Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Xbox One event: Everything you need to know!

   Today's Xbox reveal was relatively short and sweet and Sony, if you're reading, that is how you do a reveal! That means there's lots of specifics which we can bring you as well as a fairly large dose of hyperbole to boot! Lets get started on the Xbox One reveal!

Key Points:
  • The Xbox One will not be compatible with Xbox 360 games!
  • The new Xbox will let you play games, watch Blu-ray and TV offline!
  • The Xbox is being designed to "enable customers to trade in and resell games," but there might be a small fee involved.
  • The Kinect sensor is a requirement and the console will not work without one!
  • Xbox Live will still require subscriptions.
  • Call of Duty Ghosts information can be found here! And there's a new version of Forza on the way too!

Microsoft's promise:
   Microsoft said a few things today, but amongst them they promised that, 'You and your tv are going to have a relationship'. There's nothing untoward here, but they want the Xbox to learn things like personalised movements for your gestures and your voice for controlling the console. They also want to ensure that you have 'Groundbreaking technology and [the] power of the cloud' and that it's used to the full.

   As a part of that the whole vision with the new Xbox One is that it ties together the various parts of your living room into one device which gives you sports, gaming, TV and movies and helps to  'harmonis[e] your experiences' in living room technology. The Xbox One is set to be 'An all in one system to light up a new generation of tv, games and entertainment... simple, instant and complete'.

Controlling the Xbox One:
   This is always a tricky one because every one is a different shape, different size and every one has different voices. The best solution to this problem was to make the most of a refreshed Xbox Kinect. The new sensor is 'redesigned to respond to you.' There's support for 'the entire family,' it takes a 13 billionth of a second for the Kinect to spot you and more than 2GB of data per second is used to recognise you.The sensor is now a '1080p wide field camera', which is going to be used for Skype too!

   There will be a combination of gestures and voice commands which are 'simple, obvious' ways to navigate between TV, sports, games and even things like the internet.

   Smartglass will also be available for the new console so you can use your phone and or tablet as the remote control again!

Xbox One Guide:
   The Xbox One Guide will show you what's on your local TV stations and there is a simple command; 'show guide' which will give you access to the menu and then you can tell the console to play whichever channel you fancy!

As a part of this there will be a favourites area for your TV shows whic you can pin things to, effectively creating your 'own personal channel'. As an extension there's a thing called Xbox trending which gives you the full run down of all the most popular shows in the community.

Instant 'Switchy':
   We're 90% sure we got the name right on this section, but essentially the premise is that your gestures and voice commands will let you get to any part of the Xbox system instantly. That means we can jump from TV, to the internet, to movies, or to games as fast as you could switch between TV channels with a remote. If the demo is anything to go by it looks like it'll work a treat!

   As an extension of this there will be the ability to 'snap' two things onto the screen at once, so if you want to check out the cast list of a tv show while the show is playing on one side of the screen then you most certainly will be able to! That's something which there's already a deal arranged with the NFL for!

   Skype will be integrated and the Xbox Kinect will let you make group video calls through the TV!

Xbox Partnerships:
   Microsoft have signed an exclusive partnership with ESPN and there will be a secondary partnership with the NFL which will let users interact with their fantasy football as the action happens. So that means realtime updates to your team! Microsoft explained how something similar could be implemented through the Super Bowl, Golden Globes and other such events.

Technology under the hood:
   The new Xbox One is considerably more powerful than the eight year old Xbox 360. There's now 5 billion transistors inside each console, 8GB of Ram, USB 3.0 ports, a Blu-ray drive, 64-bit architecture, variable power states and near silent performance. The harddrive will be non-removable, but you can add in external storage!

   The architecture is interesting and Microsoft says that it pulled 'three into one'. So there's the Xbox operating system for games, the kernel of Windows for web and the new ability to instantly switch between tasks.

   Let's not forget that this is a games console too and as such Microsoft have given the controller a
slight redesign and the key new feature will be feedback from triggers! That should make FPS' much more realistic!

New Xbox Live:
   Microsoft said that the membership processor will be the same, but the service will be so much better. At the moment there's 15,000 servers powering Xbox Live, but for the Xbox One, Microsoft are planning on having 300,000 servers running, something which will provide more power than the whole of the internet in 1999. This should pave the way for bigger matches online with more players!

Electronic Arts partnership:
   EA and Microsoft have a 'new strategic partnership' which will see four titles brought to the Xbox One within the next 12 months and they include Fifa 14, Madden NFL, NBA Live and UFC!

   There's a whole new engine for those four games too called EA Sports Ignite. EA hope that this will help to 'blur the line between reality and virtual' games. The engine will offer four times more calculations per second and ten times more depth and fidelity. Key inclusions will be the use of 3D crowds and dynamic sidelines which impact the games as you play! There will be an exclusive deal on the Fifa 14 Ultimate Team as you can see from the Tweet below!

Microsoft Studios:
   Microsoft are focusing on cloud powered games based on the actions of the community. As part of that there will be more than 15 exclusive games in the first year and 8 brand new franchises!

Halo TV series:
   Yeah, you read that right! Stephen Spielberg will be directing a new 'live action' television series of the cult game!

And finally, if there's something we've missed, firstly sorry, secondly let us know what it is in the comments below and if there's something which we haven't tackled then Microsoft's Q and A page is a good place to start for information on it. We look forward to hearing even more at E3!


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