It's been a bumpy six months since Xbox One was unveiled. During that period, Microsoft has scrapped its controversial plans for licence-only game ownership and an online check-in element that would have forced owners to phone home every 24 hours. It has introduced a way for users to switch off Kinect and bundled a mono headset (and FIFA 14 in Europe) to address concerns about privacy and pricing. Oh, and right in the middle of all the drama, the boss of the Xbox division left to go rescue Zynga.
That's a head-spinning set of circumstances for any product, but the Xbox One package that emerges from the tumult and goes on sale this week has also faced other troubles, most notably concerns about whether it can stand toe to toe with PlayStation 4 in power terms. Having attached its banner so firmly to Call of Duty, in particular, it must be frustrating to witness Infinity Ward shipping Ghosts at 1080p on PS4 and 720p on Xbox One. At least if the last generation is anything to go by, the likelihood is that multi-format developers will get better at finding the sweet spot that delivers comparable performance on both systems.
In the meantime, though, Xbox One is now on sale in 13 territories including the UK and US, with an impressively broad range of exclusive games and a few well-known third-party titles, so how do they stack up? And does Kinect do a better job of justifying its existence second time around? If you're not sure about whether to pick up an Xbox One, or you just want to get to know your new system, hopefully we can help you with some of the answers.
Launch title reviews
Xbox One has plenty of exclusive games available at launch - Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle, Zoo Tycoon, Crimson Dragon and Fighter Within - although there doesn't appear to be anything truly remarkable in the line-up. Dead Rising 3 and Forza 5 leave the most solid impression - the latter delivering an enjoyable open-world brawler once you get past its technical shortcomings, while Forza 5 has a wonderful core driving experience, even if it feels a bit stripped back. Crytek's Ryse is a technical showpiece but not much more.
The early digital games are poor, unfortunately, with Crimson Dragon and LocoCycle both falling short. Elsewhere, you're already familiar with third-party titles like Assassin's Creed 4, Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty, although they look much better on next-gen hardware, while Need for Speed: Rivals from EA's new Ghost Studio has quietly emerged as one of the best new games of this young generation.
- Ryse: Son of Rome review (5/10)
- Forza Motorsport 5 review (7/10)
- Dead Rising 3 review (7/10)
- Zoo Tycoon review (7/10)
- Killer Instinct review (7/10)
- Crimson Dragon review (6/10)
- LocoCycle review (4/10)
- Need for Speed: Rivals review (9/10)
- Call of Duty: Ghosts review (7/10)
- Battlefield 4 review (8/10)
- Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review (9/10)
- Powerstar Golf review (6/10)
Our tech editor Rich Leadbetter has spent ages now poring over every aspect of the Xbox One. His take on the hardware, the new UI, the new Kinect and many other unsung aspects of the new Microsoft platform is well worth reading, and as with PS4 we will continue to report on other aspects of the system as we get used to it. The Digital Foundry team has also been working on face-offs comparing PS4 and Xbox One versions of third-party titles.
Eurogamer.net Podcast: Xbox One Special
Following on from the PS4 Special, host Bertie got together with Tom Bramwell, Wesley Yin-Poole and Chris Donlan to talk through the Xbox One - everyone's experience using the system and reviewing the launch games. This podcast was recorded a few days before the Xbox One launch.
Want to see what some of the Xbox One games look like in action? We've got you covered across our range of Let's Play videos and live streams, archived below.The best PC graphics cards Digital Foundry on the GPUs that can match or exceed console visuals.