After all the speculation about Durango, Xbox 720, Infinity or the many other names we heard associated with the console – the next Xbox is here, and is called the Xbox One.
Now before you get too confused, the Xbox One’s name isn’t about it being the “first”, it’s about it being the “one and only” console you need, and how it is supposed to be the one device you need to take your multimedia experience to the next level.
Honestly, the Xbox One is really more of a super-powered multimedia device than a console, in that media seems to be just as (if not more) important for the X-One!
So what else do we know? First, here’s the brief bit we know about the specs: it has an 8-core CPU, 8GB RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB HD, built-in Wi-Fi, and HDMI In/Out ports.
The real beef is in the multi-tasking and multimedia aspects, though. The system is designed to work with live TV, easily pulling up all your channels from right within the Xbox. In fact, you can browse channels like MTV just by saying “turn to MTV”. Voice control and gestures are a huge part of the Xbox One experience – in fact the console not only includes the 2nd-gen Xbox Kinect, it is required for the console to work.
The new Kinect has an 1080p camera and is considerably more accurate on how it reads people than ever before. Speaking of Kinect, it also recognizes you when you ask it to turn on, and it automatically loads up your profile quickly, without the need for you to manually log on.
Now moving on to multi-tasking, ever wanted to watch a TV show or movie while browsing the net, all on just your TV? Easy enough with the Snap Mode feature (similar to Windows 8’s modern UI snap feature). Here you can put up Internet Explorer and TV all at once.
There are also a hell of a lot of gestures like pinching, zoom and more. Want to control moving around on the interface with your tablet or smartphone? Done.
Of course the Xbox controller is also there (and presumably the only option for gaming, besides perhaps Kinect for some games) with a slight redesign.
There are plenty of other great features, but that gives you a pretty good overview.
Now here’s a big question: are the rumors about always-on connectivity and the inability to get/sell used games true?
Always On and Used Games
The Microsoft Xbox One WILL require an internet connection. That said, it will be possible to access the system ‘offline’ for single player games, movies and other online activity. The system does push internet connectivity and cloud features wherever possible, and even pushes game saves to the cloud.
In other words, it isn’t always-on, but it is pretty close.
As for used games? Microsoft requires all discs to be installed onto the drive. Afterwards, you can archive away the disk, as the game is tied to an Xbox Live account. Want to link a game to more than one Xbox Live account? You will have to pay a fee. Who knows how this will work for multi-gamer households.
Microsoft also says that selling a game is possible, though again it might require some kind of fee from the sounds of it.
Wondering if your old Xbox Live content and 360 games will work? In a word, they won’t. No backwards compatibility of any kind here.
What about the games?
Not much in the way of game information was released at the event, with much more Xbox One stuff expected at E3. Here’s the list of games announced however:
- Forza 5
- Battlefield 4
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- Quantum Break
- NBA Live 14
- FIFA 14
- Madden NFL 25
- EA Sports UFC
Microsoft promises will we see 15 new exclusive and 8 new Ips at E3, so there is plenty more to come.
Summing it all up…
Bottom-line, the Xbox One has a lot of great features going for it. Unfortunately, it also has some potential negatives – such as its online requirements and used games fees.
What do you think of the Xbox One: impressed, excited, disappointed or indifferent? No matter how you feel right now, remember that E3 is coming soon enough and we will learn quite a bit more at that time, both about the Xbox One and the Sony Playstation 4.
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