The Xbox One was announced May 21, 2013 as the successor to the Xbox 360. The release date has not been finalized, but it is slated to be available by the end of the year. If history repeats itself, it will likely come out right before the busy holiday shopping season.
The Xbox One will have a Blu-ray disc player.
Finally, the decision on which console to buy won’t be based on what type of media it plays. When the Playstation 3 was released many people bought it over the Xbox 360 because of its ability to play Blu-ray discs. Admittedly, the decision probably isn’t nearly as important as it was several years back, as stand-alone Blu-ray players have dropped dramatically in price and with the advent of cloud-based services, more and more people are accessing their media from the internet.
The Xbox One will feature full voice control.
The next gen console will feature a full set of voice controls for operation of the system. It is similar to what is found in the first generation Kinetic, but greatly improved. One of the coolest new features is the ability to turn on the console with voice activation. It can also be setup to turn on your TV, peripheral devices, and even a cable or satellite box. It will be one of the first devices ever to feature such technology.
The Xbox Live service will be dramatically improved.
The current Xbox Live service runs on 15,000 dedicated servers around the world. The new service is said to be backed by over 300,000. That is a 20x improvement in terms of infrastructure. As a result multiplayer games will not be limited to the typical 16-32 players as they are now. Supposedly, the new Live system in combination to the improved hardware will support multiplayer matches up to 128 players.
The Xbox One will feature a new controller design.
The same familiar layout that gamers have learned to love about the Xbox 360’s controllers will return, but greatly improved. To start, the often clumsy directional pad has been replaced with a distinct four button directional pad to provide greater control and sensing capabilities. Each trigger now features its own rumble motors, a feature Microsoft is calling “Impulse Triggers” and allows game developers to program directional vibrations. The new controllers have also been weight-balanced to ease the fatigue placed on the hands when playing hours on end and they no longer has a protruding battery pack, making it easier to hold.
The Kinect sensor for the Xbox One has been completely overhauled.
One of the first differences between the new Kinetic sensor and the old one is the new one is capable of capturing full 1080p video. This enlarges the sensor’s field-of-view by approximately 60%, making it quite a bit more accurate. The accuracy of the sensor is almost mind-blowing. it is now so sensitive it can measure a person’s pulse by monitoring skin pigmentation on a person’s face combined with infrared light variations. The old sensor mapped a room by using structured light and looked at the deformities created. The new one essentially uses radar technology and echolocation. Oh yeah, the ability to Skype will be included out of the box.
The graphics performance of the Xbox One is 8x better than the Xbox 360.
The graphics chipset of the Xbox 360 was roughly 500 million transistors. The number of transistors in the Xbox One’s graphic chipset is 10x that at 5 billion. It was announced the graphics processor would reside on a single chip with the CPU, memory, and the controller logic to decrease heat throughput and increase performance. The CPU and the GPU are both being supplied by AMD.
Xbox One will sync installed games and achievements to the cloud.
Using Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, allows gamers to access their games and achievements on any Xbox One system. With ever increasing internet connection speeds, another future possibility to offload the processing of cutting-edge games to the cloud service.
The Xbox One will function as a video pass-through device.
Essentially, the Xbox One has an input HDMI port which allows you to plug in your cable or satellite box into your Xbox. What this does is allows the Xbox to overlay screens onto your regular TV feed. This enables you to use the Xbox’s electronic programming guide, have scroll bars setup to see what friends are online while you are watching your regular programming, and synchronization with Xbox SmartGlass which allows you to have a second-screen on your tablet or smart phone where you can pull up the guide and change the channels with like a remote. Channel changing is also promised to be fully integrated with the new Kinect, meaning you can verbally tell the Xbox to change the channels to a specified station, such as “Change the channel to ESPN.”
So far, there are 15 confirmed games going to be available within the first year.
Microsoft has confirmed there will be at least 15 confirmed games available for the Xbox One within the first year, including 8 which they claim will be entirely new franchises. Some of the games announced were, Madden 25, FIFA 14, UFC, NBA Live 14, Forza 5, Quantum Break, and a fan-favorite Call of Duty: Ghosts.
The Xbox One strives to be a living-room experience.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the Xbox One strives to create a whole living-room experience rather than just being a game console. With the Xbox 360’s updates over the years we have seen a gradual progression toward this goal, but with the Xbox One, Microsoft will be taking a quantum leap forward. It is aimed at being the device to consolidate all of your home entertainment needs. Its goal is to revolutionize something as simple and as taken for granted as watching television. The appeal of the system will no longer be just for gamers. The system will even appeal to regular people who take no interest in gaming. If this device is any indication of the future wave of technology, it will surely be a fantastic “one” (pun intended).
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