Today, Microsoft revealed their next console, dubbed the Xbox One. Their unveiling took the opposite approach to Sony’s, as they shied away from big video game reveals in favor of system specs, apps, the upgraded Kinect, new controller, and sports. Lots of sports.
Let’s get familiar with the Xbox One, after the break.
As you can see, the console is gorgeous.
They’ve finally replaced the loading tray — the cause of the third of five times I had to send my Xbox 360 in to get repaired — and the overall look is a sleek, shiny black. The controller has been tweaked a bit, too. The Xbox 360′s awful d-pad has been traded for the standard plus-style one, the analog sticks now have ridged edges, and the triggers feature something called “dynamic impulse,” which adds rumble to that specific area. Great for shooters, I suspect.
The Kinect has seen a significant upgrade as well, and when the Xbox One ships later this year — yes, this year — it’ll come bundled with each console. The peripheral brings with it a 1080p RGB camera that captures video at 30 FPS. It will allow for menu navigation, including voice commands and motion gestures. Apparently, the Kinect can monitor your heartbeat, which means when the console becomes self aware it’ll know when you’re lying about the location of John Connor.
Speaking of functionality, here’s a look at the system’s specs:
8 GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0, HDMI in and out, and on top of that the Xbox One will run three systems at once: the Xbox OS, Windows Kernel, and a combination of the two for multitasking. Xbox Live has been improved, with added cloud features and support and now the service will run on an impressive 300,000 servers. To put that in perspective, the Xbox 360 currently uses 3,000 servers. Also, that whole required Internet connection has been officially confirmed to be false. Phew.
Obviously, this is an extremely powerful system. During the event they used Kinect motion gestures to switch between multiple apps — like, say, a game and a movie — that were running simultaneously. It was insanely fast.
Microsoft was anxious to talk about the numerous apps and partnerships they have in the works, including an expanded partnership with ESPN that will give users the ability to access extra information while watching ESPN. This includes bringing up a side panel while the content is playing that will display things like fantasy league and player stats.
The Xbox One will be getting group Skype calling, so you can chat with your friends while you play a game or watch a movie. Microsoft’s plans to turn the Xbox into an all-in-one entertainment device have been public knowledge, and it looks like they’re taking this plan one (giant) step forward with their next console with its live TV functionality.
Using motion gestures or voice commands you can navigate TV shows, networks, pin them to your favorites, or search the “trending” tab to find the most popular content.
No word yet on whether Microsoft wants the Xbox One to replace your DVR or cable box or if it takes input from the device and slaps its snazzy Xbox goodness over it, but I’m sure they’ll divulge more details on that in the coming weeks.
Lastly, the video games. There were a few of those at the event. Look for our list of confirmed Xbox One titles very soon. Microsoft is saving most of the game-related reveals for E3. They did reveal new features that will allow users to record and save game footage, similar to the PS4. There will also be something called “dynamic achievements,” which give developers the ability to constantly add and update their game’s achievements.
As for the console’s price tag, your guess is as good as mine. That probably won’t be revealed until E3, or possibly later.