Microsoft unveils the next Xbox: Xbox One - What they said and what it means!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Yes, Christina and I will be working on another Xbox book!While we had a previous poll and some thoughts and speculation on the next Xbox here at Armchair Arcade (among many other thoughts from staff and other commenters), it's now time to discuss the reality from today's #XboxReveal, with Microsoft the last of the three to play its next generation hand. As you no doubt already know, Nintendo's Wii U is struggling mightily, while Sony's PS4 has a lot of positive buzz so far and will be released around the same time as the new Xbox (Xbox One). With all that said, let's take a look at what was just unveiled.

Microsoft Xbox OneMicrosoft Xbox One- They're calling it the Xbox One. This name was on no one's radar that I was aware of. They're definitely taking a page from smartphones, tablets, and Nintendo's playbooks with a name like that. It's not necessarily awful. It's one of those "safe" names, though, and not exactly inspirational. It's clear they think they have gamers in the bag with a name like that. That name is for the non-gamers out there.

- A next generation Kinect comes with it.

- Both the console and new Kinect are very boxy, which is clearly a conscious design decision to fit in with the flat modern interface UI of Windows Phone and Windows 8 (and now this system). At the same time, they're also quite shiny (black), so it's an interesting look.

- The Xbox One is designed to pass through and integrate with your TV experience seamlessly.

- The Xbox One interface is very much like Windows Phone and Windows 8. This should work well for a TV, big screen experience.

- Say, "Xbox on" and the Xbox One immediately takes over your TV. That's the "always on" angle that was causing many people angst.

- The Xbox One has instant switching between TV, game, music, Internet, etc. Very fast!

- It has a Windows 8-style window snap mode, so you can put something on the side while doing something else. For instance, watch a movie, then snap a browser window to the side. Multitasking is front and center.

- Skype HD is built-in. With the always on integration, this could really make video calling faster and easier than ever.

- You can say, "Xbox, ESPN," for instance, and it will go immediately to that channel. Presumably this is using some type of IR blaster to control your cable box, though it's possible there may be some deeper integration. Certain channels or events will have deeper integration, for instance, with sports, you might be able to pull up live stats.

- The Xbox One Guide provides rich access to current TV listings. Again, when showing this, they're showing how quickly everything switches. As users of the Wii U know, any type of lag can be a killer, so if this is how quickly it works in reality, it's a killer feature.

- It's supposed to be virtually silent when running. We'll see, but this is obviously important for something always on.

- The new Kinect's voice features are now more conversational and supports multiple family members.

- The new Kinect's tracking appears nearly one-to-one, which is a big step up from the original Kinect.

- One of the Xbox 360's killer features was its excellent controller. It looks like this winning design was iterated on and improved, but not changed dramatically for the Xbox One. That's probably a good thing. So the three main control methods are controller, Kinect, and smartglass (the second screen stuff for smartphones and tablets that few people use). Kinect is supposed to recognize when you (specifically you) pick up the controller and resumes your specific saved game, as an example. Nice. The more seamless moving between the control schemes, the better.

- Xbox LIVE has the same membership structure. All content is stored in the cloud, including your games, making them available from anywhere. We'll see what that means in reality, as there may be some type of PS4-level real-time streaming going on.

- Bluray is there. USB 3.0. 500GB hard drive. Etc. All the usual next gen hardware bullet points (at least in terms of Sony's PS4).

- EA recently lost interest in the Wii U. Not surprisingly, EA had a big presence at Microsoft's event. EA was making a big deal about a new type of technological core for their games, which may have played into deciding not to support the Wii U. This stuff might simply require PS4/Xbox One/PC-level power and it may not make sense to do separate products for the Wii U considering its present sales pace.

- There appears to be some type of instant social sharing like Sony's PS4 will have.

- Microsoft is pushing transmedia for Halo (their one major property). Halo will be a television series, but there is a hint that the integration will go a big deeper.

- As a demonstration of the Xbox One's integration, they were showing a live NFL broadcast running alongside a fantasy football app, while also running a video chat between friends. If it gets used, it will be a fun social experience. That's a big if, though.

Now some will criticize that they didn't show enough games (though there was a major Call of Duty announcement), but that's what E3 next month is for, plus, it's the quality of these other, non-game features that will arguably make or break the system long-term. We already know it will feature and play certain types of games and that the system has a certain amount of power. It's what's done with that power (and, as the Wii U proves, what comes out consistently post launch) that will ultimately matter. In any case, the event was short, but overall pretty sweet. It's now up to E3 for us to see all the other stuff, like launch date (beyond later this year), pricing, major games (they're promising "exclusives", etc.). We just have a few more weeks to wait.

What are your thoughts?

(Check out some additional features, updates, and links to more photos here, here, and here)

Comments

Nathaniel Tolbert
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counter counter :)

Bill Loguidice wrote:

All you have to do to "take your game to your friend's house" is log into your account on your friend's console. It's not really a big deal and in many ways more convenient. The camera thing is being "forced upon us" because the technology is finally to the point where it's practical to do so. You don't create sales by leaving out features.

Logging in is fine and dandy when you are playing together, but now you cannot let a friend borrow a game because he can't log into your account after you are gone, unless you want to violate the TOS for the machine and possibly get banned. Just because a technology is at a point to make it practical to use doesn't mean it should be so. Also by looking around at the various comments about the XBox One, leaving out the Kinect 2 would have created sales.

Bill Loguidice wrote:
I like the idea of something like that always being ready. Quite frankly I DO find it frustrating to have to switch between components. If it's always there, always available and without hassle, I'll use its features more.

That's fine, but if you do not see that as inherently lazy, then I don't know what to tell you. And I was specifically pointing out the console, not my AV System. It's not so difficult as to reach out and press a button to turn on a game system, and I don't know any other way to say that.

Bill Loguidice wrote:
I'd be MORE concerned about Google Glass if I were a paranoid person. You say it's OK because it's restricted to public places, but public places include bathrooms, locker rooms, swimming areas, places where you kiss or hold hands, people who accidentally expose body parts, creeps who follow women, etc. It makes it VERY easy to capture everything, even moreso than a smartphone. With that said, personally, I'm NOT concerned. Again, I don't want to hinder technology based on all the "what ifs," then we'd never make any advancements. We deal with it as the actual issues - not imagined issues - arise.

I never said I was okay with Google Glass, just that I am less concerned with the privacy issues that arise from it than having a camera inside my home where I do personal things. You do realize that almost 60% of the public places in the United States have CCTV used on them, correct? Most places you go, you are being recorded and watched regularly. I have less problem with Google Glass in public because, 1. I'm not doing anything private. 2. I'm already being recorded by 2-3 CCTV's so a closer picture of me for perusal doesn't bother me. The anticipation is by 2020 that 100% of public places will be CCTV'd and that includes public bathrooms. I don't believe that includes stalls, but who knows at this point. I don't like the idea of a camera in my living room watching everything I do when I'm in there. That is the central room of my house and I work on client computers on a workbench there, and a camera on me recording what I do can be a violation of contract for my clients as several have proprietary software that is not allowed for public viewing. There is no other place to set up my workbench currently. And your comment of dealing with actual issues instead of imagined issues as they arise is too little too late. There is being proactive and reactive. Proactive is better in almost every case. Dealing with issues and correcting them before they become issues is the correct way to deal with them. Not wait until they become a problem and then fix them. Then you really never get ahead.

Bill Loguidice wrote:
All those Microsoft servers are a good thing. Cloud computing has a very important place and the idea that they'll be able to offload processing and other advanced functions in the future to bring us better games on the same old box is an exciting proposition, one that the PS4 will also benefit from. We thought this console generation was long, well, this next one could be even longer (though I don't know where Nintendo will fit into there, because the Wii U is already suffering).

And yet, the Wii U sales raised quite seriously after the release announcement of the XBox One - http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Xbox-One-Poor-Reception-Blasts-Wii-U-Sa...
There are multiple websites that indicate an increase in Wii U Sales - In the UK alone there was an 875% sales increase for the Wii U console since the XB1 announcement. That does not indicate consumer appreciation of the new features in the XB1. Cloud computing is not the end all be all of forward computer technology. There are too many issues with it currently such as the fact that as of right now, customers have no recourse with a company if that company loses all of the customers saved data. Next, as shown with the Google Cloud service, one well placed power outage and the whole network goes down, when the Cloud servers were hit in Scotland last summer. There are too many what ifs and not enough solids with what they are trying to do. And the twitter war is so heavily against the XBox One at 88% to PS4 and a mere 12% to the XB1 would showcase that I am not in the minority when I regard the previous issues as suspect.

Also, please understand that I am not attacking you or criticizing. I am just pointing out that there are issues and that the concerns people have are not just them being paranoid. People are legitimately concerned with the Kinect 2 and the always on aspect. They should also be concerned about the PS4 because the PS Eye is standard and it works the same way. I am very much enjoying this conversation. But I think we can agree that we disagree on this subject.

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Bill Loguidice
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Let's put the "sale increase"

Let's put the "sale increase" for the Wii U in the same perspective we put the bump in stock price for Sony and Nintendo... Any increase for the Wii U - particularly in the UK where it has sold the worst - will represent a huge bump. In terms of the stock price, it's common for the announcing company to see a drop and its competitors to see a bump. These are blips. I've looked for every which way the Wii U can increase sales in each of the various territories and I just don't see a positive outcome based on Nintendo's options. It will be within 10,000 units each month of awful, positive or negative.

There are certainly many factors that we've discussed and dissected ad naseum for the Wii U's lack of success, but one such factor is the lack of buy in by the general public (read: interest) on the system's hook/gimmick, namely the touchscreen gamepad. This was no repeat of the sales busting motion controls from the original Wii. Similarly, Microsoft's hook will make or break the system. Let's face it, this announcement was NOT targeted to us gamers (they'll target us at E3 for better or worse). Everything from the name of the console to its interaction with cable/satellite to the inclusion of the next generation of Kinect was expressly targeted to the larger market (it's that same market that bought the original Kinect in droves, and that was far less capable than this one). Us gamers will buy the thing regardless if the right games are there, the other features are what will appeal (or not) to the broader consumer market. That's what will ultimately make or break all three of these systems. I think the Wii U has already failed that test, but Nintendo has been counted out incorrectly before, so it's not necessarily a given (I do err on the side of it being a failure due to lack of software and no hope to change that). For success in today's market you need to reach the masses that the original Wii reached, particularly since there's competition now from many more platforms (smartphone, tablet, set top box, and a revitalized PC) than there were when the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii first hit. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. As I've been saying, I don't think either the PS4 or Xbox One will have issues selling well through the holiday. It's their momentum in the new year that will likely determine their fates, much like the lack of momentum the Wii U had going into 2013.

I understand there's a LOT of negativity out there right now regarding the Xbox One, but then the most vocal are always the most critical. Those noisy gamers will be won over (or not) with the right games. Maybe that will change come E3. We'll see.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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The revitalized PC

Your comment about competition regarding a revitalized PC brings up another question regarding the next generation of consoles. Why buy a console with it's DRM, and always online, and no sharing, fixed frame rates and low resolution? Aside from console exclusives (which have been on the XBOX pretty much halo or gears of war type games. And Forza, which is an excellent racing game) most next generation games I have read about are coming on the computer as well, and for something that is supposed to be generations behind the new consoles they all talk about enhanced graphics and special features for the PC as well. So why get a console if the computer does everything just as well? I don't know. There are some games that just work better in my opinion with a controller. It's why I have an Xbox 360 wireless adapter for my computer.

When it comes to the Wii U, increasing sales is pretty simple to point at as this - It needs more great games. It needs more games period. The fact that on average only 1 or 2 games are coming out every month is really dampening sales. You don't buy a console if it doesn't have games. There are games coming. They keep telling us that, and they just keep telling us that, but the question for most consumers is when? Pikmin 3 was originally a launch title. It's slated for August now. Rayman Legends (or Origins? Cannot remember) was a launch title, now it's slated for September or October. There aren't enough games right now to justify the purchase of it, because almost all of the games are multi platform and very few are better on the Wii U. Mass Effect 3 with all of the frame drops and lags. Batman Armored Edition, which makes the characters look ghastly, as well as the frame rate dropping desperately low, even though it looks no better than the 360 version which was lauded graphics wise. Need for Speed apparently is the best looking and runs the most fluidly on the Wii U when it comes to consoles. There are great games, make no mistake. The Fist of the Northstar game which can only be purchased (here in Kansas that is) in the eStore is tons of fun. ZombiU is the type of Horror Survival game I've have been clamoring for, dangerous difficult and truly scary. NintendoLand does lots of things right when it comes to mini games and the throwing star game alone is a ton of fun. I also like the Archery game with Link.* On Amazon the Wii U went from a sales position of 390 to 40 - That is top sales for Amazon. That is a lot to get to the Top 40. We don't know the numbers, but increasing their sales at all is good for Nintendo. The main thing I've run into lately is that the games I want to play on my Wii U are 3DS games. Which I don't own.

I think it a bit presumptuous to say than any console maker is out for this generation yet. Nintendo has yet to release any of its' really big selling titles, I think they're holding those back to help spoil the PS4 and XB1 release. Also, just a quick question, why are both the PS4 and the XB1 boxes with vent grills on them? Straight edges and 90 angles after the last generation just seems backwards thinking. I showed a picture of the XB1 to my wife and her comment was 'oh when did they start making VCR's again?' I then informed her it was the new XBox and she said 'Well that will stick out like a sore thumb in our living room.' My mom thought it was a big clunky looking DVD player. God, I really feel like a grumpy old man.

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Bill Loguidice
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Nathaniel Tolbert wrote:
I think it a bit presumptuous to say than any console maker is out for this generation yet. Nintendo has yet to release any of its' really big selling titles, I think they're holding those back to help spoil the PS4 and XB1 release. Also, just a quick question, why are both the PS4 and the XB1 boxes with vent grills on them? Straight edges and 90 angles after the last generation just seems backwards thinking. I showed a picture of the XB1 to my wife and her comment was 'oh when did they start making VCR's again?' I then informed her it was the new XBox and she said 'Well that will stick out like a sore thumb in our living room.' My mom thought it was a big clunky looking DVD player. God, I really feel like a grumpy old man.

I just don't see what will change the Wii U's fortunes. I've thought through every scenario and asked for opinions everywhere, and all I get is "once Nintendo's first party software is released, its fortunes will change." Maybe, but I'm not so sure this time around. Most major third party support is already gone and Nintendo is unable to increase first party software production to more than maybe 4 or 5 titles a year max, plus it seems that in regards to that, they're fixated on rehashes and HD remakes. Normally, that would be just fine, but they've gone to that well ad infinitum for their systems for many years now and I think you reach a point of diminishing returns outside of the Nintendo faithful. The Nintendo faithful already bought the system, the key is to reach the rest of the buyers, something the Wii had no issue with. How will the Wii U appeal to everyone else now? I don't see how.

The designs for both Xbox One and PS4 do seem rather extreme, but I think that's for effect. Maybe it will be the kind of thing that will grow on us? It's definitely conscious.

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gilgamesh
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Somebody's watching me

Bill Loguidice wrote:

You also need the console always on and listening/watching since that's the whole point of the thing. It's ready at any time to act on your commands. If you don't like that idea, you don't buy it, plain and simple. It's like all the privacy critics of Google Glass. Oh, my privacy. To me, it's ridiculous. Let technology progress and we can deal with the issues on-the-fly rather than belly aching about all this stuff before any of it is out and in use in the real world. It's sadly human nature to always jump to the worst case scenario with this stuff.

Ok, fair enough. Nobody forces me to buy this stuff.

But then I can't help wondering: Kinect 2 + Cloud + Always On, how could it possibly get any more 1984 than that? MS is in your Skype, checking links from your "private" communications.

I will so be advising people against paying that company money to install a camera (however accurate) in their living rooms, even if their teenage offspring will make their lives living hell after Christmas.

Bill Loguidice
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Over the top...

gilgamesh wrote:

I will so be advising people against paying that company money to install a camera (however accurate) in their living rooms, even if their teenage offspring will make their lives living hell after Christmas.

You may want to be careful with such advice, as your threshold for supposed privacy may be different than someone else's. You also have to be careful that such a stance is absolutely consistent with all devices, be it a cell phone, PC, or any other device. It's a slippery slope. Anything that's connected to a network can track what we do with increasing accuracy.

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gilgamesh
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Halo? Shut up and take my money!

At least I can make more or less informed decisions while the vast majority of potential ONE customers simply have no clue what they get themselves into.

Bill Loguidice
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Human nature

gilgamesh wrote:
At least I can make more or less informed decisions while the vast majority of potential ONE customers simply have no clue what they get themselves into.

That's true of anyone purchasing anything, though, particularly anything of a technological nature. Very few people make informed decisions about things. There's no time to be informed about everything, mostly just what we're genuinely interested in.

I also agree though that like any type of fanboy, be it a Nintendo fanboy, Sony fanboy, MS fanboy, etc., if a key title is released, they'll be drawn to it like flies. That's part of the business model for sure.

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Mark Vergeer
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Slippery slope arguments

gilgamesh wrote:

I will so be advising people against paying that company money to install a camera (however accurate) in their living rooms, even if their teenage offspring will make their lives living hell after Christmas.

Bill Loguidice wrote:
You may want to be careful with such advice, as your threshold for supposed privacy may be different than someone else's. You also have to be careful that such a stance is absolutely consistent with all devices, be it a cell phone, PC, or any other device. It's a slippery slope. Anything that's connected to a network can track what we do with increasing accuracy.

In a discussion on ethics the slippery slope argument needs to be diffused as an informal fallacy one should not ignore the possibility of the middle ground. A cell phone can be turned off, a PC can be too, other network devices as well. We as people can choose to do so or not do so. People can opt to use a fully functional cell phone without cameras, they are not required for the device to function, same goed for the PC and other networked devices. Microphones and cameras can be switched off.

The Xbox Kinect 2 is designed to be always on, watching, listening and hooked up onto the interwebs where such a choice is not possible and where the company's use of common sense and respect of privacy is as much a topic of discussion as the rest. The combination of the filed patents, the technical capabilities, the needs of the befriended media industry and the behaviors of governments and companies coming to light that seem to be willing to do almost anything for the person's information and money - puts fuel on the fiery discussion. Be it in the name of safety or commercial gain...

I don't want a device that I can't turn off. I don't need a device that needs the cloud or Internet all the time or most of the time. Why? not because I have something to hide but because I truly don't want 1984 to happen 30 years late... Because my government is in the process of passing a bill that will make it possible for the authorities to go to my phone, computer or other Internet / network connected device and turn it on and use it to gather information - even when no criminal offenses are committed. To make it possible to manipulate (install software, transform or delete files) the contents of these devices and alter their functions with the purpose of gathering data that is 'for the greater good'.

Now that middle ground, where's that? It seems to vanish if we aren't carful...

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clok1966
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I must say Im with nathan on

I must say Im with nathan on this.. but do 100% understand where Bill is coming from, that's why its so hard, I "get" both sides, but am on one side. We have kicked and screamed our way into new tech.. there is always a reason to not want it (real or imagined) and often.. we point out what "could be done" but isnt.. I maybe shouldn't be so concerned.. Bill has a wait and see, some of it could be quite good, I have taken this approuch with MS and Windows.. I hate many of its features, but it is.. "the standard" most of the world uses, you either use it and stay quiet, or use it and bitch.. but still use it.. I'm to the point i just use it (and still bitch here and there.. but my mighty novel length posts on it are all but gone, I just use it nowdays)..
If we don't allow changes in tech to happen we will never advance. I have no doubt whatsoever some of the stuff MS is doing that IM "HELL BENT AGAINST" will in a few years be wonderful stuff I love.. But as sure as I am of that, some of the changes are going to be "why the hell did I buy into that crap" too..

again i have concerns ont he stuff there just is "no reason" to do IN MY MIND.. the privacy stuff doesnt bother me much.. but ic an understand why that might be a way bigger consern then mine.. Mine is still how they are handling games.. I just cant see who MS expects us to never sell games (and no that is not how they put it, YES YOU CAN, they just have to pay US not you or gamestop) they have eliminated, renting, used games, tradeing games.. I buy madden 13 and hate it, I cant return it.. in the old days of floppies i could MESS IT UP (virus, delete data, add data) but i cant do that with CD/DVD's. that is one the game companies have already screwed us on.. YOU CANT PURCHASE A GAME and return it if its crap.. that are almost no products like that except stuff food, parts that can be installed wrong and damaged (elctrical parts).. You used to be able to copy.. that is pretty much gone today too.. there is no reason to not be able to return a game anymore.. BUT that will never change, even if the reason it was done is gone, its just the way it is now.. its good for companies, bad for consumers.. And a reason Im so worried about bad changes for consumers now.. They can talk about pirating and getting devs money all day long.. but i dont care how you spin it.. its GREED, again USED sales have been around since day one.. but only recently with it getting to be harder and harder to pirate, people have turned to legit USED games to get deals.. All the sudden they say :we are not getting that money too!, we got the original LIST PRICE we wanted to start, but somebody else is takin he risk of a scratched game, or a shitty game that wont sell again, and buying it,, buyt we are not getting hte money! its just a new revenue stream they didnt invent and want a cut of... adn in the end it hurts consumers..

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