Well the Xbox Live press conference is over and we got some new and juicy details on what is to come for Microsoft & the Xbox; introducing the Xbox One! Allthough, all that Microsoft really announced was Live TV, a New Xbox Live experience, a partnership and 6 games. But, with all that said let's get started!
Hardware: First off, let's just say Microsoft came to play today, because not even 10 minutes into the press conference they revealed the new Xbox console and let me say it has a very sleek and boxy look to it. In fact, it kind of looks like a VCR. Now before we all start a flame war on the console design, let's dig deep into this next generation console and see what it has to offer. It packs 8GB DDR3 RAM, 8 Core CPU, and 500 GB Hard Drive space. It also comes with a Blu-Ray/DVD player, built in Game DVR, USB 3.0 port, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity a/b/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz with Wi-Fi Direct and HDMI In/Out.
Software: Microsoft showed off a lot of cool and interesting features that the Xbox One can do (with a little help from the Kinect of course). Yusuf Mehdi showed the world these cool features that come with the Xbox One with the new Xbox Live. First he showed how the Xbox One can be turned on with just a simple voice command of “Xbox On”. Xbox One will and always will be ready and connected for your commands. When you say the magic two words, you are greeted and welcomed to your Xbox Live personal home screen. But, that is not all ladies and gentlemen there is more.
TV: Another thing Yusuf showed off was Live TV. You can get to Live TV at anytime on the Xbox One by saying another command “Xbox, Watch Live TV”, and instantly you are watching live TV from your Cable or Satellite provider. This feature called “Instant Switching” allows you to switch between a lot of different applications; from TV to music to games to Internet Explorer. The reason it so fast is because of how the Xbox One was built. It was built to have 3 different OS’s, which handle different parts of the Xbox's functionalities. Another great feature they introduced was Pan & Grab and swipe up. From anywhere on the Xbox One, from playing a game or watching movies, you can Pan & Grab and swipe up. For example, to get back to the home screen of the Xbox One, all you need to do is spread open your arms, grab with your hands, bring them close to each other and instantly you are back at the home screen. And if you want to go back to whatever you were running, just simply grab with your hands, open them up and your back to what you were doing perviously.
Another great feature that was introduced to the Xbox One was “Snap Mode”. Basically this gives you the ability to display another program next to the one you are currently viewing. For example, you are watching a movie/show and you want to look something up online. You simply say “Xbox, Snap Internet Explorer” and instantly you have IE running next to your movie/show.
Skype is another great program that Microsoft introduced to the Xbox One. You can answer Skype calls while you’re running different applications and it can also support group calls. I don’t know many people that are going to be making Skype calls on their systems, but it's a nice function to have and why not? If you like sports, then you'll like this next piece. ESPN got a nice feature added to it that's called “Fantasy”. Now say you are watching Basketball or Football etc., and one of the players you have on your fantasy team scores a point or does something that earns you points. Well, a little notification pops up in the corner letting you know, so all you need to say is “Xbox, Show Fantasy” and instantly it brings up your Fantasy team. It will display on the far side of the screen with the game still playing and showing the player that just gave you points in the additional display window. The stats of players also update live as games are played.
One last thing that was a big highlight was the “Xbox One Guide”. By saying “Xbox, Show the guide”, you are brought to a list of channels and shows that are on right that moment. By giving commands, you can watch your TV channels and shows without having to remember the TV channel. Just say, "Watch MTV" or "SyFy" or "CBS" and it takes you to that station. You can also say, “What is on HBO?" and it will who you what's on at that time. With the addition of a favorites section you can see what type of shows and movies you like to watch, and you can view trends currently happening from others at that time as well.
Controller: Now we do not know much about the new Xbox One controller, but from appearances alone, it did get a new redesign. One of the major changes was in the Xbox triggers. They are now equipped with force feedback, which means each trigger will have vibrating motors. Clicking a button means then that you will only get vibration on that button and not the whole controller. Also the AA battery pack is less obtrusive, which in my opinion, is a really nice touch. Last thing that I noticed was the grip on the thumb sticks, which is a nice feature for those players have finger slipping issues.
Kinect 2.0: It has a bold new look and it comes with some new upgrades. 1080 HD RGB Camera, 30 FPS color, Time of Flight (TOF) Technology and Microphone. What we know so far is that the Kinect can map out your body more accurately by picking out more pin points on your person when moving around or even exercising. Another great thing is that the Kinect will ship with the Xbox One, so everyone who buys an Xbox One will also get a Kinect as well.
Games: Despite that the press conference was more about entertainment than games we did have some pretty good announcements. An all new Forza Motorsports Game (Forza Motorsports 5); new titles from EA including Madden NFL 25, NBA Live 14, FIFA 14 and UFC; and a new IP from Microsoft Studios called Quantum Break. Also the new Call of Duty game called Call of Duty: Ghosts will be coming to next generation consoles. Expect more about these games at E3.
We also got a couple of new tidbits as well. Microsoft has partnered with the NFL to bring exclusive content to the Xbox One. Another highlight was the big news of a Halo TV Series that Stephen Spielberg will be the executive producer of and there's no word yet if it will be an Xbox exclusive or not.
We got a glimpse into the future of the Xbox One, and I am excited to see what else Microsoft has up their sleeves at E3 2013. Even though this conference was more on entertainment, as stated earlier, E3 will be the one show what games you don’t want to miss out onj as there will be actual gameplay and graphical displays. See you at E3…