About two years ago Microsoft launched the new XBOX ONE at the E3 Expo. The launch was kind of a disaster due to poor messaging about some new rules around sharing games. I felt bad for the XBOX team. It’s not easy catering to the gaming community. I decided to stay with XBOX and bought an XBOX ONE for me and my young son who lives in Florida.
I really don’t think I can overstate what an incredible system this is for parents no longer living with their child. The XBOX ONE comes with apps (like a smartphone). The SKYPE app is one of the apps you can add. SKYPE is a free app for video chatting online. You can use your XBOX to video chat like you would on a tablet, smartphone or computer but there is one very big difference. When playing Minecraft or any of their online multiplayer XBOX games, the video chat window “snaps” to the upper right hand corner of the screen. Most of my screen is me playing Destiny or Minecraft in a group with my son but I can see and video chat with him while we play. And it is a blast!
I have two sons. One is 20 and one is 10 and I was a long distance dad to both of them. I can remember trying to keep my older son on the phone in the early 2000s. Calls lasting more than 7 or 8 minutes were pretty rare. Its very hard to keep a young child’s attention over the phone. But now, with my 10 year old, I can see when he is online, launch the SKYPE app, and we can easily play and video chat for an hour.
Here is a very homemade video of me and my son gaming and video chatting on the XBOX. There is about 4 minutes of playful banter before we get to video gaming.
What to buy. The XBOX ONE setup. Remember. Take each price and double it. You need two of everything for setting this up. It can get expensive (especially VR) so some families may want to give this as a social gift.
- XBOX ONE Console ($250 to $400)
- Kinect ($75 to $100)
- XBOX LIVE Gold – 12 Month Membership ($60)
- Online Multiplayer Video Games (Free to $100)
If interested in learning more you can check out my tech guide for offworld dads. Its a good place to start.