It’s the battle royale of gaming consoles, and it is coming right into your living room – very, very soon.
Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox console, the Xbox ONE, simultaneously in Seattle and London, on May 21, 2013.
"We've spent the last four years working on the next generation Xbox," said Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, as he took to the stage for the unveil of the company's highly-anticipated third-generation video game system.
The name of Microsoft's new console has been confirmed as Xbox ONE, and not the earlier-rumoured Xbox 720, and if Microsoft is to be believed, it is the only gadget that we will need in our living rooms from now on (of course we'll need the TV to play on, silly, but this one will control the TV).
“Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device. Our unique, modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and, for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment,” said Mattrick.
One of the cool features includes the availability of Skype (also owned by Microsoft) through Xbox, and the ability to hold group video calls through the gaming console. The Xbox ONE's 'Snap mode' will allow multi-tasking, like watching a film and making Skype calls simultaneously.
Another new feaure is that the console will recognise you through the Kinect camera, and once it recognises you, it logs you in. Live TV can be called up by saying "XBox, Live TV". The voice-activated software also allows a user to scroll across applications, including games, television and music. Switching from TV to gaming to music is just like changing a channel on your television. With Xbox One, you can quickly jump from TV to movies to music to a game. Just with the sound of your voice, boasts Microsoft.
New Xbox Live details: "More powerful, more personal". Matchmaking will pair you up with people as you watch TV and as you play games.
The consoe will be equipped with 500GB HD out of the box and Blu-ray disc drive, output of video with up to 4K resolution (3840x2160) using HDMI 1.4 as well as 7.1-channel audio.
There will be three operating systems in one that make up the Xbox ONE: Xbox OS, Kernal of Windows and a layering system that allows instant switching between the two.
As expected, Microsoft Xbox One is based on AMD Fusion custom-designed system-on-chip with eight x86 low-power/low-cost Jaguar cores, AMD Radeon HD graphics with GCN architecture as well as 8GB of DDR3 system memory.
Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will come with a completely redesigned Kinect sensor that will feature 1920x1080 RGB camera, improved infrared sensor and enhanced voice controls. The console will feature a number of functions, e.g. TV-cable pass-through that will seamlessly integrate it into the living room.
Blockbuster titles, Steven Spielberg-produced Halo TV series, and exclusive agreements with the NFL transform games, TV and entertainment for the 21st century living room. That's what Microsoft claims to have delivered with its latest gaming console.
“Our unique, modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and, for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment,” said Mattrick.
Introducing Xbox One
With Xbox One, games push the boundaries of realism, and TV obeys your commands. Say “Xbox On” to launch your personalised Xbox One Home screen, discover what is popular on TV or see friends’ latest gaming achievements all using the most natural interface — your voice. The more you interact with Xbox One, the more it gets to know you and learns what you like. Some of the breakthrough Xbox One features that put you at the center of your living room entertainment include the following:
• TV on Xbox One. Navigate and watch live TV from your cable, telco or satellite set-top box through your Xbox One. Microsoft is committed to bringing live TV through various solutions to all the markets where Xbox One will be available.
• Home. Turn on your entertainment system with two powerful words, “Xbox On,” and a custom-tailored Home dashboard welcomes you with your favorite games, TV and entertainment.
• Snap. Do two things at once on the biggest screen in your home. Use Snap to jump into a multiplayer battle while watching your favorite movie, talk with friends on Skype while watching live TV, or track your fantasy team on TV as you watch the big game and more.
• Skype for Xbox One. Specially designed for Xbox One, talk with friends on your TV in stunning HD, or for the first time ever, hold group Skype calls on your TV.
• Trending. Stay on top of what is hot on TV by discovering the entertainment that is popular among your friends, and see what is trending within the Xbox community.
• OneGuide. Find your favorite entertainment easily, searching by network or name, all with the sound of your voice and presented in a tailored program guide.
Estimates suggest that video gaming is a $70 billion-a-year industry, and Microsoft and Sony are suitably fighting it out for supremacy in the consoles market – devices that allow or reject particular games to be played.
It’s just been a couple of months and but a few days in 2013, and console competition is already heating up. Rumours suggest that PlayStation 4, the latest Sony console unveiled on February 20, 2013, and Xbox 720, Microsoft’s upcoming console, will get to head-to-head within this quarter.
Within a few days of the potential leak concerning the newest Xbox’s CPU, rumours suggest that Microsoft is gearing up to secretly showcase its Xbox 720 to a select group of gamers and geeks.