Last night, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Microsoft’s first ever TIFF party at Bloke & 4th on King West.

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Yes, there was a green carpet! I had to bring Kris (that’s the fiance), who is an even bigger gamer than I am. Big thanks to my friend Jo (@clickflickca), for snapping this photo!

The vibe of the event was great. Packed full of people – a strange mix of suits, techies and bloggers. But everyone was having fun + mingling + eating and drinking. The food was incredible, by the way! I wish I took photos, but I was famished and only have 2 hands = one for my drink, one for my food. My fave of the night was the shrimp and the grilled cheese! (If you were there, tell me you tried them?!)

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The star of the night was the Xbox One , available in-stores on November 22, 2013 for $499.99.

As you can see, the console is slightly bigger than the 360, although it looks more sleek. It also comes with the Kinect, which I would have loved to try, but was understandably not available at this event.

There’s been much controversy surrounding the Xbox One release. Many Xbox fans, including myself, held the 360 on a pedestal because I’ve always looked at it as a superior console to the PS3 in terms of gaming. “Real video gamers use a 360, not a Ps4” kind of thing. Of course, this is just my experience and opinion – I’m sure you have yours. (Friendly reminder that this is not a PS vs. XBOX post. That may come later, closer to the release dates.) Anyway, when Microsoft  announced the Xbox One, gamers around the world were ecstatic. But, as we learned that it was being marketed as a media centre (watch movies + TV) instead of a gaming console, we felt betrayed.  (Oh, the drama!)  To my relief, Microsoft eventually reversed many of those those decisions.

So… you can understand how excited I was to touch + play with the highly-anticipated console. We would be there to play games with it! Not use it for the TV or any other feature. GAMES! 

Me playing Forza (I’m not a big fan of Forza, but I will admit I was impressed with the graphics.)

Kris playing Killer Instinct – FINALLY, right? (He was very excited to try this!)

[From Venture Beat:] “Killer Instinct will launch as a free-to-play game on the Xbox One. The free version will come with only Jago as a playable character. Gamers can then pay $5 for each individual character or $20 for the all eight characters in the Combo Breaker pack. Double Helix also plans a $40 Ultra Edition that includes the eight characters and all of their costumes, accessories, and the original Killer Instinct game.”

So, what did I think of it?

THE GOOD:

  • The controller feels amazing. It is lighter and feel like it fits in my hands more than the 360 controllers (which I am a big fan of.) You can head over to the Microsoft website to see the controller clearer.
  • Response time on the dashboard, from the buttons to the screen was real-time. No lag at all. (I will not miss that split second lag on the 360 dashboard.)
  • The graphics are out of this world. Truly impressive. I was totally blown away with the details on Killer Instinct, from the background to the characters.

THE ‘MEH’ (there weren’t really any “BAD”s):

  • My Forza game took a while to start. We weren’t sure why, but it kept bringing me to the main menu. On the third try, the race finally began. The loading time for Forza was also a little longer than I expected, but that might just be because I don’t normally play Forza. Someone at the event told me that Forza usually takes awhile to load. (Can Forza players confirm this?)
  • I really wish I had more games to play with (I would have shit my pants in excitement if there was a FPS for us to play). I would have liked to explore the games more, too. But we were only able to play 1v1 matches on Killer Instict and single player for Forza.

So, am I going to buy it? Honestly, playing with it for such a short burst of time is not enough to get me to commit (yet), but having done so is a big step towards that “YES“. I really wish I had more time with it, but what I experienced was impressive. The graphics, speed and comfort of the controller were the highlights for me. I can already see sleepless nights in our future, playing Killer Instinct with our friends and yelling and trash talking until the wee hours of the morning. Now, I just need to play with with a FPS and I’d be another step closer to pre-ordering this baby.

What are your deciding factors on which of the new consoles will be getting your hard-earned money? Or maybe you’ve already decided and pre-ordered – either way, let me know! Or if you have specific questions, feel free to ask me!

Microsoft’s Xbox One will be available in-stores on November 22, 2013 in 13 markets (Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and USA). Priced at $499.99. Pre-order is available at Microsoft.com and other retailers.

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  • Looks like the event was most definitely a success in getting people to “feel” the console. I’ve personally never owned a xBox so my comments would be biased towards the PS3/4 (which I have on pre-order along side various games).

    The fact that many of the “media” features required subscriptions or another device to work was a major factor which pushed me towards PS4, as well as, being a PS3 owner, not an online but storyline gamer and using my unit for BluRay’s for my kids, was primarily why I went PS4.

    I would be interested in getting my hands on a unit for a few days though or at the very least checking it out and seeing for myself what the hype is all about.

    • Yes! To me, it’s never been about Xbox vs PS – it’s what works for your lifestyle. That said, now that the new Xbox has more multimedia features, does it make it more attractive to non-online gamers like yourself? Or does the required paid subscription still trumps that?

      (Thanks for reading + commenting!)

      • My “multimedia” setup involved an Apple TV, Netflix (US & Canadian) and a NAS drive filled with TV shows and movies. I don’t buy anything off the PS Network nor do I subscribe to anything (Netflix aside). From what I read about the multimedia features on the xBox, I not only require a paid subscription to their network but also a cable box to utilize the integrated features. I don’t have cable and haven’t had any for the past 4 years, not looking to buy into it now. (I buy through iTunes all my movies and TV show subscriptions for seasons and I am satisfied doing so.)

        My PS3 (& upcoming PS4) are specific to playing BluRay’s and the occasional game. Microsoft would have to try and convince me otherwise to leave and so far, they haven’t.