I love the Xbox and, by extension, Microsoft. There, I said it, the truth’s out – I’m an Xbox lad, through and through. It’s not to say that the Playstation is a bad console, it’s just that I prefer playing my games on the Xbox 360. However, I won’t be playing on the 360 for very much longer as, today, at 10am Pacific time, Microsoft revealed their new console – The Xbox One.
In this hour of pure geek fantasy, Microsoft barraged us with a lot of information about their new console. It was a lot to take in, so here’s my round up of what we can expect from the new console, as well as a few unanswered questions.
The ‘All in One’ System – Here’s the most exciting thing revealed today, the Xbox One will be the centre of your home media. It promises to enable you to watch television, play games, listen to music and watch movies all seamlessly – with the touch of a button, flick of a hand or simple vocal command. The new home screen stores all of your favourite films, TV shows, games and music, remembering what you had last been watching, playing or listening too and storing them all in a handy page for your enjoyment. You can switch between media with simple commands, almost instantly moving from your favourite television show to your latest game and back again. You can even split the screen between your game and a web browser. It finally seems as though everything will be in one place. No reaching for tablets or laptops to look for hints and tips for your favourite game or switching cables or channels to catch up on the latest scores or who’s cheating on who in your favourite soap.
Cloud Integration – The cloud has made a minor appearance with the 360, allowing us to store our saved games and the like, but with the Xbox One it will be playing a much bigger role. Developers will be able to use the cloud to change aspects of their games, such as achievements and even levels, via the cloud according to how players are tackling their title. This is a really exciting prospect, giving developers greater control over their finished product as well as more tools to interact with their paying customers. Not only this, but it looks like players will be able to record their game play and save it to the cloud – finally!
Kinect Integration – Kinect was a big addition to the 360, in many aspects it made the player the controller. Though, in most cases, the controller was pretty clumsy and unresponsive (not always at the fault of the player, however). Well, the One brings you a new and improved Kinect. Firstly, the camera comes in a sweet 1080p meaning that it can capture images and videos better than most mobile phones and even some digital cameras. The Kinect is now fully integrated with the console, meaning that its use will feel seamless and natural, rather than forced and unnecessary. Kinect will recognise the player by their voice and appearance, enabling the Xbox to sign you in automatically upon standing in front of the sensor. It will also run faster and more accurately, being able to track even the smallest movements. So here’s to some really exciting possibilities with the new and improved sensor!
Hardware – Hardware wise, there’s not much difference between the Xbox One and the PS4, they seem like the same machine. It now features 8GB of RAM as well as a Blue-ray Drive (clearly HD wasn’t as successful as Microsoft had first hoped) boasting that the console will run smoother than ever before. Graphics wise, gameplay seemed incredibly realistic, textures seemed almost perfect and even the imperfections on characters faces, clothing, even their surroundings, were visible. This is by far the best looking console (or generation of consoles) yet. As mentioned before, the Kinect will be back and more powerful than ever. Even the Xbox controller has had a face-lift too; it’s looking much sleeker and less chunky than that of the 360.
Games – The Xbox One is boasting fifteen titles in its first year with a number of Xbox Only releases, such as Forza Motorsports 5 and even an Xbox only TV show directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. The show will be based on the Halo series … yeah, that’s right, Spielberg will be bringing Master Chief to the big screen. Xbox will also be continuing its partnership with Call of Duty meaning DLC releases before the PS4 and a new deal with EA which, at the moment, is remaining rather cloak and dagger – but I’m sure that we can expect big things.
Also Featuring – Skype integration, allowing you to video call using the Kinect as a webcam whilst watching television and playing games. It also has the ability to conference call; we might finally be able to watch the reactions of our friends as we shoot them in the face on COD or score a final minute screamer against them on FIFA. All new ‘Trending’ will tell you what’s cool within the Xbox Live community, from TV shows to Games as well as what your friends are enjoying without you. New and improved ‘Smart Glass’ will allow you to control your Xbox One with your tablet device or mobile phone making the two work together like best of friends. They are also boasting eight new franchises to the Xbox family including an overly cryptic and slightly confusing sneak peak from new comers ‘Quantum Break’, and much, much more.
But, here’s something floating around which is slightly less cool. It seems as though the Xbox One will have no backward compatibility for games – so say goodbye to all of those FIFA titles you’ve been hoarding for a rainy day. You will, however, be able to transfer over music and movies, though that’s little consolation in my books.
You know, I’ve probably missed something along the line, but hopefully I’ve touched on just enough to get you ready for E3 in the coming weeks. Let’s see what Sony have to offer, hey.
If you have anything you’d like to add to this little snippet of the Xbox One or anything to say about the console as a whole, then hit up the comments section below or tweet us @IM_PLAYIN