Opinion and Wishlist from a non-gamer

Let me start by saying that I'm a PC gamer, exclusively.  I have never had a use (nor do I ever intend to) for consoles for gaming.  I purchased the Xbox One because I wanted to integrate my media and other experiences with voice and gesture control. 

So, I realize this is a 1.0 product, so there are certain aspects I'm not going to get wound up about.  I love Windows Phone.  I started with a Samsung Focus, then went to the Nokia Lumia 900 (which I gave to a friend interested in trying it out), next to the Lumia 920 (which I still have and keep updated as a spare) and now to the Lumia 1020 (by far the best smartphone out there, in my opinion).  I followed Windows 8 starting with the original Preview all the way through 8.1 and I love it as well, although it's not nearly as mature as Windows Phone and really needs to catch up.  So, I like the Xbox One interface as well...although IT is not even as mature as Windows 8.1.

I love being able to walk into the room and simply say "Xbox ON" and my home theater system comes to life, with the Xbox saying "Hi, Robert!".  I love that it recognizes my wife as well and allows us to each have our own customized start screen (I'm going keep using the Windows 8/Windows Phone vernacular).  I love the gesture controls as well, and am getting better at muscle memory and refining my movements.  And, for the most part, I enjoy many of the apps that are available.

Now, the downside and wishlist.  The voice and the gesture experiences aren't quite consistent enough, in my opinion.  I shouldn't have to use the controller at all, as I see it.  I should be able to use voice recognition even for entering text instead of an onscreen keyboard that isn't even consistent across different apps.  If I bring up a search box in an app or settings I should be able to speak the text.  I'm hoping that with the update rumored to bring Cortana we will see that capability.  Also, this may be the improved Kinect, but I'm guessing it isn't as good as the updated one for Windows.  It has a hard time properly reading my movements if I get closer than four feet.  If I'm wearing my glasses instead of contacts it doesn't recognize me (same for my wife). 

I would like to see a LOT more of the apps from Windows 8 be available on Xbox One and, in fact, I would like to be able to see a profile sync option.  I want to be able to say, "Xbox MAIL", Xbox CALENDAR" and so on.  I would like to see more two-handed gestures recognized.  As it is it takes some tricky movement to get the only two-handed gesture that is currently recognized to actually work.  Also: HOME AUTOMATION.  If the Xbox One is supposed to be the ONE, for the future I should be able to integrate more automation capabilities.  If that's in the form of apps, that's fine.  For example, I have spoken to our home security/automation company, Vivint, about integrating with the Xbox One.  They were actually intrigued by the idea.  As I see it, there's no reason why, using the Xbox One, I couldn't interact with my home security and automation using voice and gesture as well.  And if Cortana is added and dramatically expands the ability to give instruction, THIS is how I see the Xbox One really leaving the PS4 in the cheap seats.  The market is no longer in catering to gamers.  It's to the rest of us who will never use a console for gaming...but are open to other possibilities.


Discussion Info

Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 0 Applies to:

I agree. I'm about 40% gamer and 60% "the other stuff".

The gamers who aren't that bothered with the Kinect stuff probably couldn't care but clearly Microsoft is looking beyond them, to make the box appeal to a much larger demographic, while still functioning as a next-gen game console.

I find the recognition to be mostly good but occasionally it sees my wife when she is not in the room (I think it sees me but doesn't recognize me and then logically decides it must be the other registered user). I'd rather it didn't bother guessing and wait until it can see clearly who it is. This usually happens if I am next to a pillow, slumped in the couch or otherwise disguised!

Gesture control can be finicky - mostly I think it is good but in certain apps, selecting options is either not turned on or doesn't follow the conventions you have out on the main console screens. I end up going back to pick up the controller. This is particularly annoying in XBox Fitness.

Voice control is mostly good although it doesn't work as well as I hoped when the volume level is around -20db on my receiver. I have to put it down to around -25db or less, or the XBox just ignores commands to pause etc. I was under the impression it would filter out the game or movie/TV sound but for me, this doesn't work at the volumes I like to listen/play at.

I don't use the "XBox On" command any more - it was fun and I love the idea of it but the XBox doesn't control enough of the other equipment to make it worthwhile. My Logitech Harmony does a better job - I press "Play XBox One" and it turns on the TV, receiver and XBox One (which to be fair the XB1 does well enough too) but then can change source if I was watching a BluRay last activity which the XB1 can't do. The Harmony also controls my lights which the XB1 can't currently do although it would not be rocket science for MS to program these other features in if they wanted to.

I don't much care for the TV interface at present - if I was on my old Comcast box with 1990's interface, it would be a massive improvement but it is worse than the current Dish Network TV guide and adds a delay I can avoid with the Dish remote control. Also not being able to control the DVR with the XB1 drives us back to the remote anyway. When the Snap function is expanded (allow independent sound to either the main or the snap window or both like it is now), I might use it a bit more - it will be good to have a sort of picture-in-picture function which we've not really enjoyed since we got rid of component cables and the got stiffed by the copyright limitations imposed when you have all HDMI inputs (can't watch TV through HDMI and have a Blu-Ray play through another HDMI input in PiP because the TV thinks you might be pirating a video in HD so it gives a black screen).

I like the idea of home automation. I would think the XB1 could do that but it will depend on the interest level from non-gamers.