The all-new Xbox One
Microsoft unveiled its long-awaited new game and entertainment console today, the Xbox One.
The third generation of Microsoft's console, the Xbox One integrates an advanced technical architecture with an all-new design meant to give users a personalized experience that responds almost instantly to their voice and gesture commands.
The new console, black and sleek with a horizontal slit across its center and a modern Xbox logo, features 5 billion transistors, 8GB of RAM, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi direct, a Blu-Ray drive, and a native 64-bit architecture. In addition, it has a 1080P HD RGB camera and an all-new game controller.
The Xbox One will not be backward compatible, but Microsoft said it will continue to support the Xbox 360. The new console will be released later this year, but a pricing structure was not disclosed.
Xbox One links the Xbox OS to the Windows kernel in a way meant to enable multitasking. At its core, though, the Xbox One is meant to give users a new level of personalized control over the home entertainment experience, to include games, TV, movies, and music.
For instance, the console has a built-in voice recognition system. Simply telling it, "Xbox On," powers up the console, without a need to log in or wait for software updates.
Users also can direct what they want to do by speaking certain commands. If a user says, "Xbox, go home," the console will return to the home screen. By saying, "Xbox, watch TV," it switches to live TV. Similarly, "Xbox, game," switches to game-play mode, while "Go to music" or "Go to Internet Explorer" will take a user to the music section or to a browser.
Users can tell the console what they want to watch by saying, for example, "Watch CBS," or asking it, "What's on HBO?" If a person is undecided about what to watch, the home screen now has a Trending feature, which offers a snapshot of what's popular in entertainment -- both among the users' friends and across the Xbox community.
The console also has a new Kinect sensor to better recognize users' movements -- including recognizing a shift in balance from one foot to the other or even a user's heartbeat. Multiple commands can be executed through gestures. For instance, users can spread their hands and "grab" the screen to return to the home screen.
In addition, the Xbox One features an all-new Snap mode, which runs multiple programs alongside each other -- a multitasker's dream. The new console also makes HD Skype video calls possible.
Naturally, Microsoft has boosted the Xbox Live infrastructure. The company said that when Xbox Live was first unveiled in 2002, it had 500 dedicated servers. When the Xbox 360 was launched in 2005, there were 3,000. Today, the number is 15,000 servers. For Xbox One, there will be more than 300,000 servers dedicated to Xbox Live, a number larger than the world's entire computing power in 1999, according to Microsoft.
Befitting a brand-new console, the Xbox One will have a series of new games to excite hard-core users. Among them are the standard group of Electronic Arts titles: the latest versions of FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Live, and UFC.
There also will be a new live-action Halo TV series, which will be co-produced by 343 Industries. The companies announced that film director Steven Spielberg will be involved in the series' creation.
Perhaps topping the list of new developments is the exclusive availability of downloadable content for Call of Duty: Ghosts, the latest edition in the mega-hit Call of Duty franchise.