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

Mark Vergeer
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Digital age & preservation

Rowdy Rob wrote:
1) The idea that you can’t sell or give away your digital media anymore.... well, it’s not like the media itself will be lost to time. Like they say, everything in the digital domain/Internet lasts forever. In many ways, the digital age is actually beneficial to preserving art/literature/music/software, since it exists as ones and zeros somewhere out there in cyberspace. From this point on, we probably won’t lose valuable parts of our digital culture, unlike the lost works of many artists, filmmakers, and musicians of yesteryear. We’re not going to lose our games in the future; someone will be able to play them. Heck, I doubt that videogame producers wipe their drives of code after the release of the game; someone has it. A lot of you collectors out there are thinking about historical preservation; well, that will not be necessary anymore in the digital age.

The Internet is not some free digital archive where all our knowledge and history will be deposited for future generations accessible to all and right now it may look and feel like like it is. But it is not. Our flicker, Facebook, twitter posts will only be there as long as the companies behind it back up the data properly and keep making it available. Searching our shared knowledge in Wikipedia only is possible if people keep donating to it and will stop the instant the Wikipedia folks can't pay the bills anymore.
Websites disappear when they stop loosing their economic value. Storing stuff in the cloud is, that safe? Not with all these hacks and PRISM. Perhaps we can count on PRISM to keep our data safe. Well at least the data from non US citizens.

The Internet is as volatile a place as any and thinking about storing anything on there long term in a safe manner is not going to be possible. The free Internet where everything was possible and the sky was the limit and ads would pay for everything has burst long ago. Governments and all sorts of companies have bitten down hard on that freedom and it is going to decrease in the name of profit and security, crowd control. Or not. We'll have to see, come what may. Interesting times for sure.

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Rob Daviau
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Joined: 05/19/2006
LOL....

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
These appear to be the key

These appear to be the key takeaways from the Xbox E3 presser:

- Microsoft created a new Xbox 360 design modeled after the looks of the Xbox One and it's available immediately.

- Xbox LIVE Gold Members will get two free games a month, much like PS+ (I'm not sure if that applies to the Xbox One as well)

- Xbox One launches in November ("Day One Edition" with special branding reservable today) for $499 in the US, 429 pounds in the UK, 499 Euros elsewhere (?)

- The next gen games look great and have pretty advanced features; this is "real" next gen stuff and I'm sure Sony has similarly impressive product to show

- You can livestream your gameplay with just a few words to Twitch if you want

- There are new SmartGlass features

- No more Microsoft Points, it's all real money now

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Rob Daviau
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huh

Bill Loguidice wrote:
These appear to be the key takeaways from the Xbox E3 presser:
- Microsoft created a new Xbox 360 design modeled after the looks of the Xbox One and it's available immediately.

Interesting, I did not see that one coming............

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
360

Rob Daviau wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:
These appear to be the key takeaways from the Xbox E3 presser:
- Microsoft created a new Xbox 360 design modeled after the looks of the Xbox One and it's available immediately.

Interesting, I did not see that one coming............

We knew there was almost certainly going to be a cost reduced Xbox 360 that may or may not have interfaced with the Xbox One to address the backwards compatibility issue, but yeah, this seems to just be the final pedestrian update to the original box. No more, no less, and certainly not exciting. I guess this was the genesis of those rumors.

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Rob Daviau
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hmmm

A new model of the 360 I was not surprised about, we see this a lot from long standing consoles, just did not see it using the same styling as the Xbox One. I missed it Bill, did they mention the cost of this last revision of the 360? I would hope it would be at least somewhat reduced in retail price?

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Bill Loguidice
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Systems

Rob Daviau wrote:
A new model of the 360 I was not surprised about, we see this a lot from long standing consoles, just did not see it using the same styling as the Xbox One. I missed it Bill, did they mention the cost of this last revision of the 360? I would hope it would be at least somewhat reduced in retail price?

Good question. I somehow doubt it, though I suspect once we get a few months out, prices will start to drop to clear some inventory. I still have yet to see the new model of 360 for sale.

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Bill Loguidice
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For what it's worth, I just

For what it's worth, I just pre-ordered our Xbox One from Amazon. Microsoft and a few others are offering it for pre-order as well.

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davyK
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Joined: 05/21/2006
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/wor

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22887093

....and some people might have been wondering why I was getting hot under the collar about privacy and always on consoles?

It is now news here that the US government is poking around in our, maybe my, facebook and twitter account - illegally I may add in my country....

By US law if a US company is forced into giving US security services access to data it must deny it has happened when asked. The statements being issued by our politicians here are not cutting the mustard - the press is red hot here over this.....especially since an ex-CIA employee has whistleblown...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22851706
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22893958

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