If the Earth shifted a little earlier today, we can presume that thousands of gamers and fans everywhere are to blame. Today was the day that Microsoft came out of the lab and lifted the shroud of secrecy to show us it’s newest lightening-in-a-bottle gift: The Xbox One. We finally get to see what’s under the veil and Microsoft brought plenty of backup to help discuss this amazing leap in it’s gaming world and what we can expect in the very near future. Check out the entire coverage here. Let’s get down to business…
Guilty Pleasures Done Right
The Xbox One immediately came right out of the box swinging. Yusef Mehdi introduced a handful of the console’s newest features such as:
– “Xbox On” – This voice activated feature will turn on the Xbox and allow the console to start up (quickly) and recognize who you are and immediately bring up a ‘home page’ like screen, showing you what you were last playing, watching, listening to, etc.
– Trending – A handy little social tool that will allow you to see what’s popular with your friends and others currently such as movies, games and the like.
– Skype – Built right in of course. Were there any doubts this wasn’t going to happen? Ever since the multimedia titan bought Skype, suspicions were high that they would inject the voice/video chat software application into their new console warrior.
– Instant Switching – Don’t you hate it when you’re on your Xbox and you want to check something in another media window but would rather not have to exit the current game? It’s happened to us from time to time. Well let that thought be a distant memory now. This new feature will allow the ability to switch from application to application seamlessly. Oh yeah and the lag issue with doing this? Negative.
– Snap Mode – Okay so this looked like it will work pretty much like the Picture-In-Picture functionality of some TV’s. But smarter of course. Per the live coverage earlier, when Mehdi showcased this feature, I couldn’t help but say “whoa.” Working in a similar fashion to PNP, this awesome new additon will allow the opening of multiple windows within one and, from the looks of it, will play very nicely with Skype……..should you feel the need to answer a call in the middle of Django Unchained. BUT you wouldn’t do that right? We didn’t think so.
A Console with Brawn AND Brains
Next up, Marc Whitten popped the hood of The Xbox One and gave us a peek of what it takes to make something great even greater. The answer? “Rocket science level stuff.”
– 8 core CPU with 8GB of RAM
– 500GB HDD
– Wi-Fi Direct
– USB 3.0
– HDMI In & Out
– And last but not least….(what was presumably an uphill battle)…..a slot-loading Blu-Ray drive
An interesting part of this portion of the discussion was the mentioning of the, not one, not two, but THREE operating systems humming inside this marvel. To sum up, they all work in unison to make sure the graphics, data, and multitasking gets handled smoothly and without interruption. Of course you can’t forget about the updated controller and Kinect. Both have been improved several times over with the Kinect making our eyes glisten even more. While Microsoft reports that there are “over 40 improvements” to the Xbox One controller, the sensors in the Kinect stood out a little more for us. Not only will the slightest gesture from your shoulder or wrist now be picked up, your heartbeat will also be able to be read as well in exercise games.
Icing on the Cake
What would such a grand preview be without us seeing what The Xbox One will give us? Some heavy hitters answered that question and to much jubilation from the crowd:
Electronic Arts talked about their new Ignite engine and the 4 big titles we can look forward to: FIFA, Madden, NBA Live, and UFC. Player realism and intensity will be center stage for the sport game mogul.
Alan Wake developer Remedy showcased their new upcoming title called Quantum Break. From the teaser it looks to be a combination of Wake and Heavy Rain. The teaser combined a short, creepy live action sequence and a brief but incredible look at a large ship that completely destroys a bridge. Count us in!
Microsoft looks to offer up another Forza for you Gearheads. And like always, it is gorgeous for sure. If our calculations are correct this is the what….26th version of this game? We might be off a little……
343 caught everyone off guard when the Halo screen popped up and instead of Master Chief we were greeted by a video of Steven Spielberg! He went on to tease about the new project his working on with 343 which is going to be a live-action Halo TV series. Bittersweet? Maybe a little but Halo anything is fine with us….
And Last but Not Least…
So there’s this little gem of a game franchise. You might have heard of it. Call of Duty. Ring any bells? For those who aren’t from this planet, this is one of the best selling video game franchises of all time. Activision and Infinity Ward unveiled their upcoming (and soon to be record shattering) hit – Call of Duty:Ghosts. Check the trailer! A few details were given on what’s behind the curtain in this latest installment in the series. New team, same back-against-the-wall story but that’s what we love! Ghosts is written by Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) and will have a completely new graphics engine, DLC will be for The Xbox One first, multiplayer gets character customization and ‘dynamic maps’ (read: interactive), and perhaps my favorite new shared detail – one of your squad’s members is a battle tested dog! Yup, I’m stoked too.
It’s a Wrap
All in all, this was a great announcement for something a lot of us had been waiting for. As I write, I have already noticed a lot of console verbal wars being started, indicating there is some discontent among the ranks. What about the rumor of needing an ‘always-on’ internet connection? So it wont’ be backwards compatible?! Final price? When exactly is ‘due later this year’ in fanboy speak? Will there be other options like adding SIRI or being able to play bootlegged games? Yes I know these are all burning questions and complaints but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. In a couple of weeks E3 will be here and during today’s declaration, we were told that many more answers will be provided. So we wait.
Who has a Snickers bar?