Xbox One Revealed

Microsoft has today unveiled the next version of the Xbox: the Xbox One, which will be launched later this year.

Xbox One

The Xbox One is huge.  It now contain a Blu-Ray player, but even so the console looks massive.  The Kinect sensor looks rather large as well.

Making use of Kinect, the Xbox One can be turned on by saying “Xbox: on”, with the Kinect camera then recognising and logging the user in.  Though apparently, the commands used in the stream interfered with local Kinect-enabled devices, turning off the stream for many users.

Users can switch between games, TV and music, using voice or gestures, as well as making group video calls using Skype.  Snap mode allows users to do two things at once, e.g., watching a film and using a browser.  However, live TV will only be available at launch in the US, and it requires a separate device.

Kinect has been improved in terms of limb detection, wrist movement and weight transfer.. they claim it is even able to detect your heartbeat.  However, they’ve made it a compulsory addition to the Xbox One, which apparently won’t work without the Kinect attached.  There’s been no confirmation as yet whether you can disable the microphone and camera, or point the detector at the wall, when you aren’t actually using Kinect itself.

All games will need to be installed to the HDD to play – but according to a report from Wired, it will then be tied to that Xbox Live account: Microsoft told them that for a second account, “that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc”.  Update: “Other users on the console will be able to play that game as well… so you don’t need to buy multiple games per family.” (MS VP talking to Kotaku).

Microsoft also told Wired that they have a plan for ‘used’ games, with more details to come later.. Xbox Live’s Major Nelson said that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.

On to the games, then, since that’s what we actually care about when buying a games console.. the Xbox One is to get fifteen exclusives across the first year, including eight new franchises.

Games announced: EA’s Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, NBA Live, UFC and Madden 25, Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs, Bungie’s Destiny, Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 5, Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break, and Eidos’ Thief.  More games are to be revealed at E3.

HALO is to be relaunched as a TV series for premium subscribers, possibly with involvement from Steven Spielberg.

The Xbox One will NOT be backwards compatible; the reason given is that the system is based on a different core architecture, and games would have to be rebuilt.  This affects both Xbox 360 discs and Xbox Live Arcade downloadable titles.

And as for always-on?  The Xbox One won’t quite be always-on, but it will need a regular online connection.. every 24 hours according to Microsoft VP Phil Harrison.

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