During Microsoft’s press conference today the company has revealed its next home console, the Xbox One, with a newly designed Kinect and controller, as well as an all-new design for the console itself.
During the reveal event, president of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, Don Mattrick proclaimed:
“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.”
Xbox One, says Microsoft, has been designed with a few core pillars in mind all to make instant access to your entertainment that much easier than before, putting you “at the center of all your games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype.”
Xbox One Unveil Video
The press conference at first focussed on the accessibility features of Xbox One, with ‘interactive TV,’ easy switching to different applications, Skype and group chat, an entertainment access hub called OneGuide, and the ability to ‘Snap’ different applications to portions of the screen, picture-in-picture style, to watch movies, chat and browse the internet at the same time.
Voice commands were also featured, with the ability to switch on your Xbox, switch applications and search for entertainment using only your voice and the recognition technology of Kinect. What’s more is that, the more you use voice commands, the more the system will learn your preferences – here are some of the features announced at the press conference:
- 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.3
- 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, name or time, all with the sound of your voice and presented in a tailored program guide.
A number of new games and partnerships were also announced for Xbox One, with Forza Motorsport 5 (launch title), Call of Duty: Ghosts, Quantum Break from Remedy, and a host of EA Sports titles including FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA Live 14 and EA Sports UFC revealed. According to reports, however, Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 or original Xbox games.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as fifteen exclusive Xbox One games are yet to be revealed, eight of which are completely new intellectual properties – here is information on the revealed games:
- Forza Motorsport 5 from Turn 10 Studios is the latest edition of the highest-rated racing franchise of the past 10 years.3 Built from the ground up to take advantage of Xbox One and the infinite power of the cloud, no game better delivers the sensation of being behind the wheel. Forza Motorsport 5 sets a new bar for racing games and will be available exclusively for Xbox One at launch.
- Call of Duty: Ghosts is the next generation of Call of Duty and a stunning leap forward for the franchise. It delivers an all-new world, an all-new cast of characters and an all-new story, built on a new, next-generation engine. The next-generation technical innovations built to support the incredible gameplay advancements make this the most beautiful and immersive Call of Duty experience yet.
Activision and Microsoft also announced the renewal of their close partnership that will see both the return of the Call of Duty Championship, presented by Xbox, as well as all-new downloadable content debuting first and exclusively on the Xbox platform.
- FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA LIVE 14, and EA SPORTS UFC from EA SPORTS will change the way consumers experience and play sports games. Driven by the new EA SPORTS Ignite engine, these new EA SPORTS games will deliver massive innovations in human intelligence, true player motion and living worlds. Adding to its commitment to Xbox One, EA SPORTS also announced the promise of exclusive content to be revealed in the coming months.
- Quantum Break from Remedy Entertainment is a revolutionary entertainment experience from the creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake that blurs the line between gaming and TV by integrating drama and gameplay into one seamless, uniquely immersive experience. How you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game.
In addition to the new games, Microsoft also announced new entertainment partnerships that will result in the creation of an official Halo TV series, as well as a multi-year contract with the NFL (National Football League)
- Halo television series: Award-winning filmmaker, director and producer, Steven Spielberg will executive-produce an original “Halo” live-action television series with exclusive interactive Xbox One content, created in partnership with 343 Industries and Xbox Entertainment Studios.
- NFL: A multiyear, landmark partnership will deliver the ultimate interactive NFL television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One and leverage Microsoft devices and services to evolve both in-game and on the sideline.
The NFL on Xbox will redefine broadcast experiences through innovations around Skype, Xbox SmartGlass and player-worn technology; add an all-new fantasy football solution for the biggest screen in the house; and create a personalized NFL destination only available on Xbox One.
Microsoft will be making extensive use of Cloud storage to make “everything more convenient and accessible,” which means the ability to install portions of a game and start playing before it’s all downloaded, and even allow for background downloads of updates. “Save and store your personalized profile, games and entertainment in the cloud to access them anytime, from any Xbox One console,” writes Microsoft, and in addition, your current Xbox LIVE Gold membership will “seamlessly” carry over to Xbox One.
Here are the new features coming to Xbox LIVE with Xbox One:
- Smart Match: A new Smart Match matchmaking system virtually eliminates waiting in lobbies by estimating wait times and finding people you want to play with while you are enjoying other activities — reputation fundamentally matters and helps find best matches.
- Game DVR: A dedicated Game DVR captures and accesses your magic moments, all saved to the cloud. Along with sharing tools, you will have the most amazing bragging rights with Xbox Live.
- Living Games: Dynamic, living worlds evolve and improve the more you play, and advanced artificial intelligence can learn to play like you, so friends can play against your shadow.
- Expanded achievements: A new and expanded achievements system captures video of your epic moments, continues to grow a game’s achievements over time and rewards you in new ways, and your Gamerscore carries over from Xbox 360.
- Xbox SmartGlass: Xbox SmartGlass is natively part of the Xbox One platform, built in from the beginning with the ability to quickly render content directly onto your device, and now more devices can connect at one time for multiplayer and shared entertainment.
Xbox Executives Discuss Xbox One
Microsoft’s finishing touches on the Xbox One experience naturally include the design of the console and controller. Xbox One will support Blu-ray discs and is “moulded in a deep and rich liquid black colour and includes a distinctive bevelled edge.”
The higher resolution 1080p Kinect motion sensing and voice recognition device also appears much more responsive than the current version of the hardware, with an expanded field of view and enhanced fidelity. “It works in nearly any lighting condition,” writes Microsoft, recognizes precise motion control from a slight wrist rotation, and distinguishes your voice even in a noisy room using advanced noise isolation.” Also, according to the press conference demonstration, the new Kinect can pick up heart beats for use in games.
The new and redesigned Xbox controller houses over 40 technical and design innovations, with an improved directional pad, as well as better thumb sticks and ergonomic design. Precision and control have also been “dramatically” increased, with vibrating impulse triggers added, too.
“The Xbox One Wireless Controller is designed to work in concert with the new Kinect, allowing the two to be paired automatically to create seamless player syncing,” says Microsoft.
The Xbox One will be available around the world later this year, according to Microsoft, while more details are expected the annual E3 show in Los Angeles in June – El33tonline will be there to bring you our impressions of the console, its features and games. For now, look over a fantastic gallery of images further showcasing the Xbox One hardware:
- A new videogame console is always an event, but to get so much access before it's seen by the rest of the world is far rarer. As part of WIRED's exclusive look at the development and capabilities of the Xbox One, we present a detailed look at the hardware. (Well, the exterior of it, at least. We've got another gallery for the insides.) Can you spot all the changes?" target="_blank" >
Additional Xbox One news and details: