Microsoft's New ConsoleIt's been eight years and nine days since Microsoft showed the world the Xbox 360 on May 12th, 2005. Today, we see what's next. The Xbox One.
Microsoft can only hope it's half as right as it was last time around. The 360 was built to last. That eight-year stretch of dominance makes it the oldest of the current generation of systems, and the last to be cast off in favor of a new system. Over that time the Xbox has picked up new features, like the Kinect motion sensor and ever more media streaming capabilities, but its core has remained the same.
My first thought, honestly, is how boxy it is. In 2010, Microsoft released a “slim” version of the Xbox 360 that was literally streamlined, with a curvilinear X-shaped form that made its predecessor feel clumsy in comparison. The Xbox One is a bit bigger than the 360 and as rectangular as it gets. It’s not without its flourishes, though. It’s a deep, glossy black that the industrial design team calls liquid black. The top of the console is subdivided into two 16:9 rectangles, derived from the traditional aspect ratio of widescreen televisions—one is solid and glossy, the other a matte panel that’s entirely vented to help as much air pass through the system as possible. The front is nearly without embellishment; even the optical disc drive slot blends into the frontpiece of the box.
We're underway, and the intro video for the new Xbox has users saying that the new Xbox is going to "recognize my name, my voice, my movies" and know what you like. That's a big cue that this generation is going to focus heavily on entertainment. Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, says that Xbox 360 is leading the industry in entertainment, because gamers are quick to adopt new tech.
The focus for the next gen is going to focus on different types of content, and use new tech, like cloud interfacing and streaming. It's the all-in-one home entertainment system.
The console turns on just from you saying "Xbox on". It will launch into what you were doing last. This passive listening is a huge deal for natural interface. It seems incredibly responsive in the demo, but for now it's unclear if this is an actual demo or if it's being simulated.
It also integrates right into your TV. "Xbox, watch TV" drops you right into a live television feed. The amazing part of this is that you can switch quickly from movies, TV, games, a browser or anything else, just by saying "Xbox, go to", or even just "Go to movies".
Two at Once
You can also use Windows 8's snap mode (with one app "snapped" to the side of the screen" to run another app on the side of the screen while your movie, or TV or game is playing. This is kind of an amazing addition, not just for browsing movies while watching one, like an onscreen IMDB, which is what the demo is showing, but you can also, say, snap a walkthrough for a game you're playing.
Oh, and Skype! You can use Skype while watching a movie or playing a game, too.
The new Kinect has a 1080p sensor, and captures videos at 60fps and far finer detection. It detects the twist of a wrist, or how balanced you are. it can read your heartbeat while watching you exercise. This is next level stuff. The sensor field is expanded by 60 percent, and uses a modulated IR beam, and uses "time-of-flight" tech to measure the time it takes photos to travel back to the Kinect. Microsoft claims it works in complete darkness.
The controller has a ton of new features, too, like the ability for designers to send feedback right into the triggers.
SmartGlass also gets a ton of upgrades, because it's going to be treated as a native part of the platform, and not just an add-on, as it previously was.
Xbox Live is getting a massive overhaul as well. It currently runs on 15,000 servers, but it's going to go to 300,000 this year. Insane. You'll be able to access your movies, music, games, and saves from anywhere. The Xbox One is NOT always online. But developers will be able to use Microsoft's Azure computing (perform rendering tasks remotely), which would require even single player games to be online if those are used. Those aren't mandatory, but Microsoft hopes developers use them.
EA's making an effort to use the new innovations from Microsoft and Xbox Live especially with a roster of new titles. FIFA 14, Madden 25, NBA Live 14, and UFC will all launch in the next 12 months, and EA promises that they will all change the way you play. They'll be powered by a new game engine called EA Sports Ignite, unveiled today.
EA Sports Ignite is supposed to make decision making and contextual contact more realistic. It will supposedly have 10 times more animation detail, called "True Player Motion", and the crowds are 3D, with dynamic sidelines. Basically, everything's going to look even more realistic.
Oh, and FIFA 14's Ultimate Team mode, the most popular mode, is exclusive to the new Xbox.
Here you have some trailers and teasers of what you are about to see on this new-gen console:
It looks good,waiting for the Sony team to respond at this in a few weeks at the E3 convention!