Microsoft unveiled its long awaited reincarnation of the Xbox gaming console on Tuesday. The brand new Xbox One will integrate television, internet and gaming, as well as shipping with an updated Kinect sensor.
The design of the new machine is practical, yet attractive. It bares a resemblance to a rectangular cable box or DVD player, and is black and grey in colour. It looks quite different to its predecessors and should nestle away nicely in your cabinet or entertainment unit.
In terms of hardware, the Xbox One is broadly similar to its arch rival, the Playstation 4. It is equipped with 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, an 8-core CPU, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi and a Blu-ray drive. Even though the specifications are impressive, observers may be slightly disappointed that they are mere evolutions of Microsoft’s previous consoles.
Of course for gamers, the controller is one of the most vital elements. The previously removable battery is now fully integrated while a more precise joystick has been added to improve the gaming experience. Generally, the controller is similar to its highly successful forbears. One negative point is the fact that the new system will not be backwards compatible with older Xbox 360 games, meaning customers will have to rebuild their gaming collections from scratch.
The Xbox One’s usability through the improved Kinect sensor certainly appeared impressive, though it was not demonstrated with games. Microsoft corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi was able to switch on the console and seamlessly cycle from gaming applications to television through voice commands.
Kinect can track wrist and shoulder rotations, as well as monitoring user’s heartbeats. It now features a camera recording 1080P RGB video at 30 frames a second. The motion quality and voice detection features of the updated digital technology seemed effortless – it will be possible to watch live sports on television while receiving updates on fantasy leagues through a split screen format.
In terms of games, the Xbox One appears very promising. Activision’s popular Call of Duty game will be offered by Microsoft before anybody else, a major coup considering the popularity of the series. “NBA Ignite” and “FIFA” were demonstrated by Electronic Arts at the unveiling event, and they are a major partner in the new Xbox project.
Xbox Live will become more stable, and 300,000 servers will allow gamers to access more content and partake in larger multiplayer gaming sessions. Unfortunately, some important details were kept from customers, including the system’s launch date and its price. However, Microsoft did state that the Xbox One will ship later this year.
The Xbox One is much more than a gaming console and must be considered a state of the art entertainment system. Microsoft has said that its new device ‘changes everything’. Console gamers are finally getting excited about a new system, having endured a long wait. Hopefully, the Xbox One will fulfil their expectations.
Imagenote: Frederik Hermann via Flickr