Getting the Xbox Series X and first day play

September/August of 2020 a friend’s kids were looking for a used Xbox One so they could play Fortnight. My expectation at the time was I would pick up a Series X sometime in December or January and I’d survive not playing my couple of games I play for a bit. Hah… early May getting one was still just random luck, and it appears that may not be getting better any time soon due to supply disruptions and scalpers willing to put down 20 grand to keep 40 Xboxes off the market.

TL;DR – spent most of the first day updating OS, firmware, install disc, not really seeing instant load times but that’s probably server issues.

I started following Matt Swider on Twitter. He usually has at least about an hour lead on when different stores will get restocks, and for most of May I managed to miss anything by about 5-10 minutes, and even missed the Gamestop restock launch window by a good 18 minutes… but I got it. It was a bundle that had one item I was not particularly interested in (Call of Duty,) but meh, I had an ok time with a previous version so why not?

I heard the Xbox Series X arrive (day late) and caught the FedEx delivery person on camera chucking it three feet to my porch. I heard it through closed doors smacking concrete. Like seriously, 17 pound package does not need to be airborne. Luckily Microsoft had packed it well enough to handle FedEx’s yeeting.

I didn’t have time to set it up and test it that day, which gnawed at my gamer and now anti-FedEx soul. But the next day I hooked it up to the Vizio V705x-H1 which claims a 120Hz gaming experience and should handle 4K no problem. I was immediately greeted with the system needs an update message, and downloaded about a gig of updates I guess. I wasn’t paying too much attention as I was trying to wire things.

Once updated, two controllers needed firmware updates. Another 3-5 minutes of don’t touch this and we were ready to go at 15 or so in. I decided to download my Injustice 2 game (odd, because I have the install disc and no idea how it came to be in my digital locker,) and a couple of Disney games for the kids whose hands were too small for the controllers the last time we checked.

The first game my Series X played was Bolt… a 2008 or so game that ran on the XBOX 360 emulation. I’d expected… speed… I did not get it. 360 emulation took a long time to fire up – it did eventually but… maybe I’m remembering history faster, it didn’t seem to be much faster. OK, not dogging on emulation… maybe it has to run that speed.

Kids loved it, it played well, we kept having the remotes stop working though and had to sit really close. This was not the Series X fault, it was the router sitting between the Series X and the controller, but thought I’d mention keep your line of site to the thing clear. I do not know if my old Ones would have had that issue or not, it’s been a while.

I did some checking and discovered the system was in 1080P mode and would not recognize 4K. Not sure if it was the cable or the port it was plugged into but plugging it into the primary seemed to get me 4K, 120Hz refresh (60 really,) and HDR 10.

I played Injustice 2 afterward… it was slow, I couldn’t connect to the multiverse, anything online other than my profile was inaccessible. My assumption on that is that was entirely ID Studio’s issue over Memorial Day, but who knows. Gameplay on local was fine, but it was always fine even with my old One S.

Decided to install the Call of Duty from the BluRay installer. A few minutes install seemed to go by pretty quickly. It also needed an update.

After installing the thing I needed a 185.09 gigabyte install that took over 2 hours to download. That’s 4 dual-layer Blu-Ray discs worth of content. One quarter of the internal storage of the Series X is now devoted to this game. So far the only video segments I’ve seen tend to be 480p. The textures on the characters look slightly better, but nothing spotted so far.

After 2 & 1/2 hours of installing the game, something went wrong. Oh, I don’t know what went wrong. But it went wrong.

For about 5 minutes it went wrong, then worked, and I got stuck at a Privacy Policy. Nothing would function here except the Xbox menu and exiting the game. After a total of about 4 minutes I was told I’d entered an invalid email, given no option to do anything other than get dumped to the main menu where evidently I was now properly registered.

I was then told the first connection to the servers would be a long one. It was. Finally at 3+ hours I managed to get into Call of Duty. I believe I started the game around midnight. Played a couple of missions and determined the new controllers do not make me any better at CoD. Going to see about hooking up a mouse.

Call of Duty aside, my kids wanted their own profiles so neither could mess up the other’s progress in Bolt… don’t know if that’s going to work or not but I got started trying to set up profiles using [email protected] (the disposable email trick) – this seemed to be good enough to get an invite, but not to create a Microsoft account, which is required for a kid’s profile these days.

I had to go fish out their 4+ year old gmail accounts, send invites to them, create MS accounts, and then be greeted each time by a puzzle that tends to indicate I don’t know how to properly rotate an ant and a chicken… eventually I passed the puzzle and MS decided I was human and I managed to get kid MS profiles set.

Then I got down to business in Xbox Family Link and created a couple of Xbox accounts for them with hilarious default forced names like JauntyPineapple49494 and TreasonPug4465456. That was 1:14am and I’d managed thus far with half a day’s worth of Xbox Series X time to play 2 local fights in Injustice 2, install 4 games from my collection, 1 game from an install disc, and put a couple of kids accounts on.

Never thought I’d be spending 2+ hours installing a 180 gig update for a game that doesn’t look like it needs to be more than about 12 gigs.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts