Yesterday a ton of news hit the web as Microsoft held a reveal event for their next generation console, the Xbox One. A confusing name, considering its the third Xbox but we”ll roll with it. The Xbox One’s predecessor, the 360, has reached huge levels of success this generation but can they carry that momentum through to the new system? Check out all of the reveals below and tell us what you think.
One thing Microsoft did that Sony decided not to, back in their reveal event in February, was show the hardware. This was a clever move, for some reason the media reacted badly when Sony didn’t show the box, I guess because it gave them no iconic image to post everywhere. Obviously when you’re playing the game you don’t spend much time looking at the actual system but here’s a video of what it’s going to look like:
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Looks like a shiny black rectangle to me, ground breaking I know. Like I said, it doesn’t really matter what the box looks like so let’s take a look inside the thing and see what it can actually do.
This is what really matters – the stuff that will be powering the games and media you’ll be using. Here’s the list of features:
- Blu-ray drive
- HDMI in/outputs
- Two USB ports on the back
- Ethernet port
- Kinect sensor port
- S/PDIF connector
- IR Port
- 8GD DDR3 RAM
- 8 Core Microsoft custom CPU
- 500 GB Hard Drive
- D3D 11.1 chip with 32 MB embedded memory graphics processor
- Ethernet, three different 802.11n radios (for connecting to controller and other devices), WiFi Direct
- USB 3.0
- 1080p and 4K support, Optical output
- New Microsoft-developed Kinect camera, with 250,000-pixel infrared depth sensor and 1080p camera
The new Kinect camera actually looks pretty sweet, with it’s motion tracking capabilities light years ahead of the version Microsoft originally launched with.
Nearly all input lag has been lost, no longer do you require large open spaces in your living room/bed room for the thing to work and now the camera is 1080p and 30 frames per second the fidelity of the image is vastly improved. The new camera can also pick up movement in a much broader range of lighting meaning it’s far more accessible and easy to use.
Finally it can track up to 6 people now, rather than the two on the original Kinect. I’m still unconvinced on the extent to which I’ll want motion controls in my games but clearly the tech is there waiting for someone to use it in an innovative and captivating way.
Focus On Multimedia
A large portion of the announcement was dedicated to the multimedia functionality of the Xbox One. Using voice commands through the Kinect, you can easily swap between live TV, movies, music, games, internet and the store front. The transition is nearly instantaneous and worked very well in the demo given on stage.
Unfortunately that might just mean huge levels of trolling if you’re fighting a boss and you’re roommate comes in and shouts TV, kicking you out of the game mid battle but nonetheless it’s a sweet feature. With such a broad range of media, it looks like Microsoft don’t want you ever using another device again.
Halo: The Television Series
With this focus on multimedia, it makes sense for Microsoft to take it’s biggest franchise, Halo, and expand it to all of these other avenues. Last year they made the webseries, Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, but a collaboration with legendary director Steven Spielberg is sure to put this on a much larger scale. Check out the announcement below:
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Finally we get to the games. For a reveal event about their next game console, they were very light on the actual software side of things. Microsoft were criticized this generation for their lack of compelling exclusive games, and have sought to correct that announcing that in it’s first year on market, Xbox One will get 15 exclusive games, additionally, 8 of these will be all new franchises. This is pretty huge and seems to be a direct challenge to Sony’s claims of Playstation as the home of great exclusive titles.
The games they did show were the standard Microsoft affair: EA Sports titles, Forza 5 and Call of Duty: Ghosts. The most exciting of all of these was the announcement of the new game by Remedy (Max Payne, Alan Wake) called Quantum Break. Check out trailers for all the games below:
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These all look really pretty but none of the trailers show any gameplay which was kind of a let down. We didn’t get to see what games look like running on the system itself. Still, the games look amazing and with the promise of 15 exclusives, it seems like Microsoft is heading in the right direction on the games front. Games are no longer the sole focus of the system, that much is clear from their focus on television and movies, so can they deliver against Sony’s seemingly more hardcore system?
There is a lot of information to take in and a lot of things are still uncertain or confused at this point in time. We’ll bring you more news on the next generation of consoles as it breaks so stay tuned. If you want to watch the conference in it’s entirety Gamespot have it posted on their site here. If all of that was too much for you though, check out this 1:40 minute clip with the condensed highlights of the show:
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