Have you been left exhausted by the information overdrive regarding the new Xbox One last night? Us too.
Thankfully we’ve distilled the whole thing down to a handy list that covers the basics of everything we – and in some instances don’t – know:
- It’s called Xbox One.
- That’s because it is designed as an ‘all-in-one’ device.
- It combines next-gen games playback with Xbox Live apps and a mix of new TV services.
- It will be released in Q4 this year.
- No, we don’t know how much it costs or the exact release date yet.
- A new Kinect comes with each console.
- The new Kinect features a 1080p camera with expanded field of view.
- Kinect’s software has been updated for better body tracking.
- In fact Kinect can track details so finely it can monitor your heartrate for fitness games, Microsoft says.
- The Kinect microphone has also been improved with advanced noise isolation.
- The console will not run with Kinect unplugged.
- The Xbox controller has also been updated, with 40 purported tweaks – and a new look.
- Joypad improvements include a new directional pad, new thumbsticks and ergonomic design.
- New rumble means even the triggers on the game pad vibrate.
- It uses Blu-ray discs.
- The new design of the chasis means it can only be laid horizontal.
- Underneath the bonnet there is an eight-core, x86 processor plus 8GB of RAM.
- Xbox One runs three operating systems: the Xbox OS, a version of Windows, and a bridge between them.
- The mix of operating systems and the high-speed hardware means users can seamlessly switch between functions such as Internet Explorer and watching TV.
- Something called ‘Snap’ lets you run two such apps or functions at once – such as playing a multiplayer game while watching a film.
- If you say ‘Xbox On’ the machine goes to a personalised home screen for you.
- Voice recognition software will learn from what you say and improve over time.
- But voice functionality won’t be available in all languages – just those supported (with more presumably added over time).
THE TV ELEMENTS
- With a HDMI feed from other set-top-boxes or cable providers, Xbox One can act as a TV guide and live television service.
- This function will not necessarily be immediately available in the UK, however – it will launch in the US first, and requires a separate device.
- The OneGuide is a new electronic programme guide that can be controlled via voice or used to create playlists of favourite TV shows.
- ‘Trending’ functions will track what TV shows are popular on Xbox Live. Although this too will be a US-only feature at launch.
- As part of its push into TV, Microsoft has teamed up with Steven Spielberg to produce a Halo TV show, presumably broadcast through Xbox Live.
- Microsoft has also scored a deal with the US’ NFL to offer interactive sports TV exclusive to Xbox One.
NEW XBOX LIVE
- Xbox Live has been improved for Xbox One.
- Downloaded games can be installed in segments so you can play them faster
- It has background update downloads.
- Game saves and profiles, plus entertainment content (music, movies or TV shows) you buy are saved in the cloud.
- Membership from Xbox Live Gold for 360 will transfer over to Xbox One.
- Your gamerscore and achievements will also carry over to Xbox One’s version of Xbox Live.
- In fact the achievements system is being expanded: it now records what you do and adds new achievements and objectives over time.
- But some elements of the existing Xbox Live – such as avatars – will NOT be transferred over to Xbox One.
- The in-built game DVR records your gameplay and saves footage to the cloud, complete with sharing tools.
- Competitive elements mean other players can compete against your ‘shadow’ and tracked performance.
- Smart Match is a new matchmaking tool that aims to eliminate waiting for multiplayer games to start.
- Skype has also been redesigned for Xbox One to take advantage of Kinect and HD TVs, plus it allows for group calls.
- Microsoft unveiled two new first-party titles: sequel Forza 5 and new IP Quantum Break from Alan Wake creator Remedy.
- Quantum Break mixes TV footage with gameplay, with the two promising to interact and change depending on how you watch or play.
- There are another 13 first-party games in the works, 7 of them are new IPs.
- Microsoft says it is investing more than ever in first-party development and has more titles in development than at any other time in its history.
- EA unveiled four sports games at the event: FIFA 14, Madden, NBA live and the new UFC.
- All are powered by a new next-gen engine, called EA Instinct.
- FIFA 14 Ultimate Team will have exclusive game modes on Xbox One.
- Activision closed the reveal event with the first public look at Call of Duty: Ghosts.
- Microsoft and Activision have also renewed their agreement for Xbox owners to get Call of Duty DLC and competition content first.
THE THORNY POINTS
- All software needs to be installed to the device.
- Xbox One does not require an ‘always on’ connection. But regular connection to check updates and software licences is required.
- Cloud functionality will track which licences for which software players own.
- It is not backwards compatible.
- It is not expressly designed to block pre-owned.
- But it might implement a system where publishers can control the pre-owned sale of their games, or charge for fees to activate used games.