Expect Microsoft’s Xbox One This Holiday Season
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Microsoft is going out on top. After eight years, the Xbox 360 — which is currently the top selling video game system for the 28th consecutive month according to retail tracking firm NPD Group —is finally being replaced. While the Xbox 360 system won´t exactly be put out to pasture for a little while, this holiday season will see the arrival of the Xbox One, which Microsoft promises will usher in a new generation of games, TV and entertainment.
The new system was unveiled at an event at Microsoft´s Redmond campus on Tuesday a mere three weeks in advance of its June Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press conference in Los Angeles.
The system, which is a bit boxier than the past systems has the appearance of set-top box devices like a TiVo. It also offers some of the same functionality and promises to be much more than a gaming machine. In fact, Microsoft maybe looking beyond gaming in the future, which is hardly surprising given that the entire video game industry has been in a bit of a slump this year.
Nintendo´s Wii U hasn´t exactly been blowing the doors off the retail market, and even game publishing giant Electronic Arts seems worried and has stopped developing games for the system.
So it is no surprise that Microsoft is considering multifunctionality for the Xbox One. At its event on Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new partnership to bring exclusive content to Xbox Live via Skype and SmartGlass technologies. This SmartGlass technology automatically pairs the game console with compatible smartphones and tablets so that those portable devices can interact with the TV as a remote control.
Moreover, the Xbox On is clearly going to be intended as much as a set top box as a gaming console, and could deliver a variety of content including a new Halo live-action TV series to be produced by Steven Spielberg and which will, of course, be exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem.
This isn´t to say that the system won´t still be a powerful gaming machine. The Xbox One will feature 8 GB of system memory, support a 500 GB hard drive and offer something that the Xbox 360 never delivered — a Blu-ray drive. In addition, while it will offer gamers plenty of onboard storage, the Xbox One will offer game developers the ability to access Microsoft´s Azure cloud computing platform.
Thanks in part to this cloud support, the Xbox One should be able to provide dedicated servers for multiplayer matches, with reports already emerging that the console could host matches for 64 or even 128 players rather than just the typical 16 to 32-player limits.
The system will also offer USB 3.0 and HDMI connections, while also offering voice connectivity options where commands can be delivered conversationally. The game system´s controller will feature what Microsoft claims to be 40 design innovations, many of which are used to enhance ergonomics and control precision in a newly designed D-pad.
The Xbox One will also feature built-in Kinect functionality, including the ability to monitor the user´s heartbeat while working out. The built-in 1080p camera also reportedly enlarges the sensor file by as much as 60 percent and captures video at 60 frames per second, making it ideal for games as well as Skype video calls.
As for actual games, Micosoft´s Phil Spencer said during Tuesday´s event hat 15 games are in development and will arrive within the first year of the release for the new system. Eight of these are entirely new intellectual properties.