Jon:

I was on the Xbox bandwagon since the first console was announced and while all of my friends were Playstation fans. Slowly they all understood what I was talking about and when the 360 was launched, practically everyone I knew bought one and the PS3 didn’t get a look in. I’m confident that there’s no reason to think that the Xbox One won’t be a better option that the PS4 for me. I’m not especially interested in indie or pre-owned games, and I certainly don’t care about backwards compatibility since I won’t be trading in the 360 to get a One. That said, we haven’t heard all the details yet, so it may be that some of the issues will be less bad than some people currently think, although I expect there’s going to be some disappointment around regional/set-top-box differences in the TV integration. The idea of offloading some processing from the Xbox One to Microsoft’s massive cloud server infrastructure is really interesting and potentially means that the console will be able to perform far beyond what it’s hardware can do – in IT we’re already getting used to the idea of hybrid deployments, and Microsoft is the leader in that space, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they leverage that in the gaming/entertainment sphere.

Ben:

TLDR: I use media center, pretty psyced about how Xbox One can take over – assuming MS figure out TV integration in Europe.

I was late to the modern console party having, all through Uni, been a fervent believer that they were a waste of time and that PC’s offered a far greater feature set and experience… That said there was something fine about Super Money Ball that meant I had to get myself a Gamecube. From there I bought an original Xbox but very quickly chipped it so that I could use it to run XBMC (I still remember very carefully soldering that “pin 0” wire…).

I’d say that I first used my Xbox 60% of the time for games and 40% of the time for playing media & files over my home network. When the 360 rolled round I didn’t bother chipping it or using it for many media tasks – why? Because buy that time I’d graduated from XBMC to a fully-fledged Windows XP Media Centre edition PC that I’d built (In an Asus Pundit P1!). With Media Centre I was able to record TV & play media files from the network and I’ve used the platform ever since. I was slightly disappointed to hear that MS wouldn’t really add any new features and would arguably make the media center experience much poorer in Windows 8 but I didn’t get too upset, it was pretty clear by that point that MS was staking their claim on your living room with the 360…

When the 360 first launched it would have been quite a stretch of the imagination to picture where that console has taken us today – Kinect, SmartGlass and a huge catalogue of online content providers like we have today (iPlayer, Netflix, Lovefilm, Xbox Video etc…). I believe with the announcement of the Xbox One that this is exactly the type of “unknown changes” that MS have built the One to cope with. The split architecture is actually pretty smart meaning that the games “console side” can cope with how we currently play games – installed of a disk & rendered locally, but the “windows side” sets this thing up for the future & that’s where it gets interesting.

The windows side isn’t just about adding in Netflix apps or about watching TV, I see this as the platforms core strength rather than a weakness that detracts from the gaming. Imaging adding an app like OnLive that would stream down games to the console (perhaps powered & rendered in Azure?). Need something to cope with a new video streaming format – sure just release an app. Need to develop a new hardware accessory to control the lights or a custom controller for a game – sure this thing is just a PC at the end of the day.

So am I looking forward to the Xbox One – sure & not just for the games, there was a lot of criticism levelled at MS for not focusing on the games enough. I think that stuff will come out with E3, the most interesting thing for me is that this device isn’t just “cloud ready” it’s also “living room” ready. Fingers crossed I’ve found my MCE replacement device.