The Xbox Live Handbook is a book in progress. A Guide to Xbox One Games is part five of the epic walk through of Microsoft’s console. You can check out other parts of the Handbook here. Feel free to make suggestions for changes in the margins — I mean comments.
Even as Microsoft expands the separate offerings it has through different apps and partner services, you’ll likely spend a huge amount of your time playing video games on its Xbox One entertainment console.
Gaming has gotten more pervasive. Everyone who’s anyone has played Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga or Threes. Who among us hasn’t at least seen video from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. What many in the video game industry seem to ignore is that gaming isn’t as straight forward as it once was. Jumping into Xbox One games can be daunting, which is why we’re breaking them down for you specifically.
The Xbox One Handbook – A Guide to Xbox One Games: The Difference Between Disc & Digital Xbox One Games
The Difference Between Disc & Digital Xbox One Games
Faster broadband internet speeds have already changed so many forms of content that it was hard to imagine the video games industry wouldn’t have to reckon with it at some point. For years we purchased games on discs. To get those discs you had a place a pre-order at a local store or order online. Your pre-order would arrive at your local store on release night, possibly at midnight if you were brave enough go to a midnight launch.
Digital and disc-based Xbox One games are like flip sides of the same coin. You can purchase disc titles the same way generations of gamers have done for years. A single Xbox One game costs $60 and you’ll need to install a piece of the game on your hard drive. (That happens the moment you put in the disc.)
Digital games is a whole new frontier though. Digital Xbox One games arrive in the Xbox Store the moment they’re available in GameStop and other retailers – sometimes earlier. Like with discs, pre-ordering is possible if you’d like to have the game ready and installed ahead of release night. Pre-ordering also ears you some digital extras, the same extras that store shoppers get.
From the moment you purchase a digital Xbox One game it’s added to your digital collection. You can download the game from any Xbox One with an internet connection and your Xbox Live account. Some take to carrying all of their digital Xbox One games on a portable hard drive, moving that hard drive between consoles and avoiding the download process on other consoles altogether.
Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold Home hands users a huge advantage if they purchase digital games. You can set a single Xbox One as your home console, letting you share those games with anyone else logged into that console where you’re online or not. I’ve used this to my advantage lately, letting a friend of mine play Titanfall in my living room while I played against them on another Xbox One console in my office. You can switch into a digital Xbox One game effortlessly with a voice command or gesture, provided you have a Kinect for Xbox One sensor.
The big disadvantage to digital Xbox One games is directly related to their delivery method. There’s no disc for you to put into your console and that means there’s no physical media for you to sell or trade to places like GameStop once you’re done with the game. My advice is to find some balance. If you’re unsure about a game then definitely buy on disc and save yourself some headaches later. If you’re definitely into the series buying digital is fine.
The Xbox One Handbook – A Guide to Xbox One Games: When to Buy Xbox One Games
When to Buy Xbox One Games
In the last year the debate over when to purchase any game has raged on. In days gone by, video games weren’t necessarily as complicated, large and potentially unwieldy. A growing number of video games completely rely on online services.
The problem is that a number of games have arrived on store shelves with broken online components. Even games that you’d expect to not rely on online services do. Digital and retail pre-orders mean that you can buy an Xbox One game months before it ever arrives on store shelves. What’s more, there are huge incentives for doing so. The problem with buying ahead of release is that you could run into server issues and bugs on release day. To be clear, that’s not always an issue, but it’s a positive of waiting to read reviews before you make a purchase.
Waiting until after release — maybe as little as a week — can help you avoid potential headaches. It also ensures that you won’t get any of the pre-order bonuses that most game makers and retailers offer. Often times, video game developers will make that content available to users for a price late on, but that’s not always the case.
Everyone expects video games to still cost $60 and come in standard packaging. We’re a bit past that at this point. $60 versions of games are still available, but most game developers now bundle extras with the basic version of the game for extra cash up front. Take Batman: Arkham Knight for example. It’ll launch with standard physical and digital copies for $60 and season pass bundles for $99.
The Xbox One Handbook – A Guide to Xbox One Games: Where to Find Games Savings
Where to Find Games Savings
Saving on anything is a thrill, saving on Xbox One games could be a game in itself.
When you’re looking to save some on newer titles, aim for trade-in deals at retail stores that get you big discounts for the new game in exchange for taking your old games. With the right mix of titles and bonuses it’s pretty easy to wind up with a free game like this. Amazon offers an online game trade-in program that gets users Amazon credit instead of cash. GameStop offers cash and store credit for trade-ins, though you’ll always get less cash value than store credit. Best Buy and Wal-Mart offer trade-in programs at some of their stores too.
Xbox Live Gold users get a new set of discounted games every week. Microsoft calls this Deals With Gold. The deals last roughly a week and any game you purchase is yours to keep forever. This is a part of those Xbox Live Gold benefits we talked about in an earlier part of the Xbox One Handbook. Also, keep in mind that Microsoft gives out free games as part of the Gold subscription too.
Don’t expect to find big savings on games that launched recently; that’s not exactly how game discounts work. Look for sales in the Xbox dashboard and deep discounts in weekly advertisements and circulars. Older games usually depreciate in value within three of four months.
The Xbox One Handbook – A Guide to Xbox One Games: Xbox One Games Ratings
Xbox One Games Ratings
Every Xbox One game you purchase has what’s called a rating. It’s this rating that you need to pay attention to when you’re buying games. Buy a game with the wrong rating and your two year-old may learn some words you aren’t comfortable with him or her knowing just yet.
EC is for Early Childhood. Games with the EC rating are for virtually anyone, but meant for kids developing their motor skills. E for Everyone is broadly acceptable too, though these games may have control schemes too difficult for young children to understand.
Everyone 10 and up has some mild violence but is too bad. T for Teen is where you need to start paying attention to what you’re buying. M for Mature and A for Adult are what you want to be careful about buying someone.
Mature and Adult games — when they’re sold in stores — require that someone present a valid photo ID.
All ratings are maintained by an industry group called the Electronic Safety Ratings Board or ESRB, you can always check there for the latest game ratings. Depending on whether you’ve turned on Family settings, children accounts are blocked from getting their hands on Mature and Adult content over Xbox Live.