Sure it may have had a slow start, but eventually the Xbox One was able to grow into a wildly enticing console platform – it turned out to be one of the best places to play. Halo, Gears of War and and Forza Horizon are just some first-party franchises that all put their best foot forward on the Xbox One. This is doubly so for players that bought into the eco-system a little later on by picking up a souped-up Xbox One X or more affordable Xbox One S. The question remains: Is an Xbox One worth buying in 2021, though?
Your initial reaction might be to say “no” seeing as the platforms as it’s since been replaced with both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. And while Microsoft has made it easy to buy into this new era by way of pricing the latter option at just £249, the Xbox One is still a thriving platform in which to experience excellent indie titles and upcoming Triple-A releases while retaining a disc drive. There’s a lot of life left in the Xbox One yet, and we’re here to tell you why.
One of the biggest reasons to keep your Xbox One around (or even think about purchasing a new one) is because Microsoft has outright stated that all first-party exclusives launching on it day one. There’s a strong chance that this will change in the near future, in fact it’s likely to when games become too demanding to run on Xbox One hardware, but that’s many years off. Right now as it stands, Xbox One owners can actively look forward to playing Triple-A Xbox exclusives such as Halo: Infinite, Avowed and plenty more.
This is all part of Microsoft’s intention to not lock off the eco-system to any player wanting to be a part of it. It’s their way of saying: ‘if you don’t have the funds to buy into the next generation of consoles just yet, rest assured we won’t be leaving you behind’. Sure, you won’t be able to enjoy these experiences at the highest graphical fidelity or fastest frame rate, but neither of these two factors will matter much unless you have a 4K TV. As it stands, Xbox One owners can enjoy the same upcoming exclusives as Series S|X owners for the immediate future.
Speaking of exclusives, it’s still an Xbox mandate that all of them will launch on Xbox Game Pass on day one. Good examples of this happening in the past include The Medium, Gears of War 5 and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. All these games are often regarded as some of the best of the platform, being free to access for just one low monthly fee. It’s a subscription service with a difference, as Game Pass subscribers gives subscribers instant access to a rotating library of top games. It’s still very much alive and kicking on Xbox One consoles, acting as a good alternative to paying full price for the newest games and exclusives.
In the UK Xbox Game Pass costs only £10.99 per month, adding up to roughly £120 for the year. Taking into account that most new Triple-A games release for around £39.99 on launch day, you can have a year’s worth of access to these 100 games for the price of three new games. Obviously, you’ll only get the most out of this if you have plenty of free time, which is something to bear in mind. Picking up an Xbox One in 2021, along with a Game Pass membership, is a great way to get caught up on classic games and enjoy the amazing thrill of new ones.
The Xbox Series X is keeping the flame for physical games alive by featuring a disc slot, but it’s still a console that costs in excess of £400. You can’t even opt for the cheaper (and far sleeker) Xbox Series S because that is a digital-only console. That’s why an Xbox One S, as the only last-generation model currently in production, is a viable choice for Xbox players that don’t want to lose access to their physical game discs. And if you’re worried about not being able to play them in 4K resolution, there’s always Xbox One X consoles being sold in the pre-owned market.
If you do want to maintain the ability to play your existing Xbox games in this way, then a One model is a good choice. Plus you will still have the ability to download digital-only games to your library as long as you have enough memory space. The standard Xbox One S touts an admirable 500GB, which should be enough to store between 10 and 12 games at any one time. Modern Xbox games will obviously be larger than old ones.
The idea behind Xbox these days is one based around letting gamers play on anything and from anywhere. That’s why they’re not reserving Triple-A exclusives back for just Series S|X owners, letting them also release on Xbox One consoles, too, as mentioned earlier. Another aspect to this intention behind this approach, though, is cloud gaming and the ability to stream games to your Android phone from your Xbox One.
All you have to do to play from the cloud is download the Xbox app, inputting your Xbox Network account information so you can continue playing on your phone. However, if there’s a game not on Game Pass and instead you own outright, you’ll instead need to get your Android phone to talk to your Xbox One console via a local internet connection. How smooth it runs is entirely dependant on the strength of your Wi-Fi, but faster speeds mean you’ll be able to stop playing a game on console and immediately pick it back up from the same spot on your phone.
We mentioned it at the top of this article, but we’ll say it again: The Xbox One is still the best entry-level option in which to play all your compatible Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One discs. You might be thinking, “Wait, but what about the Xbox Series S?”. True, it’s priced similarly to the Xbox One at just £249 in the UK, but it is indeed digital-only. This means you’ll be locked into buying the Microsoft Store’s prices unless you elect to pick up an Xbox One console.
A disc drive might seem rather antiquated these days, yet when you consider that a lot of gamers have built up quite the physical games collection over the years, the one built into your standard Xbox One suddenly becomes much more valuable. Of course, the ideal option for some may be to grab an Xbox Series X, but if you’re operating on a strict budget this isn’t always possible. The Xbox One will happily play your disc-based games for many years to come. Plus, Microsoft’s nature to have all new Xbox discs play on all platforms means your games will easily translate to the Xbox Series X when you do want to upgrade.
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