The next generation of video game consoles is here. And from Microsoft’s perspective there’s really only One choice. In an hour-long press conference this morning from their headquarters in Redmond, Microsoft revealed the new Xbox One console.
While going from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One might suggest Microsoft doesn’t know how numbers work, the One refers to the console being an all-in-one home entertainment system. To that point, there was actually more talk about TV and interactivity than video games. In fact, there was no real video game talk for the first 30 minutes of the press conference. When they finally did get around to talking about games, the focus was on mass-appeal titles (EA Sports and Call of Duty: Ghosts) rather than anything targeted at hardcore gamers. Xbox One will be released later this year to compete with Sony’s new PlayStation 4.
Here are some of the other notable details regarding the Xbox One:
- Xbox One will have internal WiFi and a Blu Ray player.
- Interactivity with Xbox One seems to be based primarily around an improved version of Xbox Kinect (included with the purchase of each console), which will recognize who is using the system and tailor the settings to them. It will even be able to visually monitor your heartbeat (which is just a little bit creepy).
- Through the Kinect users will be able to use voice commands to seamlessly switch between gaming, TV, Internet, and more.
- Group Skype calling will be available by using the Kinect camera.
- The Xbox One will be able to run multiple screens of content—watch TV, surf the web, play games at the same time.
- The Xbox gaming controller basically remained unchanged.
- The popular Halo franchise will get its own live-action television show exclusive to Xbox One. Stephen Spielberg is part of the creative team behind the project.
- Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online network, will shift to a cloud-based model. This will allow users to access info like video game saves from anywhere. To handle this networking demand, Xbox Live will expand from 15,000 servers to 300,000 servers.
- There will be 15 video games exclusive to Xbox One during the console’s first year; eight of which will be original IPs (i.e. games that aren’t sequels or part of a preexisting franchise).
- All of the downloadable content for Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released first on Xbox One.
- The console is tailored for fantasy sports players, as users can synch up their lineups with live broadcasts. For example when you’re watching a Seahawks game and Russell Wilson throws a TD pass, a side window will pop up and add that score to your fantasy team total.