It’s official: it’s here.
Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest salvo into the console wars, is attempting to conspicuously broaden the battle. The 360 was an attempt to be an all-in-one living room machine: games, music, and video, all in one spot. Xbox One seeks to finally achieve that.
The Xbox One features a Blu-ray player, feedback in the controller, 8 cores, USB 3.0, an HDMI pass-through, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and a redesigned Kinect with a 1080p camera. The company is claiming that it’s so advanced, it can read your heartbeat while you’re exercising. That’s a hell of a claim, though. If it’s true, we’ll eat our words. If not, Microsoft deserves some ridicule.
The Xbox One promises to integrate your cable or satellite box, keeping track of all your shows. The NFL is working with Xbox to bring fans “interactive content”; hopefully, the NHL is paying attention. Apps are given special consideration, presumably to keep up with smartphone computing.
Oh yeah, one more thing: its’ a gaming console.
Xbox One can carry out four times the calculations of the 360, and has about ten times the “animation and depth”. The company is describing the results as “cinematic”, and promises advanced AI. Also, perhaps taking a page out of Team Fortress 2’s playbook, Xbox One records all your recent gameplay, allowing you to share replays— possibly for posterity, but mainly for gloating.
Games announced for Xbox One include Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break, Call of Duty Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Fifa 14, Madden NFL 25, a new UFC fighting game, and Microsoft is promising fifteen exclusives.
Rumours of the Xbox One requiring an “always-on” connection were proven half-true: the system doesn’t require you to be constantly connected, but developers have that ability. Hopefully they won’t, as that would cause us Canadians a bit of grief, given that we overpay for our slow internet.
There are two other pieces of bad news: the system isn’t backward compatible, and second-hand games will have an activation fee. The lack of backward compatibility is fairly understandable, given the differences in underlying architecture between the 360 and the Xbox One. The second piece of news is considerably more annoying; are we supposed to pay to lend our games to friends now? Of course, Steam already has tighter DRM than that, but they probably get away with it because of their numerous sales and great deals; consumers will tolerate DRM, so long the games are cheap.
More is coming in the next few weeks, and Microsoft will have a keynote at E3 (June 11-13), but right now there is one big remaining question: What is the price?
In the mean time, we’ll be watching Bethesda’s page. Waiting for Fallout 4 news. Anytime, guys.
Dave Robson is the editor of DailyXY. He spends his time reading books, drinking Scotch, and smoking cigars.