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)

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Bill Loguidice
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Microsoft: Xbox One is

Microsoft: Xbox One is designed to support the trade in & resale of games. Reports about our policies are inaccurate http://cnet.co/19aZOCB

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Mark Vergeer
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Unclear communication

Bill Loguidice wrote:
Microsoft: Xbox One is designed to support the trade in & resale of games. Reports about our policies are inaccurate http://cnet.co/19aZOCB

The thing is that what Microsoft does communicate is not very consistent and sometimes even contradicts what was said earlier. They seem to be using various channels of communication for it too only causing more rumors and also attention for their new console. In that regard the Microsoft company may actually think that any attention for their system is good - regardless whether it is positive or negative - as it focuses the attentions of people on their upcoming product. Which may end up being even half decent and less restrictive as some fear it to be.

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clok1966
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just tell us

Mark Vasier wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:
Microsoft: Xbox One is designed to support the trade in & resale of games. Reports about our policies are inaccurate http://cnet.co/19aZOCB

The thing is that what Microsoft does communicate is not very consistent and sometimes even contradicts what was said earlier. They seem to be using various channels of communication for it too only causing more rumors and also attention for their new console. In that regard the Microsoft company may actually think that any attention for their system is good - regardless whether it is positive or negative - as it focuses the attentions of people on their upcoming product. Which may end up being even half decent and less restrictive as some fear it to be.

that's the exact problem im having with all this.. MS says" nope not right" but will not tell us what is right.. Some more vague "it will support used games" that is not what we are all worried about.. we are worried you will charge us more to use them.. Support them.. of course it will, just at a price? All this and not one solid "this is how it works" means (to me), how it works is going to get them so much bad press they simply cant release it now and destroy any momentum they have, or they don't know yet. Im leaning towards the first, they are just to far in to make major changes to how it deals with games, devs and such have to have some fairly concrete ideas by now, especially when it comes to game stores, ad-dons and such which would be very effected by how it works with used games..

I'm used to the threads about one game system and another getting bad talk from fan-boys, but most are defended by said fan-boys of the other side... I have yet to see a forum (andadtech, c-net, 1-UP, etc) where there is any love at all for the new X-box, all the talk is the DRM and such with alot of rage.. normally you have xbox people defending it.. for every 20 bad comment, there is one "wait and see, to soon" even the Xbox people (fans) don't seem to say NO WAY... i have never seen that before.. somebody always loves a system no matter what.. not so this round it "appears".

I must agree.. till we know its all speculation, and again MS could nip this in the bud.. but they dont.. and i just cant get why? Sony has said 'We will allow used games" but they too have not been any more clear.. but they haven't kept saying "your all wrong, but we don't want to tell you what is right". I think they are probably going to (or were) do the same as MS.. but the STORM that has raged is and has to be making them re-evaluate.. I think they are clamming up till MS shows there real card.. they can match it (both screw the used game market) or change..

Personally I am almost 100% sure it will be all "I wont buy it" but 99% still will.. I think MS knows this too.. they just have to weather the storm now.. which in all honesty they are not doing well in my book, I prefer the NO NEWS at all instead of the, "Well its not what you think, but Im not telling you what it is" approach they are taking. Ultimate trolling..

on just XBOX stuff.. i can only see 12 exclusives.. all MS products... no third party exclusives.. a few "xobx will have it before the others" but no exclusives.. SONY had a few 3rd party exclusives.. seems strange to me too.. but maybe I missed them? I did love sonys new marketing "Ours uses your TV too, to play games!" subtle jab and MS trying to do everything, Sony saying we doing GAMES...

Oh ya one last thing.. did anybody read MS has a new deal with gamestop.. they are letting Gamestop get a bigger cut of NEW games sales to offset the loss of used sales? This rumor is popping up all over, but no SOLID reports that i can find.

Mark Vergeer
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Environmental implications...

What are the environmental implications of creating all these always on systems for people who can't be arsed to get up off their cough and flick a switch? All those data centres for 'the cloud'? What an arsenine metaphor a cloud actually is... Well no actually quite good as nothing is more fleeting, disposable, temporary as a cloud. A gust of wind or pressure change and it rains out of evaporates... Ungraspable, untouchable yet somehow always above our heads.

Yesterday it was all over Dutch news that a company was trying to sell all Dutch pin transactions and customer profiles to the highest bidder. It caused a major uproar - much to the company's surprise. much to the company's surprise? It is foolish to think that companies who've sole purpose is to make a profit will continue to do the right thing. Idivuals who can be held accountable will often do the right thing but a group of people won't always or actually do the opposite if it can increase the status of an individual in the group.

"Big Data", "Cloud computing", "targeted advertising" is where things are heading and the device called Kinect 2 can easily be used for gathering such information.

Example:
Earth, 2016, Johnny a young lad comes home after school and wants to enjoy a TV show with his friends. The K-nine 2 device scans the room - two of the group of individuals are not listed as subscribed and their watches blink and the green OK button is lit up and a soothing intermittend C-tone and vibration that is especially attuned to each of their central nervous system is emitted for each of the non subscribed individuals. They quickly press the buttons and a small sum is deducted from their accounts so that they too can watch the movies. A small bolus of serotonin is released into their blood streams and with a smile on their faces they too can enjoy the show.

The TV screen would have stayed polarized and the audio would not have been sent to their Oogle ass implants so that they would have been excluded from enjoying the experience. And we can't have that can we?

Earth 2024, a young lady who has a bit of a sweet tooth tries to loose weight but is constantly bombarded by informercials who influence her to do the opposite. She turns out to be unhealthier in the end as no ads / information / alternatives for healthy products were offered to her.

Earth, 2035 another young lady could have been the new Einstein inventing warp drive yet she somehow didn't reach her full potential to do so as she had been bombarded with targeted and manipulated information suited to her commercial 'needs' as perceived by companies resulting in a very lopsided exposure to culture, science and technology. Here read this book - the chances of her liking it are huge as she liked that other pulp too.

Of course all these things are exaggerated and sound paranoid but we as a society have struggled and strived for more freedom for decades and yet due to inequality and seriously unhappy sentiments seem to have lost the ability to grasp the responsibility that goes with freedom and seem to be keen on seriously considering throwing that freedom out of the window.

Okay lofty end paragraph here but I refuse to be the happy eager customer embracing everything new and shiny only to discover that it perhapd ain't so shiny after all and could leave a lingering aftertaste that may not go away anymore...

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Matt Barton
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Ha! Mark, have you read

Ha! Mark, have you read Huxley's Brave New World? Your post reminded me of it.

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Mark Vergeer
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1984 and then some...

Matt Barton wrote:
Ha! Mark, have you read Huxley's Brave New World? Your post reminded me of it.
indeed I have ;)

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Bill Loguidice
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Not saying this applies to

Not saying this applies to the discussion here, but as both a Secular Humanist and passionate Technologist, this pretty much sums up my stance, i.e., caution but giving preference to "going for it" and trusting that we'll work out the messier details over time:

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clok1966
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MS has disabled all comments

MS has disabled all comments on its Official Youtube channel, screen shots on video game sites (several show screenshots) show some real hate.. some of the quotes:

"So what were people saying? The typical “LOL, failbox” and “we don't buy game consoles for TV” and stuff like that. "

Just abnormal.. there are always the fan boys.. but There have been none, or almost none. I am glad in a way, sad in another, these changes do no good for the end users. And while they may protect devs, its the age old problem punish the good along wit the bad, and with game consoles (that have effectively locked pirates out like the Xbox has if you want to play online) have done a good enough job, punishing the people who pay your salaries is very bad mojo..

I been saying it since the start.. a quote from a game mag editor:

"But in all honesty, I sure hope Microsoft has a serious plan at E3 and don't keep playing dodge-the-question PR game like they've been doing. These are some serious industry changing policies they'd like to implement and skirting about the issues like a sweaty politician who was caught making weekend trips to the local whore house is not the way to handle the situation. "

Just tell us exactly what your doing, you know by now. Live with the rage, saying it on release is going to be even worse.. leading people to 'sorta" believe one thing (and it seems nobody is taking the PR talk blindly) and all this MAYBE stuff is not going to go down good if its not true in any form.

Mark Vergeer
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Seriously flawed PR...

If Microsoft blames the media for the response they are getting then they are 'externalizing' and pointing the finger as their communication department obviously has failed to realize the impact social media and the interconnected nature of it has. And failed to respond appropriately. News and rumors are spreading like wildfires and no-information often is better than releasing contradicting information through various channels. And of course you always have the kiddies who think it is great to just spout whatever they want online just to be cool giving in to peer pressure... You got to be able to deal with that too.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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I enjoy this commentary

There is a gentleman by the name of Jim Sterling who does a show on the Escapist called the Jimquisition. This week he is bashing against the comments being hurled around about the destruction of used games. It's kinda interesting. You can see it here - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7370-When-The-S...

Oh, and like me and seemingly a massive majority of people, he thought the X Box One is a terrible idea as well. - http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7358-Xbox-One-o...

He does talk about some interesting things in his other shows, if you can stand the foul language he's worth a listen. He's also pretty narcissistic, so be prepared for that.

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