Microsoft never fails to show off what they can do with all their money. The Xbox reveal started out showing off who the Xbox One is for and they included the faces of Bill Gates, Hideo Kojima, Cliff Bleszinski, J.J. Abrams, some other voice actors and developers, and of course some gamers. Out first on stage was Don Mattrick, the President of Xbox, and he is extremely excited about this Xbox One. Xbox started over ten years ago and evolved with the introduction of Xbox Live and moved towards HD gameplay with the Xbox 360 and further enhanced your gameplay with the Kinect making you the controller. Making Xbox One another step towards further progress by making an all-in-one system. He plays a big emphasis on integrating the Xbox One with you and your TV. The only thing is that the system and the Kinect are virtually just plain boxes with the system doing a checkered pattern. While this goes on their wanting a simple system, I feel like in a TV set up it will blend in more than stand out.
“Simple, Instant, and Complete”
Yusuf Mehdi takes stage next to talk about some of the new features and what to expect with the Xbox One. This new system becomes a way to integrate your entire media center with ease. The Xbox One is always ready to go and is connected to your devices all the time. All you need to do is tell it to turn on and it will recognize your voice and seamlessly log you in. The Xbox home page normally has a Games, Music, Video, and some other tabs, but with the updated User Interface there will be a new “Trending” tab in which you’ll get to see what everyone is doing on the Xbox One. One really impressive feat was the instant switching of programs on the system. Say you’re watching a movie on the Xbox One and you want to go back to the home screen, well all you need to do is say “Xbox Go Home” and in a matter of seconds you’re back. Personally, I feel like every time I say “Xbox Go Home” I’m going to think that the Xbox has had too much to drink and needs to take it easy. I will thoroughly enjoy saying this. Other than just going home, you say commands such as “Xbox Watch TV” and it will switch to what you were watching on TV and by saying “Xbox Game” you can go back to playing your game. All of which can be done in succession and with ease. This comes in handy whenever you don’t want to spend a couple of minutes waiting for things to close out and open up and so forth. Another really neat implementation is the Xbox Snapshot mode in which you can basically have multiple tabs up on your TV at once. So one example is watching an NBA game and using Snapshot to view your fantasy league stats on the other side, or even Skyping your friend while the game is going on. He expressed that there is potential in this to enhance how viewers of the Super Bowl or even the Presidential Debate watch these events. Lastly from Yusuf is showing off a customized Xbox TV Guide which will have it’s own interface on the Xbox One and will cater to your likes and even be able to switch channels by saying the names of the channels themselves.
Marc Whitten discusses the hardware details for this next-gen console and will feature some huge upgrades from the Xbox 360. Including USB 3.0, Blu-Ray Drive, 8GB of RAM, 500GB of HDD, 8 Core CPU, and of course HDMI. One interesting notion is that the system itself has 3 different operating systems operating in unison. One is the Windows OS, one is the Xbox OS, and the final is one to simply combine the two. This allows for that Snapshot mode to be possible. He also went on to discuss the new Kinect which will have improved voice recognition and can capture the slight movements of hands and muscles, they even noted that it can detect a heartbeat too! The controller got a little more intelligent as well, now featuring some programmable buttons and impact triggers for faster response times. The Smart Glass feature, which was revealed at the last E3, is going to be integrated from the start with the next gen providing a lag-free and instantly complete experience. They even have 300,000 servers now to power Xbox Live and will be bringing you cloud storage that will be accessible anytime and anywhere. If you like to share you progress with your friends then they’ll have a feature where you can capture and edit footage from games and share it with others. Making this new Xbox a more social friendly Xbox.
Electronic Arts has always been a big supporter of Microsoft and their bringing the best sports experience to the new system this time around. Andrew Wilson announced that there will be four EA Sports titles within 12 months of the launch of the new system. Including the new Madden, FIFA, NBA Live, and UFC. For the new systems, EA Sports has created the Ignite engine which will feature much better AI, 4x the power of the current engine, and 10x the detail and graphical capabilities of what was done before. Also it was briefly announced that service for FIFA 14 called ‘Ultimate Team’ will be exclusive to the new Xbox. A trailer will be updated when one is uploaded.
We had Phil Spencer come out and debut the new Forza Motorsport 5 coming out as a launch title for the new system. From the minds behind Alan Wake, Remedy is coming out with a new IP for the Xbox One called Quantum Break. So far it looks like it deals with time bending, some sort of superhero type character, and fighting the police. I’m sure more details to come with E3 around the corner. Also there will be an impressive 15 exclusive Xbox One games out in the first year of the system with 8 of them being brand new IP. Once again more details at E3 for these games.
This next announcement was definitely the most surprising and impressive and yet had nothing to do with the system directly. Nancy Tellem from Xbox Entertainment Studios talks about getting an immersive and personalized experience with gaming and entertainment. She then brought out Bonnie Ross from 343 Industries to debut the announcement that Steven Spielberg will be working with them to bring a LIVE ACTION Halo TV series. No details on when or where will this will happen (she hinted that she likes Game of Thrones… so maybe on HBO?), but we’ll be sure to inform you when they release this information. Also a strong partnership with NFL and Microsoft that will integrate their Snapshot mode to enhance your viewing experience.
The final announcement is about Call of Duty: Ghosts. We finally get some details about the game, and I have to say I’m very impressed. Of course all the DLC will launch exclusively on the Xbox One first and the other systems later on. Eric Hirshberg came out and talked about the story for CoD: Ghosts. Yes I did say story, because they are going to enhance their single player campaign in addition to their multiplayer experiences this time around. They hired Stephen Gaghan to write the story and has you playing as the underdog and not the super power this time around. After a devastating attack on the United States you and a group of remaining special forces members will team up as the ghosts to take down the enemy. You also will have your very own attack dog as a squad mate during the game. Their new engine for the next gen will work harder as you get closer to something to express more detail on the objects and emphasize their curvatures. You will be able to lean, slide, and fluidly vault over obstacles with this new engine. They even added AI to fish! Where they’ll intelligently swim away from you when you get too close. in terms of the multiplayer changes, you will have dynamic maps that alter your game and are changed constantly by the player. This will make professional gaming in CoD be a little bit more interesting as players will need to be able to adapt to these map changes. You’ll also have character customization this time as well.
So that about sums up the reveal for the Xbox One and expect a lot more games and further details on the system at E3. No price announced as I’m sure they’re waiting on Sony’s next move, but a release date for sometime this year is all we know. Also from a report on The Verge, the Xbox One is not backwards compatible due to the different core architecture of the system itself. Check out all the screenshots I took during the reveal.