Today Microsoft revealed the new replacement for the Xbox 360 and its third video game console the Xbox One. The Xbox One really seems to be the console that Microsoft has wanted to have in the living room for years and then some. They are marketing this as the All In One console for your entertainment needs. The Xbox One has an eight core 64-bit processor with 8 GB of RAM, a 500 Gb hard drive, Blu-Ray optical drive, built-in Wireless N support, and Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI in and out ports, optical audio out, and what looks like an IR out for controlling set-top boxes. The Kinect sensor has been redesigned with a 1080P camera, and there is a new controller.
New hardware is not the only thing that is new there is new software that drives new experiences on the console. Microsoft said during the reveal on Tuesday that the Xbox One has three operating systems. I really think it is more a combination of three operating systems. These three systems are the Xbox OS which game makers can use to take advantage of the Xbox One’s power, There is another system that is based on the Windows kernel which should make porting Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone apps very easy, and finally a third that allows switching between these systems seamless. You can also snap another app along side what ever you are doing like watching TV or playing a game. There are also a love of voice commands and hand gestures to control the Xbox One without the use of a controller and since the console is powered down in a more connected standby state you can just say “Xbox On” to turn the Xbox One on. Also Microsoft has integrated Skype into the Xbox software so you can video chat right from your living room and do so will still watching your favorite TV show or playing you favorite game with the Skype app snapped to the side of the screen. This really changes things like we have not seen since the Nintendo Wii was revealed.
If you look at the above screen shot you will see that they were watching Live TV, and if you noted earlier I said that there was a HDMI input. the Xbox One can pass through the HDMI signal from your Set Top Box and overlay additional content. Also the IR out allows the Xbox One to control the Set Top Box to change the channel. This allows the Xbox One to make TV much more interactive and allows apps to be snapped next to what you are watching on TV. The Xbox One also has Xbox Guide which is like in interactive TV guide allowing you to find the shows you want to watch and go right to them. In addition Microsoft announced that there will be a live action Halo TV show directed by Steven Spielberg.
Xbox Live is also getting additional features allowing for your content to be synced to the cloud and they are ramping up the amount of servers from 15,000 to 300,000. I think Microsoft is expecting increased traffic on their servers.
So what about gaming, well I can say what I have seen looks great and games are going to look fantastic on this system. EA announced they had new titles coming to the Xbox One and their will be a new Call Of Duty game coming out soon. All downloadable content for Call of Duty will come out exclusively on the Xbox One first. Microsoft’s own Game Studios will be releasing 15 new games only on Xbox within the first year. Eight of those games will be new franchises. The only thing Microsoft did not talk about was backward compatibility of Xbox and Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. We will have to wait till E3 to hear more about the system.
I am excited about the new system and can’t wait for it to come out which should be later this year. It looks great and the new features and not only compelling they are just down right cool.