It’s been a long time coming with so many rumors in between, but finally, Microsoft has officially entered the next generation console race against Sony with the Xbox One. The new system made its debut yesterday at an event at the Microsoft HQ in Washington. I would think that Microsoft took notes from the Sony presser last February as not only did they show off the console in a video, they also wheeled it out on stage along with the new controller and Kinect. The focus seemed more on the hardware and what it can do instead of the games, but Microsoft did say that they’d be highlighting them in a few weeks at E3.
In case you were wondering, a bunch of trailers were shown off yesterday and I’ll have them all for you conveniently in this week’s Saturday Video Round Up. So make sure you check back.
With E3 just a mere few short weeks away, they did hold back a bit but for now, lets dive in to what they did show off.
Here’s the meat of the console and at first glance, it’s very similar to what Sony is packing in the PS4. Here are the details for you tech gurus out there:
-8 Core CPU custom built by Microsoft
-D3D 11.1 graphic processor chip with 32 MB embedded memory
-8GB DDR3 Memory
-500 GB HDD
-HDMI input and output, 1080p and 4K support, Optical output
-Ethernet, three different 802.11n radios (for connecting to controller and other devices), WiFi Direct
So what makes this stand out?
First and foremost, a new “Snap” feature will let players run apps simultaneously letting players multitask to their heart’s delight.
The multitasking element also extends to a very cool input switching functionality allowing players to switch from a game their playing to a TV show, to a movie they may be watching. The switching was pretty much instant. According to reports, the new console has three operating systems, one handling games, one handling apps/entertainment, and the third which manages the resources between the other two.
Cloud functionality will be a major focus as player content will be saved up there also allowing a PVR type experience allowing players to record, edit, and share content.
Xbox One will also be able to switch over to live TV and provide users with a guide. The event also detailed the ability to switch channels by just saying the channel name or show name.
The controller went through a minor redesign to include a true cross shaped d-pad, integrated battery and new impulse triggers.
Another interesting feature and one that Sony did highlight is the ability to play games during mandatory installs. Now, there’s no waiting required. Another feature is that the Xbox One will allow you to suspend a game instantly and pick up right where you left off.
Your gamercard and achievements do transfer over with you and in a much requested move, the friend list cap has been increased to 1000 people. As expected, the console is not backwards compatible with both Xbox/Xbox 360 retail and XBLA games. Movies and other digital products will be available however.
Based on the demo and presentation, I get the impression that this version of Kinect is what Microsoft was originally intending the device to be. First and foremost, the Kinect sensor has an enhanced sense of depth and a greater field of view meaning you won’t have to perform “the furniture shuffle” to make room every time you want to use the device. Better yet, the new Kinect will come packaged with the new system out of the box mainly because the device is required. The sensor has switched to infrared so you can use it in the dark. No more bright lights needed.
Finally, the sensor can also now read your balance, see transfer of weight, measure heartbeat during exercise, and has an array of microphones which will be able to better understand your voice including picking it out in a crowded room.
Forza Motorsport 5
Watch_Dogs (Announced after the fact)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Announced after the fact)
Call of Duty: Ghosts
EA’s UFC Game (Not titled yet?)
Destiny (Announced after the fact)
NBA Live 14
Battlefield 4 (Announced after the fact)