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Microsoft Reveals Xbox One – First Details on Hardware, Games, and More

[UPDATED x3] Microsoft has finally blown the lid of their next version of the Xbox. Get your preliminary details inside.

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Finally. Microsoft finally pulled the curtain back on the next iteration of the Xbox. For starters, we can finally call it by its proper name — Xbox One.

It was at an event today at their home offices in Washington that Microsoft hosted a blowout event for the Xbox One. Much like Sony’s PS4 reveal a few months back, Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal was all about hyping up their next platforming by giving the media and those tuning in via the live stream some nuggets to chew on while dazzling them with mesmerizing lights, and bombastic showmanship.

Microsoft Reveals Xbox One – First Details on Hardware, Games, and More

We still don’t know everything about the the Xbox One, but we definitely know more than we did one day ago. So that’s a step in the right direction. I’m sure we’ll learn even more as the days go by and more information trickles out.

The Entertainment

But let’s get to what we do know. For starters, Xbox One is meant to be your all-in-one entertainment center — hence the name. The system looks sleek and also comes packaged with the next iteration of Microsoft’s Kinect sensor.

You can use the new Kinect sensor to say “Xbox On” to instantly turn on the console. The dashboard is very reminiscent of the current dashboard, but with a new “trending” category to let you know what’s popular amongst user.

You can also tell the system “Xbox TV” to instantly switch to live television. “Instant switching” lets you cycle through games, television, music and movies extremely quickly. Xbox One brings together all the entertainment options of your living room under one umbrella. Another new feature called “snapping” lets you open other programs such as Internet Explorer without interrupting your current program. As an example of how this works, the demonstrator searched IE while continuing to watch Star Trek.

The Xbox One also comes with a TV listings guide, so you can follow your favorite shows.

The Hardware

Xbox One features a blu-ray drive (finally!) and USB 3.0 ports. The operating system is an amalgam of Xbox’s previous system, WIndows 8 and some extra webbing that connects the two. The new Kinect sensor reads over 200GB/second to render better precision. It can read slight rotations of wrists and limbs, it can read your heart rate, and more. Hello, Skynet.

The Xbox One controller has over 40 design innovations, apparently. The controller has new triggers and a better battery life. And lastly, new D-pad provides better input, too.

The New Xbox Live

The new Xbox Live is based on the same membership you have today. Xbox Live started with 500 servers back in the original Xbox days, then moved up to 3,000 for the Xbox 360 launch. Today, Xbox Live has 15,000 servers backing it up. With the launch of the Xbox One, that number will skyrocket to 300,000. The next Xbox Live service will let you search for a game in a specific title while playing/watching/listening to something completely different.

The Games

EA Sports is developing four games for Xbox One for now – FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, UFC, and NBA Live 14. These are all powered by a new graphics engine called “EA Sports Ignite.” A lot of jargon was thrown around, but the gist of this is that it’s a more advanced engine than what EA Sports runs with now. Shocker.

Microsoft announced Forza Motorsport 5 for Xbox One. It will be available at launch. More info to come at E3 in June.

Remedy Entertainment, the original creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake, return with a new IP, Quantum Break. The game’s first trailer was primarily a live-action affair with short gameplay snippets. It isn’t much, but at least Remedy is back. Although, a new Alan Wake would have been nice.

Microsoft plans to release 15 exclusive games within the first year of Xbox One. Eight will be brand new franchises.

A Call of Duty: Ghosts demonstration ended the Xbox One presentation. Just like all previous Call of Dutys, all Ghosts DLC will launch first on Xbox. Call of Duty: Ghosts is being written by Stephen Gaghan, best known for writing the film Traffic. The game also stars a dog…. seriously.

Xbox Television

Microsoft is making a huge push with original television programming. One of the first projects Microsoft has in the oven in Halo focused.

The new live-action Halo series will be created by 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg.

The Launch

The Xbox One will release later this year. That’s all the info we got… More to come at E3, no doubt.

Conclusion

And that’s it. Most of the presentation was spent talking up entertainment and not games. Interesting choice that we’ll have more words on tomorrow. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not touch on if the Xbox One will be backwards compatible, or block used games (however unlikely). Also, the word “connected” was thrown around a lot during the presentation, but it was never specified if the Xbox One will force an internet connection on users. Hopefully we’ll find out these very important details sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on the Xbox One? Sound off below.

Update: The Xbox One is not backwards compatible, as this Wired article outlines. Also, used games are, in a sense, being blocked. Newly purchased games for the Xbox One will have to be installed to the console, thus tying them to a specific Xbox Live account. If a user wants to add that game to a different account, a small nominal fee is required, as reported by The Verge

Update #2: An always-on internet connection is not required. Developers can decide if they want their games always connected online, but it's not necessary for single-play only titles. This news comes courtesy of our friends over at Game Revolution.

Update #3: Whoops. It looks like Kotaku got a straight answer about the Xbox One and it's required internet connection. At the very least the Xbox One has to connect to the internet every 24 hours for single player games. Yeesh. 

 

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