Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Xbox One review and buying guide
See if this popular gaming console is the right pick for you.
What is Xbox One?
Despite its name, Xbox One is the third machine from Microsoft, following Xbox (2001) and Xbox 360 (2005). Microsoft chose the name “One” as a way to define the console as your “one” entertainment solution, as it provides film, music, Internet, apps and other multimedia features beyond gaming.
What's in this guide?
- What is Xbox One?
- What are the Xbox One's main competitors?
- What type of games are available on Xbox One?
- What are the unique features of the Xbox One?
- What are the best Xbox One exclusive game series?
- What is the ideal gaming setup for an Xbox One?
- Xbox One buying guide
- Is the Xbox One good for kids?
- What are the best-selling games on Xbox One?
- What are the most critically-acclaimed games on Xbox One?
The console began rolling out globally in November 2013 and now includes hundreds of both new and backwards-compatible games.
Despite initial plans to make it mandatory, the Xbox One does not require an Internet connection. But a number of the smaller titles available for the console are only downloadable through the Xbox Games Store. An important feature on the Xbox One — which wasn’t present on the Xbox 360 — is a Blu-ray drive, allowing the console to run bigger games from a single disc, as well as play DVDs and Blu-ray films.
Latest Xbox One deals
What are the Xbox One’s main competitors?
The Xbox One’s direct competitor is Sony PlayStation. Outside of exclusives made by first-party developers — studios that work for the manufacturer — both systems tend to simultaneously receive the same library of games.
The PC is also a competitor but is generally played from a desk rather than a couch or beanbag, making for a different gaming experience. PCs also tend to receive many of the games months later than the Playstation and Xbox consoles and Xbox One.
The Nintendo Switch is a relative newcomer in the console space, having been released in 2017. Its claim to fame is the ability to switch from at-home and on-the-go gaming.
Xbox One’s catalog of games is primarily targeted at adult males, with a heavy emphasis on racing, sports, action, RPGs and shooters. There is also a focus on online play, as many key titles don’t offer offline multiplayer at all. Many developers argue that they can create a better visual experience and faster frame-rate by not opting for split-screen multiplayer.
In comparison to its main rival, PS4, Xbox One offers less game variety, fewer exclusives from Xbox-owned or affiliated developers and fewer downloadable titles from independent developers.
However, in its favor is the Kinect device, currently the best motion- and voice-control device in gaming. Microsoft also provides dedicated servers for more reliable online play. Finally, the Xbox One Elite Controller — which is sold separately from the console — is widely considered to be the best controller in gaming history.
Here are the most notable breakaway features of the Xbox One:
- The Kinect device allows for hands-free, motion-controlled gaming, face recognition for signing into your profile and voice commands.
- The Xbox One has pass-through capabilities for TV viewing, allowing you to run a service like Foxtel through your console to your TV so you can switch between gaming and viewing in an instant.
- The “snap” feature lets you have more than one viewable screen open on your Xbox One simultaneously.
- Backwards compatibility allows you to play select Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One.
- Skype call integration lets you have a background Skype chat while you’re using the console.
- You can play Xbox One on a PC or laptop with Windows 10. The Xbox app for PC connects to your Xbox One and streams the content over your Wi-Fi network. It’s called Remote Play, and you can connect an Xbox One controller to your PC so you can play your games as you normally would.
These are some of the biggest brands that appear only on the Xbox One:
|Forza Motorsport||Gears of War||Perfect Dark||Re:Core|
|Crackdown||Dance Central||Sea of Thieves||Sunset Overdrive|
|Quantum Break||Killer Instinct||Scalebound||Titanfall|
|Viva Piñata||Banjo-Kazooie||Alan Wake|
|Dead Rising||Rise of the Tomb Raider||Zoo Tycoon|
|Too Human||Ori and The Blind Forest||Condemned|
The Xbox One is a high-performance console and should be paired with a large Full HD or 4K flatscreen TV. To make the most of the experience, a 7.1 channel sound system or headset is recommended.
While not required, an Internet connection is recommended. You want as low a ping as possible (less than 40ms), and if you plan to buy a lot of large games online or stream your play through services like Twitch, you will benefit from a fast Internet speed. You will need a significant download quota, too, as large patches, game purchases and downloadable content can take upwards of 100GB per month.
You may also need to invest in an external hard-drive around one year into the console’s lifespan. The internal hard-drive on the core model is limited to slightly under 400GB of useable space, and every game must be installed to play.
Games frequently require between 20 and 50GB of space, so you will need to begin deleting old favorites to make space after 10 games, which isn’t particularly user-friendly. Any USB 3.0 external hard-drive can function as a storage extender, but keep in mind that some hard-drives require their own power supply.
The newer model Xbox One comes with a 1TB internal hard-drive. For the reasons listed above, this is a better option if it’s available.
There are a number of versions of the Xbox One console available, each iterating on the last to get closer to meeting the market’s demands, but also to enhance the device as technology improves.
Originally, you had to have a Kinect device connected to the Xbox One for it to work, but that limitation has since been removed. When shopping for any new console, compare the various retailers for bundle offers. While there are occasionally official, themed spin-offs to the console, retailers also build their own bundles that include different games to sweeten the deal.
Here are the core differences between the retail Xbox One SKUs:
|Xbox One 500GB||The stock standard console|
|Xbox One 500GB with Kinect||The stock standard console with the Kinect device|
|Xbox One 1TB||Double the internal hard-drive space, a matte finish and improved Xbox One controller with headphone jack.|
|Xbox One 1TB Elite Bundle||Comes with a solid state hybrid drive for faster installs and game loads and an Elite Controller|
|Xbox One 1TB Console – Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition Bundle||Everything included in the 1TB model with a Halo 5: Guardians-themed casing|
|Xbox One 1TB Console – Forza 6 Limited Edition Bundle||Everything included in the 1TB model with a Forza 6-themed casing|
The Xbox One isn’t aimed at a young demographic. While there are some notable games available for younger players such as Minecraft, Viva Piñata, the Lego series, the Rayman series and Screamride, Xbox is better known for games with mature content intended for ages 15 and up.
For children under 10, we recommend the Nintento Switch. For ages 10 to 15, we recommend the PlayStation 4, which has a wider variety of crossover games for kids entering their teenage years.
|Rank||Game||Year||Genre||Publisher||Global Sales Millions|
|1||Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare||2014||Shooter||Activision||4.73|
|2||Grand Theft Auto V||2014||Action||Take-Two Interactive||3.35|
|3||Assassin’s Creed: Unity||2014||Action||Ubisoft||3.06|
|6||Call of Duty: Black Ops 3||2015||Shooter||Activision||2.67|
|7||Halo: The Master Chief Collection||2014||Shooter||Microsoft Game Studios||2.66|
|8||Call of Duty: Ghosts||2013||Shooter||Activision||2.6|
|9||Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag||2013||Action||Ubisoft||2.11|
|10||Forza Motorsport 5||2013||Racing||Microsoft Game Studios||2.04|
|11||FIFA 15||2014||Sports||Electronic Arts||1.99|
|12||Battlefield 4||2013||Shooter||Electronic Arts||1.8|
|13||Halo 5: Guardians||2015||Shooter||Microsoft Game Studios||1.77|
|14||FIFA 16||2015||Sports||Electronic Arts||1.49|
|15||NBA 2K15||2014||Sports||Take-Two Interactive||1.47|
|16||Dead Rising 3||2013||Action||Microsoft Game Studios||1.41|
|18||Madden NFL 15||2014||Sports||Electronic Arts||1.37|
|19||Minecraft||2014||Misc||Microsoft Game Studios||1.32|
|20||Far Cry 4||2014||Shooter||Ubisoft||1.29|
|21||Fallout 4||2015||Role-Playing||Bethesda Softworks||1.27|
|22||Ryse: Son of Rome||2013||Action||Microsoft Game Studios||1.24|
|23||FIFA 14||2013||Sports||Electronic Arts||1.15|
|24||Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor||2014||Action||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||1.1|
|25||Forza Horizon 2||2014||Racing||Microsoft Game Studios||1.08|
|26||Madden NFL 16||2015||Sports||Electronic Arts||1.04|
|27||Batman: Arkham Knight||2015||Action||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||1.03|
|28||Battlefield: Hardline||2015||Shooter||Electronic Arts||1|
|29||Mortal Kombat X||2015||Fighting||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||0.95|
|30||The Elder Scrolls Online||2015||Role-Playing||Bethesda Softworks||0.93|
|31||Sunset Overdrive||2014||Shooter||Microsoft Game Studios||0.87|
|32||NBA 2K16||2015||Sports||Take-Two Interactive||0.87|
|33||The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||2015||Role-Playing||Namco Bandai Games||0.84|
|34||NBA 2K14||2013||Sports||Take-Two Interactive||0.8|
|35||LEGO Marvel Super Heroes||2013||Action||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||0.76|
|36||Dragon Age: Inquisition||2014||Role-Playing||Electronic Arts||0.74|
|37||Madden NFL 25||2013||Sports||Electronic Arts||0.71|
|38||Need for Speed Rivals||2013||Racing||Electronic Arts||0.59|
|39||The Evil Within||2014||Action||Bethesda Softworks||0.57|
|40||Wolfenstein: The New Order||2014||Shooter||Bethesda Softworks||0.57|
|41||Forza Motorsport 6||2015||Racing||Unknown||0.55|
|42||Dying Light||2015||Action||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||0.53|
|43||Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare||2014||Shooter||Electronic Arts||0.49|
|44||Gears of War: Ultimate Edition||2015||Shooter||Microsoft Game Studios||0.48|
|45||WWE 2K15||2014||Sports||Take-Two Interactive||0.48|
|47||Destiny: The Taken King||2015||Shooter||Activision||0.46|
|48||Kinect Sports Rivals||2014||Sports||Microsoft Game Studios||0.45|
|Grand Theft Auto V||97||2014|
|Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain||95||2015|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||91||2015|
|Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition||90||2015|
|Destiny: The Taken King||90||2015|
|Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin||89||2015|
|Game of Thrones: Episode Six – The Ice Dragon||89||2015|
|Minecraft: Xbox One Edition||88||2014|
|Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition||88||2014|
|Ori and the Blind Forest||88||2015|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||87||2014|
|Forza Motorsport 6||87||2015|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||87||2015|
|DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition||86||2015|
|Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition||86||2014|
|Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty||86||2015|
|Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition||86||2014|
|Forza Horizon 2||86||2014|
|Mortal Kombat X||86||2015|
|Pinball FX 2||85||2014|
|Killer Instinct Season 2||85||2014|
|Batman: Arkham Knight||85||2015|
|Dragon Age: Inquisition||85||2014|
|Halo: The Master Chief Collection||85||2014|
|Pro Evolution Soccer 2016||85||2015|
|Halo 5: Guardians||84||2015|
|Madden NFL 16||84||2015|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops III||83||2015|
|Castle Crashers Remastered||83||2015|
|Gears of War: Ultimate Edition||82||2015|
|Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones||82||2015|
|Child of Light||82||2014|
|Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island||82||2014|
|Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions||82||2014|
|Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime||82||2015|
|Tales From The Borderlands: Episode One – Zer0 Sum||82||2014|
|Far Cry 4||82||2014|
|Resident Evil HD Remaster||82||2015|
|So Many Me||82||2015|
More guides on Finder
Nintendo Switch buying guide
Nintendo’s entry into the ninth console generation is the talk of the town, but how does it actually work and what games does it offer?
Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch Online lets you back up data to the cloud, play your favorite games online and access a library of classic SNES games.
What is Xbox Live?
Xbox Live has popularized online play and player profiles in the console video gaming landscape.
PlayStation 5: Price, release date, specs, games and details
Sony’s next-generation PlayStation console is coming this fall — here are all the details.
You can now watch fuboTV on Xbox One — in 4K
With its new Xbox One app, the TV service is first among its competitors to stream in 4K video.
Xbox Series X: Microsoft’s next generation console
Microsoft has announced its next-gen console. The Xbox Series X will be launched around the 2020 holiday season.
Complete list of Xbox Game Pass games
More than 250 games on Xbox One ready to download for a monthly fee. Filter and sort our comprehensive list to find your fave.
GameStop Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals 2020
The best savings you’ll find all year, game over – including up to 50% off games and free $25 gift cards with select purchases.
Best Buy Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals 2020
Save hundreds on TVs, gaming consoles, laptops and more — plus see how to get a free Amazon Echo Dot.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Xbox One deals in 2020
Grab Microsoft’s slimmed down console for a bargain this Black Friday.
Ask an Expert