Much speculated and heavily rumoured, Microsoft have finally revealed the new Xbox. Called Xbox One, it will be out later this year.
Microsoft kicked off the announcement by revealing that the Xbox One is designed to remember you. Tailored to your emotions and interests, the company are pitting the new console as an entertainment hub. The console won’t just be used for games, but it will also be utilised as media server where you go not just for your gaming, but for your music, you films and even your television shows too.
“Can we take what you love and make it better?” “Simple. Instant. Complete” These are the words that Microsoft are using to describe the device as it plans to be an ‘All in One’ console (as you’d expect from the title). Coupled with Kinect support that they set up with the Xbox 360, motion controlled games are expected. Too, included with the Xbox One is cloud support, meaning that it could have a reduced hard-drive.
Personalised to you, the Kinect features it knows who you are and what you sound and look like. The Xbox One lets you to switch the console on by saying “Xbox On”, at which point you’ll jump straight into a homescreen that not just remembers what you were last doing but allows you (via a new feature called “Trending”) to find out what your friends are up to, so that you can get specific recommendations from your social circle.
Voice commands only expand from there with “Jump to Music” and “Jump to Movie” also allowing you to switch through the media modes. Don’t want to use your voice? Kinect lets users ‘grab the screen’, taking you back to the last thing you were doing, meaning that no matter if you use a hand gesture or your vocal chords, switching is instant.
If you say to “Jump to TV”, the options are multiplied even more. From your TV (which is broadcast live), you can use your voice to switch between channels. Pull up the ‘Xbox One Guide’ (which you can do with a corresponding voice command, of course) you can see what’s on, then using one of the voice commands, for example “Go to HBO”, you can flick to those channels too. Still stuck for things to watch? Flick over to the “Trending” section (again, which you can get to via voice command) and you can find out what shows are popular across Xbox Live users across the world, even taking shows in various locations and timezones into consideration.
Another thing that Xbox One is all about is inter-connectivity. Saying “snap to Internet Explorer” snaps Microsoft’s Internet browser to the side of your screen, from then you can use your voice and your connected smartphone to search for whatever you’d like, whilst you’re still watching your film, TV show or even playing your game. This would allow you to communicate via Twitter or Facebook. You can even snap a Skype window and have a video-chat conversation as you’re watching something or playing a game.
Interestingly, on the in-built technology side of things, the Kinect that every Xbox One will come with, both recognises your appearance and voice, but now, its improved depth and update sensors know ‘when you transfer your weight from one foot to the other’ and can even ‘read your heartbeat’, this allows for games to include extra features, for example fitness games that see you win when your heartbeat has increased to a certain level.
Other back of the box features are that the Xbox One, unlike the Xbox 360, the One will include a Blu-Ray drive, useful as Blu-Ray disc can handle 50GB of data, over twice as much as a DVD. The Xbox One is also set to feature video capturing, where you can both record footage from the games you’re playing and edit them on the console, before uploading them to Xbox Live (it’s unclear if the footage will be able to be viewed outside of XBL).
Also fascinatingly, Microsoft are touting how the Xbox will run a lot of your content from the ‘cloud’, including games, movies and music as well as your game data, which, when you sign in from another Xbox One, will be readily available to pick up in your game where you left it. Whether that means that the Xbox One will have to be ‘always on’ is yet to be seen (they didn’t talk through individual specs in the press conference) but it seems entirely likely.
Microsoft say that the Xbox One will be out later this year, stay tuned later today for information on Xbox One games.