Published on May 21st, 2013 | by Lucy Niess, Reviews Editor
Microsoft has Announced the Next Generation of Xbox | Xbox One
Microsoft revealed during a press event that it will launch its next-generation console, the Xbox One, during the holiday season this year.
Throughout the presentation, there was a plethora of announcements. The most prominent being that Microsoft has designed the console to focus on the player, bringing forth a system that can offer entertainment with the sound of someone’s voice.
The Xbox One is an all-in-one entertainment system that is designed to meld the Internet, television, movies, and gaming allowing the player to navigate through each one with ease. The reveal showed that navigating among each takes only a moment of time.
Words like “trending” brought up content that was popular among the player’s friends and Xbox community. Other commands that were featured included:
- “Watch TV” – switches to live TV
- “Go to music” – opens the music window
- “Game” – goes to the current game that is running
This feature was called “instant switching,” and the goal is to allow gamers to easily navigate all entertainment features of the Xbox One. Alongside the voice being the remote, the Kinect has returned, this time as part of the console’s body. The player can utilize hand gestures, such as grabbing two sides and pulling apart to enlarge what they are currently doing, to shrinking that down to go back to the home screen.
A new feature for the Xbox One, Snap Mode, allows for multiple programs to be running at the same time with no need to close any of them.
One of the programs that will be available on the Xbox One is Skype, which allows players to make or receive video calls while watching a movie, playing a game or listening to music.
ESPN functionality makes a return, but it comes with a new feature for fans of fantasy sports. While watching ESPN, players can say “watch fantasy,” and the stats from their fantasy team will pop up, and they can watch in real time how their player’s stats are affected as games are played.
The Xbox One guide will allow the player to control his or her television watching with limited use of a remote control. Voice control, search, navigation, favorites and trending, are all features at a player’s disposal. Players can simply tell the Xbox One what channel they want and it will take them there.
Xbox One Specifications:
The specifications of the Xbox One were revealed by Microsoft, including its architecture, three operating systems and input devices.
Below are a few specs announced:
- 5 billion transistors
- 8GB RAM
- USB 3.0
- WiFi direct
- Blu-ray drive
- 500GB HDD
The Xbox One will feature three operating systems in one, including a kernel of Windows and instant switching. The input devices (Kinect, SmartGlass and the controllers) have also been improved. Within the Kinect, the voice commands are more conversational so that the player does not have to feel like a robot talking to a machine. The movements are also more detailed so that it can understand even the smallest amount of animation from the human body such joint movements. The Kinect can also apparently read a person’s heartbeat, but how that happens wasn’t revealed completely.
The controller has improved with 40 design changes, including an integrated battery, impulse triggers and a newly designed D-pad. There have also been adjustments to the SmartGlass, the cloud that allows the player to connect his or her smart devices to the Xbox One.
Content such as achievements, save states and recorded gameplay are stored in the cloud. There is a dedicated digital video recording (DVR) service that will allow the player to record and save gameplay videos to the cloud, along with a search capability that can search for the perfect match in a game while simultaneously doing something else.
Xbox LIVE has been redesigned utilizing cloud storage, allowing gamers to access their save files from anywhere. Based on the same membership as with the Xbox 360, it is now powered by 300,000 servers for the new console, as opposed to 15,000 servers being used for the current generation of the service.
Andrew Wilson, head of EA Sports, announced there will be four games coming from the company for the Xbox One from the FIFA, Madden, NBA Live and UFC franchises. It was revealed that the games will feature true player motion, which has been improved with 10 times more animation and detail as compared to current titles. The “living worlds” have been greatly improved, and will include 3D crowds and dynamic sidelines.
One game that was announced as an exclusive to the Xbox One is FIFA 14: Ultimate Team.
The partnership between Xbox and NFL has also been announced, and it was promised that it will transform the experiences of the player and the sport itself.
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, took the stage and revealed a couple new games that will be exclusive to the Xbox One. Forza Motorsport 5 will be available at launch, and Quantum Break from Remedy Entertainment will also be an Xbox One exclusive. Microsoft Studios also plans to release more than 15 exclusive games in the first year of the Xbox One, eight of those are brand new franchises.
Microsoft’s entertainment and digital media president, Nancy Tellem, followed with an announcement that the Xbox One will be personalized to a player’s tastes and needs in television. She introduced Bonnie Ross, general manager of 343 Industries, who revealed a Halo live-action TV series that 343 Industries will partner with director Steven Spielberg to create. A name and launch date for this series was not revealed.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Finishing the announcement of the Xbox One was the reveal of exclusive DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts. Eric Hirshberg, Activision Publishing CEO, spoke about creating an entirely new Call of Duty game because “it was not the safe thing, but the right thing.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts will feature a brand new narrative, new characters and a new world to experience. The goal behind the developer is to deliver an emotional experience between the player and the cast of characters in the game. The player stars as the underdog, fighting against the dominant group, much like the war between the Spartans and Persians. Speaking of dogs, the player will have a canine squad member to assist in many tasks.
Some of the other features include a next-generation engine, a leaning feature for stealth, slide feature for movement, momentum feature for speed, fluid dynamics within the world, and a living world that interacts with the player. The multiplayer aspect will include dynamic maps and character customization. On a personal note, the graphics engine powering Call of Duty: Ghosts is looking rather good as well.
Next Around the Corner
The Xbox One will launch later this year. Microsoft has promised that it will reveal more on the console, its features and games during E3 this June.