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Today Microsoft announced the newest addition to the Xbox family when it unveiled the Xbox One at an event held at it’s New York campus, which was streamed live in several places across the internet as well as via the Xbox 360.
The reveal show started right on time–10 a.m. pacific standard time–and started off with a bang as Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick revealed the console to the world. The screens behind him were filled with high resolution photos of the system, new Kinect and the new controller and the three pieces of hardware were seen in physical form on stage as well.
Following the presentation of the machine and a run-down of what it’s all about, it was time for a little bit of show and tell. Several studio heads from EA, Remedy (who showed off a new IP called Quantum Break), Microsoft Studios, Turn 10 and more showed off some of the new software that is being worked on for the upcoming console.
To end the show, Microsoft showed off for the first official time, the new Call of Duty: Ghosts with a comparison by Infinity Ward to its previous title Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, which was quite impressive in the visuals department. Microsoft left on the note that once again DLC will exclusively come out first on Xbox in this new generation and sealed the deal by stating that Xbox One will be available this fall.
Feast your eyes below on the new Xbox One, Kinect 2.0 and the new (very sexy) controller and then hit the jump to see all the rest of the pictures, details, and other goodies from the show.
The hardware of the new Xbox One touts a very box-like design and two shades of black. The disc looks to be inserted on the left-hand side of the machine, which is in line with the previous Xbox 360 system. The most noticeable design choice seems to be much more air-venting space on the top and sides of the console. Hopefully Microsoft can avoid another Red Ring of Death fiasco.
Under the hood, Microsoft says the system features three operating systems, one to run games, one Windows-based OS for the user interface and another system that runs in the background to swap between the two sides seamlessly. Joystiq has a great comparison post if you’re interested in seeing how the Xbox One stacks up against the PlayStation 4. Otherwise the specs for the Xbox One are as follows: 8 core custom CPU built by Microsoft, D3D 11.1 chip with 32 MB embedded memory, 8 GB DDR3, 500 GB hard drive, Blu-Ray/DVD combo drive, three USB 3.0 ports, ethernet, three different 802.11n radios (for connecting to controller and other devices, WiFi Direct, HDMI input and output, 1080p and 4K support, and optical output, according to Joystiq.
The system will also use a non-removable hard drive, but Microsoft says the system will support external HDDs for saves, games, and everything else the internal hard drive can do.
Microsoft announced that the new controller will feature many updates from the previous iteration. Most notable are a redesigned look, enhanced triggers, a revamped d-pad and a rechargeable battery that is now stashed inside the controller.
The new Kinect camera will come packaged with every Xbox One and will enhance voice recognition, motion gaming, and interaction with the Xbox One’s user interface. In fact, users will no longer have to manually sign into their Xbox as the system will recognize one’s face and automatically sign them in. It can also tracks users’ heartbeats, know who’s using which controller and track smaller motions, like the flick of a wrist, better than the previous iteration.
In technical terms, Joystiq says it, “features a 1080p HD RGB camera, 30 FPS color, and an increased field-of-view. Among other voice commands, which let you instantly switch between playing a game, live TV, watching movies, playing music, or browsing the web, Kinect’s mic lets you turn on the new system by saying ‘Xbox On.'”
The meat and potatoes of today’s conference focused on enhanced Kinect connectivity, new software features and other fun new additions to the user interface. The biggest focus was on the TV functions. The Xbox One will be able to seamlessly jump into TV stations through your cable provider or local TV connection and will feature a guide for easily finding your favorite shows. Using voice commands, a user can watch a movie, pull up Internet Explorer in a picture-in-picture type fashion and browse the web to find out more information about what they are watching. This is called Snap Mode.
Microsoft also announced a partnership with the NFL that will allow Fantasy Football players to pull up their team stats, make live phone calls via Skype to taunt the other members of their league and even watch clips from games they aren’t currently watching so you can see that big play that one of your players just made in another game.
Speaking of Skype, the Xbox One will have a heavy focus on it now that Microsoft owns the service. Group calls as well as individual calls will be possible and will be smooth and seamless with the use of the new Kinect. In addition, Microsoft didn’t go into much detail but they did say that Smart Glass will evolve with the new console and offer new, exciting features. For Halo fans, a new live action TV show based on the Halo universe was also announced.
Another interesting new feature Microsoft mentioned was that the Xbox One will be able to have Achievements tailored to a game’s audience dynamically. This means if a game has a really popular feature, developers can add more Achievements to enhance that feature even more. It also means if players are ignoring a feature or haven’t noticed it even exists, developers can entice players to try it out by adding some new Gamerscore to grab.
The system will now allow 1000 friends where as the 360 only allowed 100 friends. Lastly, players will be able to play one game while the system searches for matches in other games in the background. This new system is an upgrade from the 360’s “TrueSkill” system and is now called “Smart Match”. This way when you boot up a game, it’ll be ready to go with online matches tailored to you. In addition, if a friend is offline, a new AI system will allow players to play a ghost of that person, which will play just like that person is controlling the ghost.
The user interface itself (seen above) is very similar to that of the Xbox 360, but it features a new pinning ability and trending section, which will help gamers connect with the content they want most or the content that the Xbox discovers for them based on what’s popular. Microsoft didn’t go into much detail about the interface, but expect a more full explanation of it at E3.
Introduction to the next generation of Xbox games and EA Ignite
Though Microsoft had previously stated they would be revealing the Xbox One’s initial game library at E3 2013, they did show off several games at today’s event. On another note, they said there will be 15 exclusive games coming from Microsoft Studios including eight new IP. Among the other game announcements was one from EA which announced that Madden 25, FIFA 14, NBA Live 14, and its first entry into the UFC arena would be launching on Xbox One in the next 12 months (it has been confirmed that these titles will launch on PS4 as well). They showed off a snazzy video of what to expect and said that gamers can expect exclusive content on the Xbox One version of FIFA 14.
All of the new EA Sports games are said to run on its new Ignite engine and feature real-time roster updates, and what EA Sports head Andrew Wilson said would be true player emotion and human intelligence emulation.
In addition to EA’s announcements, Microsoft confirmed that Battlefield 4 and Destiny will launch on Xbox One in the fall, Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed 4 will be coming to Xbox One, exclusives Forza Motorsport 5 and Quantum Break will be coming to Xbox One, and a few other previously announced titles will also be coming to the Xbox One.
FOR MORE GAME TRAILERS AND VIDEOS, SEE BELOW.
The used games and always-on controversy
Unfortunately, it was confirmed that like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One will not be backward compatible with Xbox 360 or Xbox Classic games. It also will not be able to play XBLA downloaded games. However, Microsoft did confirm that user accounts (aka Gamer Tags), Xbox Live subscriptions and of course Achievements and Gamerscore will carry over to the new system.
When it comes to used games, there is a lot of confusion that came out today. SCG isn’t going to go too much into it because it’s difficult to decipher what is true and what is mere speculation at this point. But we will keep an out as news develops and follow-up as soon as possible. To summarize, Microsoft confirmed that the always-on connection is false, however because some games will use cloud-based power for advanced computation, an internet connection may be required. Details on this are still scarce as well.
Microsoft also mentioned that games will automatically install to the Xbox One’s hard drive (but can be played from the moment the game is inserted into the system since it installs in the background), and can then be accessed from other Xbox One’s as long as that user is logged in. This suggests games will be tied to user accounts and won’t be resellable though Microsoft has said games will indeed be resellable at retail. Everything is up in the air at the moment and there is a lot of confusion going around about this right now. It’s even led some big publications to jump to conclusions.
As we said, stay tuned to Sac City Gamer for more on this as it unfolds…
Outline for the near future (E3 and beyond)
As mentioned above, Microsoft plans to detail more of the system’s new features, specs and other good stuff at E3 in a couple of weeks. The biggest thing to look forward to though, is the fact that they plan to unveil 15 exclusive games for the Xbox One and as mentioned previously, eight of them will be new IP. Don’t forget to check out E3 2013 next month and keep it locked to Sac City Gamer for more on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U and everything else involved with gaming. For now, check out some more video footage below.