September 4th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

MXGA

A few years ago, you used to sign a contract with a cell phone service provider. Then they decided to all move over to leasing options that made it affordable for everyone. Want the new iPhone? They have a payment plan. Want the new Samsung? Payment plan. LG device? Payment plan (also LG is the best). You see the new iPhone, and even though you can’t afford it, you want it. So the companies accommodate you. Now, that same principle is being applied here, only it’s a better deal. The Xbox All Access plan gives you a great deal more than just a smart device.

Xbox 360 was a dominating force in the last generation of games. This came after a generation dominated by the PlayStation 2. After Xbox’s disastrous introduction of the Xbox One and its lack of graphical prowess, PS4 won over the public by a landslide. Dan Mattrick instigated the disaster, but it wouldn’t be the last time he singlehandedly destroys a company. Phil Spencer has been left to undo the damage ever since. Each year, he finds more and more ways to win back the hearts of the people.

Exclusives are still a major power in the console gaming world. This is despite the fact that they are largely ‘timed’ exclusives and don’t always stay exclusive. But being first is still a big deal, and people eager for a game are going to go wherever they can get it as fast as possible. They made the Xbox One X cater to the audience who wanted more graphical power. They even bought up 5 companies that have all made interesting titles, to say the least. Still, that doesn’t change that their current exclusive line-up is… well, pretty pathetic really.

So, now, Microsoft is giving you a new reason to buy their console. This was first made apparent in their 2018 E3 press conference. They showed off plenty of games you could play. Some were exclusive, but many others weren’t. Still, it was a surprising move by the company to focus entirely on games and set a really high bar for the rest of that E3. They ended up showing off more games than any other presentation. They actually stole the thunder from other dev’s announcing projects by showing them off in their own show first.

They also talked a great deal about Xbox Game Pass, a service destined to be the Netflix of gaming. Xbox Game Pass gives you access to a huge section of games for a relatively low subscription plan. For 9.99/month, you get access to this comprehensive list of titles. It’s… a lot of games. A real lot of them. Endless choices and possibilities, it’s chock full of games from every genre. There’s a game in there for everyone, and the library is always expanding. The icing on the cake? All Xbox-Exclusive games will be made immediately available on game pass the day they are released. Which is a great proposition for people who really like the Forza games, for starters. But it’s also a strong promise they are holding, seeing as the earlier mentioned companies they bought will be dishing out Xbox exclusives for the future.

But that’s not the end of it. To get back to the subject at hand, Xbox All Access is sweetening the deal even further. What’s the plan? A two-year long monthly payment plan that pays for three things. The price covers the cost of purchasing the console and 24-month subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. How good is this deal? Well, $22 USD a month will get you an Xbox One S model, while you can go for the top shelf and pay $36 USD for the Xbox One X, the most powerful console currently on the market.

You could always just fork out $250 to buy the entry-level price for a PS4, Switch, or the Xbox, and then spend another $60 or so per game you actually want to play on it. And then you have to decide if you want to buy each console’s premium service, which will also cost you more money up front. Yeah, that’s no fun. Some retailers allow you to get interest-free financing on purchases that qualify, but this offer is coming straight from Microsoft. Suddenly, the consoles are well within your budget, aren’t they? Imagine being able to afford the best console on the market and access to 100+ games for less than the price of that iPhone you’re leasing right now. Sound good? It should.

There are some caveats to this major deal. You have to go to a Microsoft store to make the purchase. That could be an issue because unlike Apple, they don’t have that many retail stores out there. The deal is also only good while supplies last. Granted, you have to do the same thing with most cell phone providers too. So, yeah, there’s a few extra snags to jump in on this incredible offer.

But this could be the beginning of a great new business strategy. If it skyrockets the sales of Xbox One consoles, that would begin the turning point. With enough success, Microsoft might just feel like extending the offer to other retailers, not just their own. This is the initial stage of a great idea. Maybe one of the other competitors will pick up on this strategy and try it themselves. Either way, this company is putting their money where their mouth is, and they’re offering a great opportunity. Own a console and get access to tons of free games all for small monthly payments. I would always choose the interest-free options over paying for something outright, wouldn’t you?

Has this offer piqued your interest? Will other companies attempt this? Let us know in the comments.



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June 26th, 2017 by Stefan Adrian "AdminMas7er" Robu

What do you think of the Xbox One X?

So, it’s June 26th, which is a special day for me for reasons, one of these reasons is that it is the day when I got an Xbox One. 3 years ago, I moved from the 7th generation of consoles with the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, getting a Titanfall bundle. Initially, the Xbox One was the future, holding a lot of good features such as capturing gameplay, Kinect, Skype and many other nice things, while it was a near perfect console at the time, my opinion changed over the years, as I will outline in this article.

DESIGN

The Xbox One was bulky, large, similar to a VCR box (hence why a lot of people joked about this), it only came in black, with only a few exceptions in limited editions, but sometime later, white consoles were sold in bundles. Its size and looks did change with the reveal of the S version, which was smaller and better in performance, and now with the new Xbox One X, which is promoted to be “The Most Powerful console” being also the smallest out of the three versions. Anyway, back to the first one, it had a non-physical power button (which sometimes accidentally turns on and off if you touch it even with a wire), a Blu-Ray drive (got upgraded to a 4K one in the S), a large fan which manages cooling, 3 USB 3.0 ports (1 to the side, 2 to the back, 2 HDMI (one for TV Box input), optical audio, Kinect port and Ethernet port. To be honest, apart from size and weight, I don’t have many problems with it (the glossy top is prone to scratching if anyone has experienced that).

PERFORMANCE

Inside, it was powered by an AMD custom 8-core APU clocked at 1,75GHZ for the CPU and 853 MHZ GPU with 8GB of DDR3 memory, 8GB of flash storage and 32MB of eSRAM.  One of the downsides at launch is that it had only 500 GBs of storage but it was upgradable with external drives. Compared with its competitor, the Playstation 4, it was slightly weaker, most of the games being outputted at a resolution of 720p, 900p with a few exceptions, including first parties, at 1080p. For framerates, both systems held most linear games at 60 FPS, while open world games were at 30 FPS with rare exceptions. Overall, it held strong, even if it was beaten by the PS4. A major upgrade will be had with the new Xbox One X with its promised 4K and 60 FPS, will it manage that target? Only time will tell.

GAMES

On the games is where I have to say that the Xbox One sucks. After 2015, with the release of Halo 5, Microsoft decided to change the way their games were released with the new “Play Anywhere” system. Because of this, games were released on both Xbox One and Windows 10, which, theoretically, it means that the Xbox One does not have a lot of “True” exclusives, since they are on PC as well, otherwise, there weren’t any exclusives which have drawn my eye, neither Halo, or Forza, or Gears, or anything in-between, well, apart from one, ScreamRide, and maybe #IDARB, sadly, they aren’t that known or as popular.

CONTROLLER

Obviously, I couldn’t talk about the Xbox One without mentioning the controller. Honestly, this is the best controller for gaming, it’s big, perfect for my hands, sturdy and easy to use, the triggers and bumpers are way bigger than on the 360, though the bumpers are a bur stiff (not on the new controllers). And the joysticks are really easy to use, albeit they could have been taller. The high-end controller, the Elite, is very expensive but offers some degree of customization. The only downside of the first controllers is the proprietary connector for the mic, which required an adapter if you wanted to use it, the new controllers do have a 3.5 mm headphone jack which makes life easier.

CONCLUSION

 The Xbox One had problems with its launch, some problems over the years and now it does still have some, but it continues to be a fun, easy to use console from Microsoft, looking forward to its future and a solution to the exclusive problem.




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