Microsoft, at an event held in Redmond, Washington, last night, announced and unveiled their new console, the Xbox One. Seemingly intended as an all-in-one entertainment system as opposed to being just a gaming console, only time will tell whether Microsoft has targeted the correct market with their new hardware.
And the hardware itself isn’t bad at all, though what it does and doesn’t do may turn some gamers off. In terms of the internals the Xbox One will feature a custom 64-bit 8-core CPU, a Direct 3D 11.1 graphics chip, 8GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB hard drive and Blu-ray/DVD combo drive. Connectivity and extra storage comes by way of WiFi Direct, 802.11n and Ethernet ports and USB 3.0. It features a redesigned and rather attractive controller and the revamped Kinect camera will be required for the console to function.
A permanent internet connection won’t be required for the console to function, according to Microsoft, but the new hardware architecture means that the console won’t be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 titles. Nor will the console support the old Xbox 360 controllers. The fate of used games is still up in the air as well, new titles will be tied to a particular Xbox Live account. Games will have to be installed in order to play them and they will be tied to accounts at the same time, something that implies an internet connection will be needed at some point. Microsoft has issues a statement saying that used games will still be able to exist but they have yet to elaborate on the matter.
One the gaming front, Microsoft didn’t reveal as much as was hoped would be on show, closing out the event with Call of Duty Ghosts, a multiplatform title. They have said that there will be 15 Xbox-exclusive games in the first year of the console’s lifetime, 8 of which will be original IPs. Instead, several multimedia and social functions were on show, including Skype, the Xbox One’s ability to multitask, a built-in DVR for editing gameplay videos and the Kinect’s ability to wake up the Xbox from a voice command. This last feature is a little concerning as far as privacy goes since it means that the Kinect’s voice detection system is always on and listening to users.
Microsoft’s announcement is not without it’s questions but most of these are likely to be clarified at the E3 event in Los Angeles next month. Stuff will update with any new information then.