It’s difficult to imagine a Microsoft-backed product as an underdog, but the Xbox One is just that. The PlayStation 4 soars on the strength of its strong console-exclusive titles; and the Nintendo Switch does the same, while also offering a cool home-and-away functionality. Still, Xbox One has a lot going for it; in fact, Microsoft’s console has excellent titles and features that you’ll only find on the Xbox One.
If you want top-notch racing action, Microsoft has two series that’ll zoom into your heart: Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon (the PCMag office favorite). Want platforming action? Check out the beautifully animated Cuphead. Dig high-seas adventure? Sea of Thieves has you covered.
Xbox One, naturally, has many of the third-party games you’ll find on other consoles. If you want Dragon Ball FighterZ, Final Fantasy XV, Red Dead Redemption 2, or Tekken 7, you can purchase them for Xbox One.
In terms of features, Xbox Play Anywhere is one of the coolest to emerge from Microsoft’s video game division. When you purchase select digital titles, such as Cuphead or Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, it becomes yours to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. In fact, your progress is saved via the cloud, so you can start a game on Xbox and finish it on PC (or vice versa).
Likewise, Xbox Backward Compatibility offers additional play options. With it, you can fire up Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles on your Xbox One. This applies to classic digital games, as well as disc-based titles. Xbox Backward Compatibility also boosts those games’ pixel counts and expands the color details. Even better, if you’re playing Xbox 360 games, you can fire up your old game saves, achievements, and Gamerscore. And if you sign up for Xbox Live, you can play those classic games with friends.
Xbox Game Pass is a Netflix-like service that lets you play hundreds of select titles for just $9.99 per month. Naturally, you lose access to the games once you stop paying the subscription fee, but if you’re someone who plays tons of games, this may be a fine alternative to separately purchasing each title. In 2019, Microsoft brought Xbox Game Pass to PC.
Finally, if you’re a gamer with a physical disability, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a godsend. Developed by Microsoft and organizations such as AbleGamers, Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Special Effect, and Warfighter Engaged, the Xbox One and Windows 10 accessory is designed for gamers with limited range of motion and use of limbs. Microsoft really has something for everyone this console generation.
If you want to check out the best games on the Xbox One platform, check out our pick. They’re fantastic games that’ll keep you enthralled for hours at a time. If you’re a fan of Microsoft’s gaming platform, you may also want to check out our story on everything we know so far on the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, the company’s Xbox One successors.