This week, Microsoft finally unveiled their XBox One console. In a fast and furious presentation, they demonstrated the next-generation console’s hardware and software, showed off a few games, and briefly addressed some of the rumours that had been flying around the system. Here’s what was announced.
The Xbox One, just like the PlayStation 4, is essentially a high-powered gaming PC. That’s because instead of using a custom PowerPC architecture, the X1 uses a semi-custom x86-64 architecture provided by AMD. The system includes an eight-core Jaguar processor (thought to be clocked at 1.6 GHz), a 768-core GPU and 8 GB of DDR3 memory with an additional 32 MB of embedded memory. That’s a little behind the PlayStation 4 in pure performance, which includes faster DDR5 memory, a 1152-core GPU and a similarly fast processor. As well as the box itself, the One will be bundled with a redesigned controller with vibrating triggers and a clickier D-PAD and a much more accurate Kinect 2 3D camera.
Gaming isn’t the system’s only focus – thanks to the use of a VM, the Xbox OS and a Windows 8 kernel are run simultaneously. This allows for rapid switches between gaming and TV, internet, Skype and more. The One even includes the Windows 8 Snap View, allowing two programs to run side by side. Gestures and voice commands recognised by the Kinect augment the traditional controller. The TV mentioned earlier is live TV, provided to the Xbox from a satellite or cable box through the console’s HDMI in port. Through partnerships with ESPN and the NFL, it’ll be possible to see additional information on a sidebar, like live fantasy football stats. These TV features will only go live in the US initially. The system will run many other apps, including Skype and Netflix. The Xbox SmartGlass app will allow Lumia 925 users (and eventually those on Android and iOS as well) to see additional information and control the system.
A few new games for shown for the system, as well as a few games announced earlier for other platforms. The full list includes four new EA Sports games running on a next-generation engine (including FIFA, NBA Live, UFC and Madden), a live-action game called Quantum Break and the next Call of Duty title, Ghosts. Other titles confirmed to be in development include Assassin’s Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Destiny, Forza 5, Need for Speed Rivals, Ryse, Thief and Watch Dogs.
Hot Button Issues
There are quite a few of these, so I’ll be brief. At present, the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games and will not support self-publishing for indie developers. The system will allow for used games, but may demand a fee for games to be sold to a new player. The system won’t need to be online always, but will need to be connected at least once a day. Finally, Microsoft have stated that while the system will always be listening for the phrase “Xbox On”, no audio or video data will be recorded without explicit permission.
The Xbox One will be released worldwide this holiday season. So there you have it – the Xbox One. What do you think of the system? Let us know in the comments below!