Back in black.
As expected, Microsoft last night unveiled its next generation gaming and entertainment system. Though it is the third iteration of the Xbox brand, the new unit will be known as the Xbox One, which seems likely to cause confusion in some quarters. The rectangular console is larger than its immediate predecessor and features a (trayless) Blu-ray disc drive. As reported by Engadget, it will include a 500 GB internal hard drive and will also support external storage via USB. Much like the forthcoming PlayStation 4, the Xbox One will allow you to begin playing games before they have finished downloading.
Microsoft vice president Phil Harrison told Kotaku that the Xbox One will require a daily (though not necessarily constant) internet connection. According to Wired, Microsoft also confirmed that second hand games would require activation fees. Just before fan reaction reached boiling point, Microsoft told Polygon that these were merely potential scenarios rather than officially announced requirements.
Though the basic layout of the controller remains the same, Microsoft has made a number of minor revisions. The thumbsticks now feature texturing for more stable and intuitive control, while the triggers each offer individual force feedback. As noted by Joystiq, Xbox 360 controllers will not work with the new system. Perhaps most notably, each and every unit will ship with a “more precise, more responsive and more intuitive” Kinect motion sensor. Microsoft’s UK marketing director Harvey Eagle told IGN that the new Kinect must be active at all times, a requirement certain to enrage many.
The Xbox One will not support your retail Xbox 360 games, Engadget has confirmed, or even your library of XBLA titles. If you’re a long time Achievement hunter, though, you’ll be happy to hear that your Gamerscore will carry over to the new system, along with your Gold membership. Achievement lists will apparently expand over time to encourage a range of in-game activity. Some of your gameplay triumphs will be captured on video, presumably so you can share them with friends. According to a Polygon report, you’ll be able to save your games at any stage, i.e. without waiting for a traditional checkpoint. The Xbox One will also facilitate cloud saves.
While the presentation was largely focused on the system itself, Microsoft did roll out a handful of new titles, including first party racing sim Forza Motorsport 5. It also revealed that Alan Wake developer Remedy Entertainment is working on Quantum Break, an Xbox One exclusive blending CG gameplay with live action footage. Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts was also showcased, as were a handful of EA sports titles. As noted by Develop, Microsoft is promising to deliver 15 exclusive titles in the first 12 months, including eight original properties. The Xbox One will go head to head with the PS4 and Wii U “later this year”.
As revealed by Game Informer, these are the basic system specs:
- 8 Core CPU
- 8 GB System Memory
- 500 GB Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Drive
- 802.11n Wireless with Wi-Fi Direct
- HDMI In/Out
- USB 3.0