Now that Microsoft unveiled Xbox One, we have a better understanding on what’s coming in the next generation of the game console. Though, there still many questions to be answered, hopefully the company will open up in E3 2013.
I previously wrote a few other pieces covering Microsoft taking on questions about the cloud-powered game console, backward compatibility, about the three operating systems, a large collection of Xbox One photos, and much more. Make sure to read them up and continue here to have a better overview of what’s going on.
Xbox One specs
We finally know what hardware specifications the new Xbox will have. Rumors and leaks has been around for months and as it turns out pretty much all you’ve read is true. Xbox One will be powered by a new AMD 8-core APU (GPU and CPU combined in one chip) running at 1.6GHz with 64-bit architecture. It’ll also feature 8GB or RAM, 500GB hard drive (BTY it is not removable), HDMI pass-thru to connect a cable set-top box and HDMI out, IR out port, gigabit ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports, a new custom Kinect 2 port, Wi-Fi 802.11n, and Wi-Fi Direct (for peer-to-peer wireless connection with compatible devices, that we yet don’t know which are they).
Xbox One will include a Blu-Ray drive — and this one I have to give to Sony for adopting the media early on, if you remember Microsoft opted for the HD-DVD companion drive in the Xbox 360 and it turned out to be a mistake –.
The new Xbox will copy the game automatically to the hard drive and you won’t be able to gift a used game disc to your friend, but specifics to how this will actually work still unclear. The rumor is that Microsoft will require activation fee so you can resell a disc or give it away.
Microsoft official statement is: “The ability to trade in and resell games is important to gamers and to Xbox. Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future.”
The new Kinect 2 sensor will come bundled with every Xbox One sold. The 3rd generation sensor will be more improved, it will be better at voice commands and hands gestures. It also features a 1080p camera with a larger lens, which means no more motors to adjust angles automatically. It will work on smaller spaces and tall people will not have to move further away anymore, and It will come with its own processing hardware. The sensor is also bulky and bigger than its predecessor — if you look closer it might just remind you of the Xbox 360 power brick –.
Xbox One controller
The new controller looks gorgeous and perhaps will be one of the best ever created. The redesigned controller is black a bit bigger that the one for Xbox 360. Now it also comes integrated with battery and includes rumble motors (vibration) in the triggers for a better gaming experience. Buttons are positioned in the same place as before, but A, B, X, and Y are more stylish and have vibrant colors.
Xbox One operating system
I already wrote about the three OSes and how Xbox One will benefit from Windows, so you should check it out and then continue here. Xbox One will have a new revamped user-interface that matches the Windows Phone and Windows 8 user interface, and you’ll will also find a very familiar look to the current Xbox 360.
Probably the biggest highlight is that the video game console now is able to do more than one thing at a time. This is possible because of the three operating systems that the console is running at all times, which will let you play a game or watch live TV and take a Skype call at the same time, instantly and very fast.
Microsoft is also bringing Snap mode to Xbox One and it works exactly the same to what you already know in Windows 8. It is a feature that will allow you to have two experiences on the same TV screen. For example, you can watch TV and have the new ESPN app side-by-side, or play a movie and have a Skype video call right next to it.
Xbox Live Gold membership
Not to go into much detail here, but Microsoft has said that a Xbox Live Gold membership account will be good for Xbox One as well as in Xbox 360. Furthermore, the news is that the subscription will be per-Xbox One and not per-user account as it is now set for Xbox 360. This basically means that once the console has a Xbox Live Gold subscription, all family members will be able to get access to to Xbox Live and all its benefits (online gaming, Netflix, Xbox Music, Videos, etc.).
With Xbox One sharing gameplay will become ubiquitous with Game DVR users will be able to record, edit, and share easily the game they play. Microsoft will also be introducing Smart Match on Xbox Live to match players dynamically based on how you use the console throughout time and not just for a specific game match.
Xbox One TV
Another big bet for Microsoft is live TV, in Xbox One you’ll be able to connect your set-top box via Xbox’s HDMI pass-thru to enjoy live TV, a new on-screen guide called OneGuide, Favorites and Trending content tailored to your likes.
It’s yet not clear if this functionality will need permission from your cable provider, but surely the company is working so that doesn’t happen or at least you’ll be able to connect the two devices without much issues — Note that at launch, this new service will only work in the US.
We’ve been seeing and understanding all about console and services, but how about the games, right? Well the event was primarily to showcase the Xbox One hardware and features, and to have an idea to where Microsoft is headed with this new generation of entertainment system.
However the company did make some interesting coming for Xbox One the first year including, Microsoft Studio new Forza Motorsport 5 racing; from EA, FIFA 14, EA Sports UFC, Madden NFL 25, and NBA Live 14. Activision, of course, was a highlight showing a sneak peek to Call of Duty Ghosts. Microsoft also promised that Xbox One will have 15 exclusive games the first year alone. (And Steven Spielberg will be the director and producer of the first Halo live-action TV series.)
Xbox One demo
Xbox One price is yet to be announced, earlier we heard that Microsoft was going to price the next Xbox $499 and $299 with an Xbox Live Gold membership subscription at $15/month for 2 year contract, but the company dismissed this last one. Be sure to stay tuned because E3 is around the corner and we’ll know more information then.
Update: According to a new report from Polygon, Xbox One will not require an activation fee for used game, however it will need an internet connection to check to that all games are legit. The information was revealed by source close the project.
Update 2: Previously I mentioned that Xbox One isn’t backward compatible with Xbox 360 games and that Microsoft will continue supporting the game console. Now we have a little more information (from Joystiq) that confirms that the folks at Redmond will continue to sell the Xbox 360 consoles at least for another five years and the company also expects to sell another 25 million of this generation game console.
Other features that Microsoft is working on is the ability for Kinect to talkback to gamers, similar to Apple’s Siri two-way conversation. However still unclear if this feature will make it into the final product, as Microsoft still have it under developement. And finally the new Xbox will have a “remote assistance” feature that will allow a remote players to take over the game — you know, in those cases when you’re stuck on a difficult level and you need some help –.