If you’re picking up an Xbox One X, there’s a fairly good chance you’re already an Xbox owner. It seems like Microsoft is targeting the Xbox loyal with the One X as a starting base while it builds a better argument for the system’s justifiable but very intimidating $500 sticker. If you’re upgrading then, you might be wondering, as this thing makes its way from Amazon, Microsoft, or wherever else, what you’re in for. Let’s call it a mixed bag.
If you’re planning to upgrade, but don’t have the system quite yet, Microsoft wants to do as much as it can to make sure you’re not waiting once the One X is plugged in. There’ll be the system update either way – there’s always a system update. But you can dig into your Xbox One menus and enable 4K download on non-4K systems. If you’re not upgrading, definitely don’t do that. It’ll just take up hard-drive space. But for many of us, our download speeds can’t compare to the transfer speeds of our internal networks and hard drives. This feature wasn’t quite ready when I was doing the bulk of my downloading just because there weren’t very many Xbox One X Enhanced games just yet, but it’s still worth a look all the same.
This was a genius move on Microsoft’s part. The Xbox One X’s ports are in the same spots, albeit slightly different spacing, as the Xbox One S. Swapping the two out couldn’t be easier. While in the process of reviewing the unit, I ended up swapping the systems more than a few times as I went back and forth to capture screenshots and video and things like that. It’s as simple as it could possibly be. One day, maybe HDMI will transmit video, ethernet, and power, and we’ll just have one cable for everything. Until then, this is as easy as it gets.
Getting your games from one Xbox to the other is the next step. Microsoft has provided a couple ways to do this, and they’re both pretty easy to get started. The cheapest is using the new network transfer feature. If you have two Xbox consoles connected to the same network, you simply plug them in, turn them on, drop into the new console’s settings menu, and begin the transfer. How long this will take will vary wildly based on how much you’re transferring and the quality of your network. If you’re going to do this, I strongly suggest both Xbox consoles be wired. Even over the wire, this takes plenty of time. Just a few full-sized games can take hours. It’s the kind of thing you set-and-forget. Hook it up before work in the morning, or before bed at night. If you choose this method, it’s easy to setup, and requires nothing more than selection which games and apps you want to move over.
But you can also do away with the process altogether. If you pick up an external hard drive, you can simply move your games onto that and just plug it into whichever box you’re using just then. You can also copy the games over, but that means having to maintain two copies of each game, and having to update them twice. When we’re talking about 4K content, that means downloading 20GB of content twice.
I did run into some weird glitches here, though. While I expect Microsoft and various developers to have them resolved before too long, they’re worth mentioning. With 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, for example, I had installed the full game to my external HDD, but when I tried to move it between my two Xbox consoles, it forced a re-download of the 20GB patch – a huge headache.
Everything else, though, was easy. So much of your profile syncs automatically that the process of playing a game on one system and then the other is all but seamless. There’s an oddity with Fallout 3 where loading a save from the X console will give you a warning that content from the One X console is missing, but it doesn’t have any practical results I’ve found yet. Accessories sync up easily and quickly.
Upgrading is very nearly as easy as Microsoft promised. There are some headaches when moving between the two – get a hard drive if you can. It’s not necessary, but it means you only have to download and maintain one set of games. If you’re sharing the systems, that might not work, but for a household with one primary gamer, it’s a no-brainer. Aside from that, everything kinda just works. You just end up with a better looking gaming system in the process.