The Xbox One user experience is still lacking

Over the past few days I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Sunset Overdrive. It’s a fun, stylish, and addictive action game that is on the short list of must-have games for the Xbox One. Now, I’ll admit that I don’t play my Xbox One as often as my PS4, Wii U, or PC, but that’s not based on platform preference, it’s simply based on where the most recent exciting releases have been for me. So coming back to the Xbox One meant that I needed to do some updates and whatnot, but those are pretty typical of the current generation systems. Annoying, sure, but hardly an issue unique to the Xbox One. Anyway, keep on reading to see why the Xbox One got me all grumpy despite acting as the home for such a fantastic new gaming experience.

So yeah, first thing I needed to do before playing Sunset Overdrive was to update the system firmware. I don’t know why, but the Xbox One’s download speeds are far slower than what I had with the Xbox 360, what I currently have with the PS4 or Wii U, and pretty much every device I own. It’s been like this since launch, and I’ve yet to see improvement. The update was around 250 MB, I believe, but it still took 15-20 minutes to download. The update took another 5 minutes from the time the download completed.

Once the update was taken care of, I decided to redeem the codes I had for Sunset Overdrive, one being a QR code, the other a 25-digit code. I told my Kinect that I wanted to “use a code” and it only took me 4-5 times trying to get it to understand me. The XB1 prompted me to hold up the QR code, which I did, and then the system hung for a good 5 minutes trying to process the code. Eventually it failed, and I tried again. The second time it worked, and my bonus DLC started. After that, I decided to just play the game, because I wasn’t in the mood to input a 25-digit code after all the waiting.


I put the disc in, and I had to wait for the game to install. It wasn’t too long before I could play, but it was a definite waiting period that was quite unwelcome given the waiting time I had already experienced. From the time I opened the game’s packaging until I started playing, we were sitting at 45 minutes or longer. I wish this was typical, but this happens so often when I come back to the XB1.

Playing Sunset Overdrive was great. I put in a couple of hours and really enjoyed myself. Everything was perfectly fine as far as the console goes, but I ran out of time to play and felt a little robbed that I had waited so long to get into things in the first place.

I had a few minutes to spare, so I decided to punch in my code. I again told the Kinect that I wanted to use a code. When I entered the code, I must have missed a number or letter, because it came up as an invalid code, but rather than letting me edit my input, it made me do it again from scratch. In 2014, where else does this happen?! Come on, Microsoft. Ok, so I started over, and midway through the input, the stupid “app” closes. Great, let’s go for a 3rd time now. I tell the Kinect (again) that I would like to use a code. This time it ends up going to the Marketplace and hangs. No code entry pops up. I reach for the controller and manually navigate (which is a chore in that dashboard) to the enter a code app. When I click on it, Sunset Overdrive opens. WTF?!

I exit back to the dashboard and tell Kinect once more that I want to enter a code. It gets me to the input eventually (it had to think for like 20 seconds though), and I start punching in the code again. By now I almost have it memorized. Again, when I’m nearly finished, the window closes and I’m looking at the main Marketplace window. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I give it one more chance, repeat the “use a code” command and get in there. By now I’m fed up, but I get through the code and it gets accepted this time. I look at the time and realize that I’m running late and that entering a 25-digit code has taken me over 10 minutes to do. Great.

So when it comes down to it, it took me a solid 3 1/2 hours to play roughly 2 hours of Sunset Overdrive on the first night. This is getting ridiculous, Microsoft. I don’t understand how we’ve regressed so much from the snappy 360 UI to this awfully clunky and clumsy Xbox One UI. With nearly year since launch, this thing needs to be far more ahead than it is now. Just opening up my friends list takes 10 seconds to do when it used to happen in under one with the 360, even after the bloated NXE updates. Just entering a simple redemption code is something I have to plan for. Just playing a game is something I have to put on my personal calendar with allotted runover time, because nothing can be instant anymore.

I’m starting to feel like an old man, pining for the “good old days” in gaming when I could buy a game, get home, and be playing it in less than 5 minutes after walking in the door. Now I expect it to be a 30 minute minimum. You’re making me feel old, Microsoft. Stop it.

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