Today Microsoft revealed the newest edition to the Xbox family: the Xbox One. While the name may seem underwhelming — and will likely cause some confusion among some less-informed consumers — after watching the reveal, the name sort of makes sense.
The All In One Platform:
The big push during the reveal was showing the the Xbox One is a media center rather than just a game console. The Xbox One will be able to interact with your media center, and allow you to control your TV, and what content you’re watching through voice commands. Saying “Xbox, TV.” will switch your current view to live television, saying “Xbox, Internet Explorer” will take you to the system’s built-in browser, and so on. From the demonstration, the switching between each for of media looked incredibly seamless, but there’s no telling if the demo was live or not.
Snap mode is a new feature exclusive to the Xbox One that allows users to run two applications simultaneously. An example shown during the reveal was watching JJ Abram’s Star Trek, and then using Snap Mode to bring up Internet Explorer on the side of the screen and using it to buy tickets. Another example was running Skype Video Chat while watching a movie. Snap mode can be used in unison with Microsoft Glass which allows you to interact with the console Via smartphone.
As usual with Microsoft conferences, there was a fair amount of sports talk. Nothing terribly interesting on this front. While watching sports the the Xbox One’s ESPN app you will receive notifications and live updates of your fantasy teams. Using Snap Mode you can browse your fantasy team and look at your team’s stats.
The main social feature shown during the reveal was being able to see what’s popular among friends, as well as Xbox Live as a whole. You’ll be able to see what games friends are buying, what shows they’re watching on TV, as well as what movies they’re watching on the Xbox One’s VoD service.
In addition to that, they showed the previously mentioned Skype that can be used alongside other apps.
It was also recently confirmed that players may have up to 1000 friends on their friend’s list, which next to the current Xbox’s 50 friends is quite the upgrade.
Much like the PS4, the Xbox One will be more PC-like. Featuring a x86 architecture with an Octa-core processor based on AMD’s Jaguar series and 8 gbs of DDR3 ram, it will be pretty much identical to the PS4 as far as performance goes, the only difference being that the Xbox One uses DDR3 while the PS4 uses much faster GDDR5.
Storage and optical disk:
The Xbox One will have a 500gb hard drive, and a Bluraydrive. It will also have several USB 3.0 ports that could presumably be used for thumb-drives.
The Xbox One will come with a new version of Kinect that provides more accurate readings, and records at 1080p. Rather than only reading major body movements, this new version of Kinect will be able to see the small movements players make.
Kinect is going to be the driving force of the new console, and is used to navigate many of the system’s menus.
The Xbox 360’s Xbox Live service is currently powered by 15,000 servers. The Xbox One’s Xbox live service will be powered by 300,000. This absurd amount of server-power will allow for larger online matches, persistent worlds in games, and allow for better match-making in games.
In addition to that, it was announced that players can search for an online match in one game while playing another.
These servers will also power the Xbox One’s gameplay DVR, but no more details about the DVR were given.
While a bulk of the conference was spent talking about the Xbox One as a transmedia platform, they spent a small amount of time showing trailers for games that will be releasing on the system. Here are links to posts dedicated to the individual games shown during the reveal:
While the Xbox team kept stressing that this was only a brief reveal and that the real showing of the system would be at E3 this year, the conference today was sort of underwhelming. While the Xbox One does look like a great device to have around the living room. The “Wow” factor that the PS4 reveal brought was nowhere to be found.
That aside, I am still quite anxious to find out more details on the coming system.
The Xbox One will be released later this year.