In the early hours of this morning, Microsoft unveiled its “next Xbox”, the Xbox One. The Xbox one is being dubbed by Microsoft as the “ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system”, and it’s not hard to see why.
For starters, the Xbox One will work as your new TV set-top box and Foxtel/Austar box with the ability to plug your aerial into the system, It FINALLY has a blu-ray player, it will come with tonnes of online channels, it runs three(!) operating systems and then of course will play all the latest and greatest video games online or single player.
To look at, the new Xbox looks a lot like the black 360 Slim model, but a bit more flat and sharper. The fun begins on the inside, though, with it featuring a heavily customised AMD chip that combines and eight-core CPU, a GPU tailored for DirectX 11.1 graphics and 32MB of high bandwidth embedded ESRAM memory. It’s 28nm chip will consume a tad more than the current Xbox Slim and PS3 but Microsoft says its fan will be “four times quieter”. Other specs include; 8GB’s of DDR3 RAM (sadly not GDDR5 like the PS4), both 1080P and 4K resolutions supported with 7.1 surround sound, a “few” USB 3.0 ports, gigabit ethernet, Blu-Ray drive, 500GB hard drive and 3 seperate 802.11n Wi-Fi radios to allow the console to communicate with the controller and other devices without losing internet connection. Also, Kinect will be bundled with the console this time and will contain a 250,000-pixel infrared depth sensor as well as a 1080p web cam – a major step up from VGA.
The New Kinect
As well as the improved infrared sensor and resolution, the new Kinect is getting a few more big improvements. One of the most impressive new features is the ability to wake the Xbox up with a simple voice command like “Xbox on,” and you will be good to go. There’s heaps of voice commands that you can scream at your Xbox too, like “watch TV” or… “snap Internet Explorer”. Yes, you can multi-task with your Xbox One with just a voice command.
The new camera sensor is equally as impressive, it processes a total of two gigabits of data per second to read your environment accurately – this thing can even read your heart beat! It even has the ability to interact with the standard Xbox controller, for example – you could lift your remote and you will lift your shield.
The actual general user-interface of the new Xbox One doesn’t look too dissimilar to that of the latest version on the Xbox 360 – and why would it? It’s slick, follows a similar to design as Windows 8 and works quite well. This doesn’t mean Microsoft hasn’t changed things though, because the Xbox One is in fact running three operating systems.
The first operating system will be on the Xbox One is Windows based, this will be used to run apps such as Skype and any other non-game titles that you download from the Xbox Marketplace. While this is happening, virtualisation technology will be used to run a second, dedicated Xbox OS for when the user loads up a game – this Xbox OS is the only part of the system that is guaranteed to stay the same for the life of the console, so developers know their game will be able to be run regardless of how much the Windows side gets updated. The third layer is the smallest, and all it pretty much does is allow the two other operating systems to talk.
This is the sad part. The Xbox One won’t run your old games, nor will your Xbox Live Arcade games transfer. This is all due to the x86 architecture of the Xbox One, the Power-PC based titles that were 360 games simply aren’t supported on this hardware.
Call of Duty Ghosts, Forza 5, Quantum Break, FIFA, NBA Live, Madden, UFC – these are all going to be coming to the Xbox One and most will debut on the system in some way or another.
Call of Duty: Ghost’s is the biggest title to come with the Xbox One and all it’s DLC will be coming to the console first – which is a big score for Microsoft. The game will run at a steady 60fps and Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said that “It will be the best Call of Duty game we’ve ever made” as he showed slides of the games visuals next to previous games.
Forza Motorsport 5, the Xbox’s flagship motorsport game was revealed and announced to be a launch title, not much was revealed but a trailer – it looks awesome though.
EA had a fair bit to say with the publisher announcing its new EA Sports Ignite game engine as well as it’s 2014 sports games. The new engine is designed specifically for high end sports games to help “blur the line between the real and the virtual”. Games wise, they showed off FIFA 14, NBA Live 14, Madden 25 and EA Sports UFC which all used the engine.
Microsoft also revealed that the Xbox Studios will release 15 exclusive One titles in the first year with 8 new franchises.
What about always-online gaming you ask? Well, this part is actually pretty cool. You don’t have to always be online to play your games if you don’t want to, but, if you did want to, some of the game could be processed in Azure’s servers to take the load of your system and increase loading times – pretty awesome! Used games is still a question yet to be answered, but at the moment it seems like to play a game on a different console you may have to pay a fee. But this will hopefully be cleared up soon.
The Xbox One looks like it could be a hit, with great home entertainment features (FINALLY A BLU-RAY), the new Kinect and some killer game features. Oh, and those extra 275,000 Xbox Live Servers so you don’t have to worry about lag anymore!