Xbox One round-up: Unboxing, Headset included, Gold required for DVR and Skype, Home Gold

Date Posted Author
9th August 2013 Matt Bailey

It's been a busy week for Xbox One news as Microsoft trickles out various stories as we approach Gamescom, building momentum for their press conference on the Tuesday 20th August. First up, let's start with the negative - but not entirely surprising news - about Xbox Live Gold requirements for certain features on the Xbox One. While online multiplayer is an obvious inclusion, Internet Explorer and entertainment apps aren't surprising (as this is the case on the 360), Skype seems an odd choice to hide away, but what will annoy some is that the "Game DVR" features are Gold-only too. That's the ability to record up to five minutes of gameplay (at 720p 30fps, as confirmed this week), edit it and then upload it online to share with friends. The PS4's video capture and sharing facilities won't be hidden behind a paywall, Sony confirmed this week, and neither will entertainment apps like Netflix.

In better news, and in another U-turn for Microsoft, the Xbox One will now ship with a mono headset like the Xbox 360 before it, as well as the PS4. Considering the £80 higher price for the One over the PS4 (which is mostly down to the inclusion of the new Kinect), it did seem odd that the cheaper Sony machine would include such a basic bit of tech while Microsoft were charging separately for it. Thankfully there's been a change of plan which was revealed in this rather shouty 'unboxing' video of the Xbox One from Xbox Live Directory of Programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, which shows you what you're going to get in the box come launch day - assuming there aren't any more changes of plan, of course. There's a claim about a "4K HDMI cable", which is nice, except all HDMI cables are 4K-compliant.

Continuing the good news is the "Home Gold" scheme which resolves an annoyance surrounding online play that exists on the Xbox 360. On the Xbox One, any user logged into a system will be able to take advantage of a single Xbox Live Gold subscription - that is, if one user has Gold on an Xbox One, everyone else in the household gets to use it too. Which isn't just nice for families who each log in to the machine with their own profile, it also means people wanting to play online together on the same machine (as you might do for Halo) can now do so without either being classed as mere "guests" or be unable to play because only Gold could participate in certain modes. Even if the Xbox Live Gold subscriber is not logged in on the home Xbox One, but is logged in elsewhere, the benefits still apply to those using the primary machine (which hopefully can be configured). It's a first step in Microsoft bringing back some of the better ideas from its initial online approach for the Xbox One before it threw everything out as a result of a backlash from the online check-in requirements and used game restrictions. Expect more of these features, such as sharing or reselling digital games, to appear in the future some time after launch.

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