a year old this month. In that year, Microsoft's next-gen console has gone through more changes than most consoles do in their lifetime. Does that mean the console is now worth owning?

Like any new console, the Xbox One launched without any real must own games. It had titles like Dead Rising 3 and Ryse, but both of those titles are now on the PC. It also suffered from a perception that it was weaker than the PS4 when multiplatform games underperformed on the Xbox One compared to its rival.

In the months since launch, those early perceptions are nearly gone. It's objectively true that the PS4 is a more powerful console, but developers are now starting to aim for parity between the Xbox One and PS4 versions of their games. In other words, multiplatform games like Far Cry 4 and Alien Isolation are going to run just as well on the Xbox One as they do on the PS4. As for exclusive titles, the Xbox One has the PS4 beat this year with big titles like Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Besides games, Microsoft has made a number of other wise decisions regarding the Xbox One. Earlier this year, the company decided to make the Kinect optional and lowered the price of the Kinect-less console SKU by $100. At $399, the Xbox One was now the same price as the PS4 and was far more tempting to gamers looking to upgrade. More recently, Microsoft lowered the price of the Xbox One to $349 for the holidays and even packed in free copies of Assassin's Creed Unity or Sunset Overdrive to undercut Sony's PS4. It's seems to have worked as Black Friday sales results indicate the Xbox One was the best selling console last weekend.

As for general system software, Microsoft has released a number of firmware updates over the last year. At launch, the Xbox One lacked many features that many assume should just ship with consoles, like a way to manage memory. Microsoft has listened to this feedback and released numerous patches that have addressed most of the complaints. There's still work to be done, but Microsoft has made it known that it's not going to slow down its release of new firmware updates.

Compared to this time last year, the Xbox One is in a much stronger position. The same could be said of most consoles after their first year, but the difference is far more pronounced with the Xbox One. In comparison, the PS4 is still somewhat of a disappointment as Sony has relied on remasters of PS3 games and third-party titles to sell PS4s for most of 2013. The console won't be getting its first big exclusive until next March with Bloodborne.

In short, the Xbox One is the best value in next-gen gaming this holiday season. It always comes down to personal preference, but Microsoft has the exclusives and price advantage that should appeal to gamers looking for a next-gen fix.