Microsoft revealed its newest video game console, the Xbox One, to an eager audience today. It’s continuing down the path it started with the Xbox 360, seeking nothing short of total domination where your entertainment options are concerned. All the Xbox Ones will come packaged with an upgraded version of Microsoft’s Kinect. The company promises better voice and physical feature recognition. To demonstrate, they switched seamlessly from playing games to watching TV with vocal commands.
According to presenters, the need to search for a remote or even remember what channel your favorite programs come on will be a thing of the past. The new Xbox home page keeps a running tab of what you did last including your music, TV and gaming options.
The social media influence is heavy this console generation. PlayStation 4’s controller even has a “share” button on it. Xbox One is following suit with a trending display that shows what content is popular among two categories: your friends and the rest of the world.
“Snap mode” allows the numerous programs on your Xbox One to run in concert. As an example, the first J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” ran during the presentation. Then we saw Internet Explorer come up in a separate window and search for times when “Star Trek: Into Darkness” was showing. Speaking of movies, the Xbox One will contain a Blu-Ray drive. Yes, the software giant guessed horribly wrong with the HD-DVDs on Xbox 360. They’d appreciate it if we don’t rub that in too much.
Microsoft’s purchase of Skype all but guaranteed it would factor into the new console. Sure enough, you can Skype while playing to talk some trash or just say hi. It will be fun to use while viewing sporting events too. Speaking of which, the popular ESPN application is updated to incorporate the popularity of fantasy sports. Your stats will update in real time while you’re watching a sporting event. This drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
The NFL announced an exclusive partnership with Microsoft, promising content that will only be available on Xbox One. They didn’t give any real details, but that’s something interesting to keep an eye on.
Former CBS Entertainment President Nancy Tellem is now in charge of Microsoft’s entertainment division. She declared the Xbox One “the new watercooler” thanks to its entertainment and sharing options. Tellem then introduced Steven Spielberg, a longtime gamer when he’s not doing that filmmaking hobby of his. The legend will be in charge of a new live action TV show based on the universe of the popular Halo game.
They didn’t a firm release date, dropping the vague “later this year.” We may get a more specific launch during the company’s Electronic Entertainment Expo presentation next month.
This new console will not be backward compatible. That clearly means no old games playing on it, but movies and music should be easily transferable to cloud storage. Hopefully we’ll have more details on that soon.