The Parents’ Guide to… Xbox One

Xbox One is a cutting edge console with an incredible array of games. Whether it’s action-packed shooting in the Halo series, authentic driving simulations in the Forza titles, or multiplayer pirate adventures in Sea Of Thieves, Microsoft’s third generation Xbox has the sort of exclusive experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

It also boasts a few value-packed services designed to bring you more games for less money – perfect to kickstart your collection. So if you’re in the market for a console to entertain the entire family, our Xbox One buyers’ guide brings you everything you need to know.

What do I get in the box?

Xbox One comes with everything you need to get started. So that is: the console itself, an HDMI cable to plug into your TV or monitor, a power cable to shove in the wall, and a controller powered by two AA batteries.

Some bundles pack in additional games and controllers, like this two-gamepad Xbox One S bundle, or this Xbox One X bundle containing a game, a headset, and a two-month subscription to Now TV.

What’s different between the various Xbox models?

There are several versions of the Xbox One you need to know about. Now, they all play the same games, so you never have to worry whether something you buy for one Xbox will play on another. However, different Xbox’s bring different things to the table.

The Xbox One is the console’s earliest iteration, launching back in 2013. 2016’s Xbox One S, meanwhile, is 40% smaller and brings a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, as well as the ability to play games at higher resolutions. If you really want to see games at their best however, you’ll want an Xbox One X. It’s currently the most powerful console on Earth, able to run most games silky smoothly and at true 4K to boot.

What games might my children enjoy?

Firstly, Fortnite is a great game for young-uns. It’s a light-hearted online shooter where you’re aiming to be the last person standing in a battle between 99 other competitors. Better yet, it’s entirely free.

There’s also the kid-friendly Super Lucky’s Tale, in which you play as a cute fox bounding through a colourful world, and open-world sailing game Sea Of Thieves, which is about teaming up with others and embarking on a pirate adventure across the high seas.

How can I get cheaper games?

A subscription service called Game Pass offers over one hundred games to download at the low monthly price of £7.99. This gives you access to a library featuring both brand new blockbusters and past classics.

There are also a bunch of bonuses for those subscribed to Xbox’s online service, Xbox Live Gold (more on that below). The first is Deals With Gold. These weekly discounts knock up to 75% off the price of both Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles.

The second is Free Play Days, which let you play select games freely for a given length of time. Recent examples include Forza Motorsport 7 and Warhammer Vermintide 2. And finally, there’s Games With Gold. This service gives you a handful of games to download for free every month!

What do I need to play online?

Getting your Xbox One hooked up to the internet couldn’t be simpler. You can do it via a wired or wireless connection. Just attach your Xbox One to a router using an ethernet cable, or give your Xbox One the router’s WiFi password, and you’re good to go. Better yet, it’s entirely free, so you can start downloading games, films, and apps immediately.

If you want to play online with others however, you’ll need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. You can choose between a £5.99-per-month or £39.99-per-year plan. With voice communication, stable servers, and millions of players signed up already, there’s always someone to game with.

What else does Xbox One do besides play games?

Of course, Xbox One isn’t just a great games machine. If you want to watch films and TV shows, simply head onto the built-in Microsoft Store and download anything from Avengers: Infinity War to Peaky Blinders. Apps make the Xbox One even more irresistible, giving you the ability to watch Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, WWE Network, Twitch, and more from your console.

Is there anything else I need to get?

If you fancy taking your gaming to the next level, GAME can help. For example, you might want to grab the Elite controller that offers swappable components to enhance precision. How about a quality headset? For that we recommend something like the Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50X Headset. Read about what other headsets you can get here.

Get your Xbox One and games for it here