The successor to the Xbox 360 is called Xbox One and it will be launched globally this year, Microsoft has confirmed.
It will be cloud powered and aim to become the “ultimate all in one home entertainment system,” said Xbox boss Don Mattrick at the reveal event today. It will come with a new Kinect sensor and “talk to all of the devices on your living room,” said Microsoft’s Yusuf Medhi, who demonstrated the new console’s voice recognition and Kinect capabilities live on stage.
A feature Microsoft is calling ‘Instant switching’ will allow users to switch between watching TV, movies, games and other entertainment with a new set of universal Kinect gestures. A new Xbox One controller was revealed, too – you can see all of the official Xbox One hardware images here. Microsoft also released shots of the new dash.
Skype is built into the new console, and will enable group video calls through your TV. It is, as expected, Microsoft’s play for the all-in-one box under your TV, with an Xbox One TV guide central to the system. The new hardware was described in vague terms as “connected and ready” – Xbox One was later confirmed to require an internet connection, and game installs will be mandatory.
The new Kinect sensor has been completely redesigned to adapt to the user, able to sense the user’s subtlest movements. The new ‘traditional’ controller has a redesigned D-pad, and SmartGlass is also a pivotal part of the new system. The three input methods – Kinect, the controller and SmartGlass are all designed to speak to each other.
The amply sized black console will boast an 8-core CPU, 8 gigs of system memory, native 64-bit architecture, 500 GB hard drive, 802.11n wireless with wi-fi direct, HDMI in/out, USB 3.0 and PC-like x86 architecture.
But Microsoft was careful to point out that the console is just one part of a powerful hardware trifecta that includes a newly revamped controller (“40 new design innovations” and newly designed d-pad), and next-generation Kinect sensor with 1080p wider field of view. Kinect has a new proprietary time of flight amounting to 2GB of data per second, a benchmark that Microsoft referred to as “rocket-science level stuff”.
Though people’s Xbox Live subscriptions will carry over seamlessly to the Xbox’s next-gen hardware, this isn’t the same Xbox Live. Microsoft has teased dedicated game DVR which will add video sharing and editing functionality akin to the PlayStation 4’s share button options. Content will be more accessible than ever before thanks to cloud storage. And Microsoft claimed that dedicated data centres will enhance what developers are able to do with online functionality in their games, “creating living and persistent worlds.” You can watch various Microsoft execs hyping the new console further below.
EA’s Andrew Wilson took to the stage to reveal from described a “broad strategic partnership” between EA Sports and Microsoft. Wilson confirmed that FIFA, Madden, NBA Live and UFC games are in development for Xbox One and will launch in the next twelve months. The next gen games will be powered by EA Sports’ new game engine, Ignite. EA Sports also confirmed that FIFA 14′s Ultimate Team mode will be exclusive to Xbox One.
Next, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer showcased Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 5 running on Xbox One. The new racer will be a launch game, and Spencer added that more will be revealed at E3 2013. You can see the first shots from Forza Motorsport 5 on Xbox One here, and the first video footage here.
Spencer concluded by stating that Microsoft Studios has more titles in development now than at any other time in its history, and Xbox One would host 15 exclusive games its first year. Eight of those are brand new franchises.
Former CBS and Warner Bros executive Nancy Tellem then stepped up to outline Microsoft’s vision for interactive TV. Microsoft’s Studios in LA, Seattle, Vancouver and London are all working on a variety of interactive entertainment projects, she said.
The biggest news in this regard was Microsoft’s plans for the Halo series. Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross revealed that it is working on a live action TV show, and then introduced Steven Spielberg, who is working with the platform holder on the series. The film director described the Halo TV series as “an amazing opportunity” and the chance to “produce something really ground-breaking.”
A partnership with NFL will bring live sports, interactive fantasy team functionality and exclusive content to Xbox One, Don Mattrick added, before introducing Activision’s Eric Hirshberg and Call Of Duty: Ghosts. As he left the stage, Mattrick added that as with previous titles, all DLC for Call Of Duty: Ghosts will launched first on Xbox One.
Ghosts was described by Hirshberg as the most ”character-driven and emotionally engaging” Call of Duty game yet, and that Activision has enlisted Hollywood scriptwriter Stephen Ganghan to write the story. There are more details and two new trailers in our Call Of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox One story here.