If You Like Your Xbox 360, You Should Keep Your Xbox 360

The Xbox One (XB1) doesn't do anything the Xbox 360 does. I call it the "Xbox None" in my house. Hardly a day goes by when I don't seriously consider returning it to Microsoft and here's why.
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I’ve been an Xbox customer since day one of the first version and I’m what you might consider a “Power User” on the Xbox 360. I pre-ordered the Xbox One, received it on day one, and have been really pissed off ever since.

Simply put, the Xbox One (XB1) doesn’t do anything the Xbox 360 does. I call it the “Xbox None” in my house. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t seriously consider returning it to Microsoft and here’s why:

Xbox One can’t access my music collection

My 360 naturally connected to my home network and my Windows PC’s music collection. Because the 360 was wired to our home theater I would sit back in my recliner, browse through my music and play whatever I wanted. The “None” can’t do that.

Instead, I have to get up and walk over to the home office, pick the music on my PC, “Play-to” my Xbox None, then go back and sit down in the living room. And I have to do this every time I want to change the playlist or the genre, completely ruining the music experience.

Xbox One doesn’t show my photos

One of things we loved doing as a family was to show pictures of a given event on our big screen TV. The 360 would easily access my 20 year collection of photos on the PC in seconds. Not any more.

I have to first upload my photos to Microsoft’s “SkyDrive” (it’s a Dropbox clone) which is limited to 7gb (my photo collection is over 100gb) before I can show them on the Xbox None. With 1 Mb/s upload speeds that means it takes 14 hours put up the pictures I want to see which essentially makes this a useless feature for our living room.

Xbox One can’t play music in the background

One of the favorite things my wife and I used to do was select a treasured family event, watch the photos, and play music in the background. When I play games, background music is a must. The 360 did this easily and efficiently and of course, the “None” can’t do it.

When you play music, it “snaps” about 25% of the screen to display essentially nothing other than the artist and the title and if the music is coming from your PC, it means that 25% of your screen is black with white letters; both a complete waste and a perfect way to burn-in your expensive plasma TV.

So whether you’re trying to look at a piddly 7gb of photos, or play your game, or do anything else, if there’s music on, 25% of your screen is black. And unlike the 360, you can’t adjust the music volume relative to game playing volume which essentially ruins the music+gaming experience.

I can’t think of anything more appropriate to say here than “WTF?”.

Xbox One won’t play Media Center content

My Windows PC is connected to my cable TV and acts as our DVR. When we wanted to watch our shows, the 360 would dutifully connect to the PC and play them on the big screen. Can you guess what I’m going to say? Yes, sadly, Microsoft’s Xbox “None” does not connect to Microsoft’s Media Center. And there’s not even a workaround on this one.

Xbox “None”: a huge disappointment for a loyal customer

When you buy the next generation of a product, you naturally expect that it will do all the things your original product did and do them better. For Microsoft to completely drop key features of the Xbox 360 that made it the center (i.e. 360 degrees) of the living room and then to tout the Xbox One as it’s worthy replacement indicates to me that either I’m the only guy in the country doing all this stuff with his 360, or that Microsoft had to rush this thing out the door after they found out about Sony’s PS4 launch.

The Xbox One is a rush job that doesn’t do any of the “livingroom friendly” activities its predecessor does and in my view, is a huge step backwards in becoming the living room extension of the home network.

Why would you buy the Xbox One?

Don’t buy it yet if you have a 360 or you’ll be in for a big disappointment. Only get one if you don’t have a game console and the specific game title you want is available right now. Wait until Microsoft improves this thing. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have bought it.

So why haven’t I returned it yet?

In a word, Battlefield. The new version of Battlefield 4 with up to 64 players has great graphics and is a lot of fun on the Xbox One, despite the fact that I can’t play music and despite the fact that there is something really wrong with the in-game voice chat and despite the fact that the game crashes about once an hour. I would have to pay more to upgrade my PC than I did to buy the Xbox One in order to play that game. Jury is still out on Forza (my other favorite). Graphics and physics are great but they make it so that you have to buy a lot of in-game purchases on top of the $60 premium I paid for the game so I’m not a happy camper about that.

I’m also hoping that Microsoft will upgrade the Xbox One so that at least it does what the 360 did (ya think?). In the meanwhile, I’m going to figure out a way to connect my “old” 360 to the XB1’s HDMI port so that my wife and I can still watch photos from Christmas past while we listen to Christmas music, in the background.

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