The Xbox One is designed to put Microsoft in the centre of our living rooms - but early reviews are unsure if it has been a success.

Xbox One
The Xbox One will coat £429 when it goes on sale in the UK on 22 November (Reuters)

It's just two days until the launch of the Xbox One, which will cost £429 when it goes on sale at midnight on Friday, 22 November in the UK, and the first raft of reviews are out, helping you decide if you want to buy this or Sony's next-gen console, the PlayStation 4.

Microsoft ambitious plans for the Xbox One include it becoming the centre of your living room entertainment, yet the first reviews say that while the entertainment and TV features have the potential to be really exciting, the gaming platform itself is almost exactly the same as the PlayStation 4 and that something is still missing.

The design of the Xbox One also won't be winnning any awards with its nondescript, block-like exterior that looks as if the console has been designed to fade into the background amongst other set-top boxes residing beneath the TV.

Here we look at the highlights from reviews from across the web, as Microsoft looks to take the lead over Sony:


"In many ways, the Xbox One's bold direction for the future is well in place. The integration of voice controls and its media strategy are a boon to everyone, and the ability to run apps while playing games is something we now want on every gaming console we have. That it has a handful of strong, exclusive games at launch only supports its legitimacy as a gaming console and not just an entertainment hub."

Giving the Xbox One a score of 8/10, the Polygon staff are generally very impressed by the new console, however they note that there are several elements of Microsoft's entertainment strategy that are missing at launch, such as support for Twitch streaming (due next year), advanced gesture support for the Kinect, and even just good reasons as to how the Kinect can contribute to the gaming experience.

Kirk Hamilton - Kotaku

Hamilton agrees with Polygon that some features are missing from the Xbox One. He is particularly bothered about the way the new Kinect has to be controlled.

"I've already gotten used to talking to my Xbox 360's Kinect to control video playback, but voice control is so fundamental to the Xbox One's design that I've found myself giving orders to the console much more regularly."

Hamilton thinks that the Kinect is a great idea but feels that it needs to work "all of the time, not most of the time". He found that the Kinect picks up voice commands 80-85% of the time, but facial recognition is a bit hit-and-miss.

"I sat down alone at my TV and for some reason the Kinect thought it saw my girlfriend somewhere in the room. She was not in the room. Another time, the camera recognised her when she came into the room and switched to her profile, forcing me to manually switch back in order to get access to my game-saves or pinned apps."

Hamilton, who was reviewing an Xbox One in beta mode, told Microsoft about the Kinect problems and was told that this was a bug that shouldn't happen in the retail version sent to customers.

Andy Robinson - CVG

A trend in the reviews that we've read shows that most Xbox One reviewers didn't think there was anything wrong with the Xbox 360 controller in the first place.

Nevertheless, Robinson does see some benefits in the new controller, which offers a more balanced weight distribution as the battery pack has been absorbed inside the controller and screw holes and seam lines have now been removed.

The new d-pad is also great for platform and fighting games as it offers a "far tighter directional placement and a satisfying click."

Xbox One
the Xbox One's new controller has eight small vibration motors to enhance force feedback. (Reuters)

However the best thing about the new Xbox controller is the new force feedback feature, he says.

"Microsoft has shrunk the 360 pad's rumble motors down to about one eighth their size and scattered them across the controller, meaning that vibrations can travel in different directions across your hands. The result is a more nuanced rumble sensation that can even be localised to, say, your right trigger finger."

To conclude, Robinson says the One is similar to the PS4, in that it is more evolution than revolution: "Just like the PlayStation 4, Microsoft has crafted a games platform that builds upon long-standing conventions instead of reinventing them."

Richard Leadbetter - Eurogamer

The new Windows 8-esque user interface has received some kudos from reviewers with its clean design, but the new Snap feature enabling apps to work on-screen simultaneously with either TV or games does not work as well as hoped, according to Leadbetter.

"In many cases, snapping to an app during gameplay pauses the action, which seems to defeat the purpose of running both simultaneously. Snap occupies 25% of the screen's real estate along the right-hand side, so while you can run Internet Explorer alongside live TV or a game, unless you have a page formatted to work nicely on a 480-pixel column width, it's going to be next to useless."

In addition, although the Xbox One's interface can integrate completely with set-top boxes in the US, users in the UK or Europe won't be able to use any of these features.

Xbox One

Matt Peckham - Time

While he thinks that the new Xbox One is "the jumping off point for a fascinating experiment ", Peckham's biggest problem with the new console is that the experience is full of bugs.

"Applications hang or behave unexpectedly, issuing obscure error messages like 'something went wrong' before shuffling you off to tech support," he said.

Peckham also repeatedly experienced difficulties with putting in payment options while signing up for a free trial of the Music service.

In addition, he is also concerned about account hierarchy, since now six Xbox Live users can be active, logged-in and controlling the system simultaneously at the same time.

"Who's holding the conch? Everyone in the room, it turns out, which is another way of saying you're at the mercy of the least mature person in the vicinity (and don't think this won't be a problem when you're driving your household's TV with open voice commands). The system needs a master account override, an optional administrator who can lock the system down in a pinch."