Today at an event at its Redmond headquarters, Microsoft introduced the Xbox One. The new console features an upgraded Kinect sensor and will be launching around the world ‘later this year’.
Microsoft’s don Mattrick took the stage early on to say that the new Xbox “puts you at the center of a new generation of the living room.”
The console announcement was preceded by a video that had Xbox team members, filmmakers and executives touting the new capabilities of the device that would ‘allow you to have a relationship with your TV’. The tech is apparently designed to use sensors to recognize and personalize your experience.
Mattrick then recapped the past decade of Xbox history, including the original Xbox and the and Xbox 360. The motion sensing Kinect also got a shoutout. Mattrick says that E3 will be where Microsoft will share ‘what’s next’ when it comes to software on the new Xbox.
“Can we improve a living room that has become too complex, too fragmented and too slow,” questioned Mattrick. Simple, instant, complete and personalized were keywords used in his intro.
The new Xbox features 8GB of RAM, an 8-core CPU, a 500GB Hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11N Wi-fi with Wi-fi Direct. There is both an HDMI in and out port, allowing for TV passthrough and the new Xbox Guide.
The new Xbox features three operating systems including one which is a sliced down version of Windows 8, allowing coders to use the same Kernel on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Xbox games. Unfortunately, the Xbox One will not be compatible with Xbox 360 games.
The new Xbox is voice controlled, and responds to the words ‘Xbox on’, with no manual login and or waiting on system updates. There is live TV viewing, and Microsoft demonstrated a way to swap between games, music and live TV as fast as flipping channels.
The Xbox One also has a set of gesture controls that are accessible anywhere on the device. You can grab items like movies and stretch them to fill the screen or shrink them. There is also a ‘snap’ mode that allows you to pop a browser or other sidebar app into the window while you’re watching a movie or playing a game, mirroring features found in Windows 8.
The new Xbox One also has a guide which allows you to see your television programs in a similar manner to a cable box, but with additional features that include trending shows and more. Note that this guide is actually just the Xbox interface painted onto the same thing your cable box is showing you (note the Xfinity in the screenshot below), the One does not have a TV tuner built in or DVR features. Those are still relegated to your cable box for now, meaning that you’re going to be using the passthrough to get a better ‘experience’ only.
There is an IR port on the back of the One that allows you to run a repeater to your cable box to control it.
The new Xbox also comes with a brand new Kinect sensor that features detection of more joints, with less lag than ever before. Read about thenew Kinect sensor here.
A new controller is shipping with the Xbox One that includes a redesigned d-pad. You can read more about that here.
EA Sports introduced a new gaming engine called Ignite and four new games that will launch on the Xbox One, including NFL, FIFA and UFC.
The new engine features 3D crowds, dynamic sidelines and ’10x ‘ the animation depth.
Microsoft also showed off some titles like Forza Motorsport 5, which looked pretty impressive, featuring paint flake and plastic texture in what appeared to be in-game footage (but may have been pre-rendered).
Remedy Entertainment also showed off a new franchise called Quantam Break. This is one of 15 new titles that Microsoft Studios will publish in the first year of Xbox One, with 8 of those titles being new franchises.
Microsoft also announced that downloadable content for the next Call of Duty would be exclusive to the Xbox One.