Microsoft announced at its E3 press conference that the Xbox One will cost $499 in the U.S. and launch this November. The successor to the Xbox 360 gaming console, the Xbox One takes a different approach, seeking to be more than a simple game system that happens to have some media capabilities. Indeed, the Xbox One may become the center of everyone’s entertainment center.
With an 8 core x86 processor, games and entertainment applications should load at lightning speed. With the HDMI pass-through feature, you can connect a cable box to the Xbox One and watch television programming on the system, making switching between games and TV easier than ever. This may allow for DVR service, as well, by utilizing the Xbox One’s onboard 500GB hard drive. And, what entertainment center would not be complete without a Blu-ray player?
The system will utilize an OS based on Windows, so you will be able to natively play video games, use various apps, watch TV, etc. This, of course, includes such familiar apps as Netflix and Skype, and a number of others for music, pictures, internet navigation, etc. Other fun bells and whistles include the ability to split screens and run two different apps at once, instant on capability, multitasking, auto-resume on games, and Living Games technology that allows your games to keep running even while you are away.
The new Smart Glass feature will allow users to control their Xbox One system from a tablet or other mobile device. With Smart Glass, users can surf the internet on their TV via their mobile device, navigate features, pinch to zoom, and additional options which may allow for expanded videogame experiences.
The Xbox One will also come bundled with a new Kinect 2. The new Kinect 2 is seriously beefed up with enhanced optics, motion detection, and voice recognition. The controller also gets an overhaul with a number of performance enhancements.
The downside: the Xbox One will require an internet connection and ability to connect regularly, even when not in use. Also, gone are the days of owning a videogame and doing with it as you will. As many feared, content will be locked to the individual game system, so resales and sharing with friends may be an issue, though there are reports of discussions between reselling companies and Microsoft to find a possible work-around.
Overall, the Xbox One looks to be as revolutionary and exciting as predicted. But what kind of games will it play? So far, the offerings are exciting, including a new installment of the Halo series that will be available in 2014. Other games include Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct, Sunset Overdrive, Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, Quantum Break, D4, Project Spark, Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3, The Witcher 3, Wild Hunt, Battlefield 4, Titanfall, and Forza Motorsport 5.
As an avid Halo fan, I am most excited about resuming my role as Master Chief of my couch while I battle my way past a new set of aliens. The teaser trailer features a poncho wearing Chief walking through a desert landscape…I’m drooling.