Today Microsoft announced the Xbox One console as “the ultimate all-in-one gaming and home entertainment system”! With a worldwide launch set for late 2013.
At Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washingtom U.S.A., and via a global livestream on Xbox.com, the company showcased how Xbox One puts you at the center of all your games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype.
First we have the introduction to the Xbox One. This is the unveil video for the Xbox One, showcasing the console, the new Kinect sensor and the new Xbox One controller, as well as the new experiences that will be coming with Xbox One, including the personal homescreen, cinematic gaming, Live TV and Skype. Welcome to a new generation of games and entertainment.
Watch the Xbox One Unveil Video:
While today’s presentation clearly focused on the mainstream audience Microsoft hopes to reach with the new console that includes TV cable box integration, more details about Xbox One and blockbuster games will be explored at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.
Xbox One will have 15 exclusive games in the first year after its launch, 8 of these exclusive titles will be brand new frachises.
Next, Xbox executives Yusuf Mehdi, Phil Spencer, and Marc Whitten discuss how Xbox built the all-in-one games and entertainment system for today and the decade ahead — Xbox One.
Watch the Xbox Executives Discuss Xbox One Video:
“Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device,” said Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Our unique, modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and, for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment.”
What follows is a huge overview of all the details Microsoft had to share about the Xbox One!
Introducing Xbox One
With Xbox One, games push the boundaries of realism, and TV obeys your commands. Say “Xbox On” to launch your personalized Xbox One Home screen, discover what is popular on TV or see friends’ latest gaming achievements all using the most natural interface — your voice. The more you interact with Xbox One, the more it gets to know you and learns what you like. Some of the breakthrough Xbox One features that put you at the center of your living room entertainment include the following:
• TV on Xbox One – Navigate and watch live TV from your cable, telco or satellite set-top box through your Xbox One. Microsoft is committed to bringing live TV through various solutions to all the markets where Xbox One will be available.
• Home – Turn on your entertainment system with two powerful words, “Xbox On,” and a custom-tailored Home dashboard welcomes you with your favorite games, TV and entertainment.
• Snap – Do two things at once on the biggest screen in your home. Use Snap to jump into a multiplayer battle while watching your favorite movie, talk with friends on Skype while watching live TV, or track your fantasy team on TV as you watch the big game and more.
• Skype for Xbox One – Specially designed for Xbox One, talk with friends on your TV in stunning HD, or for the first time ever, hold group Skype calls on your TV.
• Trending – Stay on top of what is hot on TV by discovering the entertainment that is popular among your friends, and see what is trending within the Xbox community.
• OneGuide – Find your favorite entertainment easily, searching by network, name or time, all with the sound of your voice and presented in a tailored program guide.
To create the most advanced Xbox system ever designed for games, TV and entertainment, Microsoft created a state-of-the-art gaming operating system and fused it with an equally amazing entertainment platform, so you will not have to switch inputs to watch TV or play a game. An eight-core, x86 processor and more than 5 billion transistors helps make lag and load times a thing of the past, so you can instantly jump between a game and your entertainment at lightning speed or run a host of apps right alongside your game with no loss in performance.
Introducing Xbox One titles and exclusives
Gaming on Xbox One immerses gamers in cinematic worlds that look like real life, with characters that feel more human than ever before. AAA blockbuster titles unveiled for Xbox One include the following:
• “Forza Motorsport 5” from Turn 10 Studios is the latest edition of the highest-rated racing franchise of the past 10 years.3 Built from the ground up to take advantage of Xbox One and the infinite power of the cloud, no game better delivers the sensation of being behind the wheel. “Forza Motorsport 5” sets a new bar for racing games and will be available exclusively for Xbox One at launch.
• “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is the next generation of “Call of Duty” and a stunning leap forward for the franchise. It delivers an all-new world, an all-new cast of characters and an all-new story, built on a new, next-generation engine. The next-generation technical innovations built to support the incredible gameplay advancements make this the most beautiful and immersive “Call of Duty” experience yet. Activision and Microsoft also announced the renewal of their close partnership that will see both the return of the “Call of Duty® Championship,” presented by Xbox, as well as all-new downloadable content debuting first and exclusively on the Xbox platform.
• “FIFA 14,” “Madden NFL 25,” “NBA LIVE 14,” and “EA Sports UFC” from EA Sports will change the way consumers experience and play sports games. Driven by the new EA Sports Ignite engine, these new EA SPORTS games will deliver massive innovations in human intelligence, true player motion and living worlds. Adding to its commitment to Xbox One, EA Sports also announced the promise of exclusive content to be revealed in the coming months.
• “Quantum Break” from Remedy Entertainment is a revolutionary entertainment experience from the creators of “Max Payne” and “Alan Wake” that blurs the line between gaming and TV by integrating drama and gameplay into one seamless, uniquely immersive experience. How you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game.
In addition to the lineup of games coming to Xbox One, Microsoft unveiled exclusive content partnerships with some of the top names in TV, sports and entertainment.
• “Halo” television series – Award-winning filmmaker, director and producer, Steven Spielberg will executive-produce an original “Halo” live-action television series with exclusive interactive Xbox One content, created in partnership with 343 Industries and Xbox Entertainment Studios.
National Football League – A multiyear, landmark partnership will deliver the ultimate interactive NFL television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One and leverage Microsoft devices and services to evolve both in-game and on the sideline. The NFL on Xbox will redefine broadcast experiences through innovations around Skype, Xbox SmartGlass and player-worn technology; add an all-new fantasy football solution for the biggest screen in the house; and create a personalized NFL destination only available on Xbox One.
Introducing a new generation of Xbox Live
Xbox One is built to amplify an all-new generation of Xbox Live that is more powerful, more personal and more intelligent. Unleashing the virtually unlimited power of the cloud makes everything more convenient and accessible, from allowing games to be installed in segments so that gameplay can start quickly to updates downloading in the background. Save and store your personalized profile, games and entertainment in the cloud to access them anytime, from any Xbox One console. In addition, existing Xbox Live Gold Membership for Xbox 360 will
seamlessly carry over to Xbox One. Xbox Live takes you deeper into the games you love with all-new features.
• Smart Match – A new Smart Match matchmaking system virtually eliminates waiting in lobbies by estimating wait times and finding people you want to play with while you are enjoying other activities — reputation fundamentally matters and helps find best matches.
• Game DVR – A dedicated Game DVR captures and accesses your magic moments, all saved to the cloud. Along with sharing tools, you will have the most amazing bragging rights with Xbox Live.
• Living Games – Dynamic, living worlds evolve and improve the more you play, and advanced artificial intelligence can learn to play like you, so friends can play against your shadow.
• Expanded achievements – A new and expanded achievements system captures video of your epic moments, continues to grow a game’s achievements over time and rewards you in new ways, and your Gamerscore carries over from Xbox 360.
• Xbox SmartGlass – Xbox SmartGlass is natively part of the Xbox One platform, built in from the beginning with the ability to quickly render content directly onto your device, and now more devices can connect at one time for multiplayer and shared entertainment.
Introducing the Xbox One look and feel
New Xbox One hardware is sleek and modern and complements any décor. The console is shaped in the 16:9 aspect ratio and employs a horizontal orientation optimized for its high-speed Blu-ray™ disc player. It is molded in a deep and rich liquid black color and includes a distinctive beveled edge.
The completely redesigned, revolutionary 1080p Kinect is more precise, more responsive and more intuitive. Its unparalleled vision, motion and voice technology let you reach into games and entertainment like never before by dramatically expanding its field of view and fidelity. It works in nearly any lighting condition, recognizes precise motion control from a slight wrist rotation, and distinguishes your voice even in a noisy room using advanced noise isolation.
The class-leading Xbox controller is refreshed with more than 40 technical and design innovations. Updated directional pad, thumb stick and ergonomic fit immerse all gamers in ways that are uniquely Xbox, and precision and control have been dramatically increased with all new vibrating impulse triggers. The Xbox One Wireless Controller is designed to work in concert with the new Kinect, allowing the two to be paired automatically to create seamless player syncing.
Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek
Go behind the scenes and get an exclusive peek at how Xbox One was created on the Xbox campus in Redmond, Washington. Lisa Gurry and Major Nelson take you on a tour through various laboratories to see how Xbox One was able to benefit from rapid design innovation in its in-house model shop, extensive testing in its accessories lab, an anechoic chamber used to advance speech recognition in Kinect, and the Xbox Operating Center — the hub of online excellence for Xbox Live.
General Worries About Online Serial Codes and Used Game Sales
About Online Serial Codes: What baffles me about the Xbox Live online features not mentioned here is that each Xbox One game you buy at retail comes with a one-use unique serial code you have to enter (like a CD key license on PC) each time you buy a new game as internet authorization, then each game disc is installed to the console’s hard drive, before you’re actually able to play the game. It may not be always-online DRM, but it’s close. — Nothing was said if this code is still required to be entered as an extra step, if you buy the game’s digital download version on Xbox Live Marketplace.
Playing your game on a friend’s system can only be done if you login using your Xbox Live account, because the game is tied to only your account. If someone else wants to play it they’ll have the pay the full new game price to play your copy.
But that’s not all; To be able to keep playing the games on your Xbox One, the console will have to be connected online at least once every 24 hours. Refuse to do this and you will not be able to use the Xbox One you bought. Microsoft claims this is done so that they can “update” the system software in the background, but what it really means is that they will be checking daily if you didn’t steal the games you bought. Very consumer-friendly system, not, it’s wall after wall of DRM systems.
About Used Games: Here comes the kicker, if you want to sell a used game you can only do this via Microsoft’s marketplace online. Selling at retail was suggested, but will likely involve an additional online confirmation of the exchange. Effectively exchanging the game’s license from your account to the buyer’s account, but details about how this would work are vague at best and at worst would involve the buyer having to pay an extra online fee to get the activation code as the new owner (but that’s just speculation).
At a post-show press event the corporate vice president of Microsoft, Phil Harrison, said: “We will have a solution, which we’re not talking about today, for you to be able to trade your previously-played games online.” Which sounds like Microsoft and the game’s publisher will take a fee out of each used game sale (digital, retail or both?), meaning they now have 100% control over game sales. About 1/3rd of today’s games market is second hand games, since many people can’t afford new game prices, and Microsoft wants a piece of that multi-billion dollar industry even if it risks reducing its size with a fee paywall for used games. — To me this feels like we won’t own any of the Xbox One games anymore, and instead are given permission to register and play the games for a few years until Microsoft stop supporting the console.
Despite all that, the console’s success with the core gamer audience is going to come down to how many great games (especially exclusives) Xbox One can manage to get together. We’ll have to wait until June 10th at Microsoft’s pre-E3 2013 press conference to find out.