So, moments ago, Microsoft just wrapped up their media event for the new Xbox, titled Xbox One. Answers to some big questions were left out of the presentation, such as price point, release date (they did confirm this year), and exactly how hosed will you be if you try to use it without an internet connection, but a slew of information still came down the pipe. For those of you stuck at work or otherwise indisposed, here’s the talking points that you missed out on.
In the Box: Xbox One comes with the console, a new Kinect camera, and an updated controller in every box.
All-in-One System: The Xbox One is designed for total integration between games, movies, music, TV, Internet Explorer, and Skype. Users can jump between features instantaneously by voice, gesture, a linked Smartglass device, or controller. The “Snap” command lets you blend two medias together, as was shown by watching a movie, then “snapping” Internet Explorer into a sidebar next to it to search the web.
New Kinect: The new Kinect camera runs captures in 1080p-HD RBG color. The software has been vastly updated, now also recognizing the controller, as well as what side of a body part is facing where. The Kinect integrates into Skype for easy video chat, including promised group chat, and new gestures are used for navigation, such as the touchscreen inspired “grab-and-stretch” for opening and closing windows from the Home menu.
Voice Command: The Xbox One increases delving into voice command space, including even the command “Xbox On” to turn your system and television on with a single command. Shown on stage were examples of the Xbox recognizing the names of channels and TV shows instantaneously, and vaguer commands, like “What’s on HBO?” went straight to HBO in guide view to show what was on and give a summary of the show.
Community Interaction: Interactions with your friends and the community is a big focus for the video features of the Xbox One. The TV viewer will allow you to see what shows are trending, and instant Fantasy League updates and interactions are available while watching live sports.
Personalization: The Xbox One will reportedly recognize not just faces but voices as well. When turned on, the Home screen is personalized to the user, displaying what features they have used most recently, show their friends’ activity, and recommend new activities for them.
New Xbox Live: Dynamic achievements and persistent matchmaking will flag players in your skill range aim to make lobbies a thing of the past in multiplayer gaming, flagging potential partners while you are not even playing. Hardware based in-game DVR lets you save your favorite game moments and edit and share them integrally. Advanced hardware and massively increased server space allows developers to create larger online matches and create persistent living worlds.
Smartglass Integration: Smartglass enabled devices will all be considered native Xbox One devices, and allow system control as well as second screen features for game and media integration.
New Controller: Specifics were lightly touched upon, but 40 changes are reputed to have been made from the 360 controller, including more ergonomic design, better D-pad (finally), and comfort for a larger number of hand sizes.
Clearly, Microsoft could not just come out and pimp out their hardware without talking about some of the upcoming titles set to grace the Xbox One’s library. Reportedly, Xbox One will have 15 exclusives in the coming year, including eight completely new franchises, but most of the game talk appears to be being saved for E3. What they did talk about:
EA Sports: FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Live, and UFC were all identified as titles that would make their way to the Xbox One within the coming year. EA also used the even as a chance to show off their new sport game engine, Ignite, which will be powering all of their next gen sports titles, and allows for day-to-day changing of in game content over internet connection.
Forza Motorsports 5: The continuation of Microsoft’s racing franchise was shown off, and was announced to be a launch title beside the Xbox One.
Quantum Break: From Remedy Studios, the team that created Max Payne and Alan Wake, a short teaser was short on details, but appeared to tell an action/mystery game involving pockets where time runs at either slower or faster speeds.
Call of Duty: Ghosts: Infinity Ward showed off some of the technical achievements that will be available on the next generation of consoles, juxtapose against character models from the current generation. Also announced, continuing the trend from this generation, Call of Duty DLC will continue to drop on the Xbox One before other formats.
Halo TV Series: Not a game announcement, but it was announced that Microsoft Entertainment Studios will be producing a TV series set in the Halo universe, produced by the king of putting imaginative worlds on screen himself, Steven Spielberg
Of course, Microsoft did not reveal all the cards up their sleeves yet. We are still slightly in the dark as to software, and or course everyone wants the release date and price point. More details will trickle out in a couple weeks at E3, and we will keep you in the loop to the best of our abilities.