Microsoft Reveal Event! – Enter the Xbox One!
By Garrett Green On 22 May, 2013 At 12:31 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, Previews, ROG Tech, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIt’s finally here, after months of wait and speculation, Microsoft has announced it next Xbox system and it’s name is… (What for Drum Roll) Xbox One. Yes Xbox One, the One signifying what Microsoft is aggressively going after in making this an all in one system for the living room. The show started off with a video saying how the brought games to life and how they brought games to us, so right off the back I thought Microsoft was going the Sony route by saying how important gaming was to the system. But then the video keeps going, and begins to discuss the relationship between you in the TV this platform will bring. And THAT is really what this conference was all about.

 

Microsoft didn’t waste any time and showed off what everyone came to see, the system. Yes the actual physical system was on display for the world to see, something Sony failed to do with the Playstation 4. I personally like the design, it’s sleek and shinny, simple yet elegant, and the redesigned controller looks better, if not really similar, than the previous. Then Microsoft dived in and showed off what they were bringing to the table. Of course the Kinect is still here and looks to be more powerful and responsive, as using a simple voice command, “Xbox on,” the system pops on. The home screen looks a lot like Windows 8, I don’t think anyone is really surprised with, and was sporting a new feature called “Trending.” With this you can see what you friends are liking and what people around Xbox Live are liking. With a simple command, “Xbox watch TV,” you arte now watching TV on your Xbox and with the new “Instant switching” mode you can switch on the fly between TV, gaming, music, and other apps on the Xbox and “Snap” mode allows users to use multiple aps at once like a fully supported Skype in HD and with video chat. Another cool feature was using Minority Report like motions to surf channels and browse around the Xbox. Now while this all looked cool, I can’t help but wonder how effective it will work once the consumer gets in in their living room.

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Not done with pushing TV, Microsoft shows off watching ESPN and getting instant updates to you fantasy league on screen. Using voice control allows the user to surf through the TV guide, change channels, and let’s you know what TV shows are trending. You can be sitting on the couch and say, “What’s on HBO?” or “Watch the Price is Right.” And this all looks cool, but I worry about the recognition of the voice control. If I don’t say the name of the show the same way my family does, will it work for all of us? What if I have an accent, will that factor in?

 

We got a little info on the specs of the system. It will have: 8 Core CPU, 8 GB system memory, 500 GB HDD, Blu-ray drive, 802.11n wireless with Wi-Fi direct, HDMI in/out, and USB 3.0. The Kinect comes with all Xboxs and is required for use. With its redesigned controller, Kinect, and smart glass technology, Microsoft is boasting that there will be no lag between input and system. That still remains to be seen but if true, all the power to Microsoft. The new Xbox Live will be run by over 300 thousand servers and everything stored in the cloud to access you data anywhere.  New Achievements will by more dynamic and show off more of what you have done and there will be a sharing option with the ability to record and upload videos (though not much was spoken on that).

 

At this point we are about 35 minutes in and nothing has been mentioned about actual gaming on the system. EA came out and announced a partnership with Mircosoft. They announced 4 games coming to the Xbox One; Fifa 14, Madden 25, NBA Live, and UFC. All games are not exclusive but EA states that the Xbox version will have exclusive content. Also announced exclusive to Xbox One is EA Sorts Ignite. It’s a game engine that is supposed to make the sport games more realistic, which is what they try to do with every iteration of any EA sports game. So far it’s only confirmed for Xbox One but it sounds like this is how they will make their sports game from now on across platforms. EA ended their segment with “… how all EA Sports games will look and play on Xbox One.” (Sigh) This miffed me, the first footage of any game for the new system and it isn’t game play footage, but the usual trailer footage EA makes for their Sports game. This isn’t how the game will look or feel once it hits the system and that’s what I really wanted to see. It’s a personal gripe yes but still.

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More talk about how Microsoft is making gaming more immersive, personal and connected. All right, this is what I was waiting for, some talk about the games… Sadly no. They announced Forza Morta Sport 5, a racing game that will be available at launch, great, except again we are treated to another CGI trailer. Now this trailer is a little harder to tell if it’s actual game footage, made with in game graphics, or a CGI trailer but I believe it is the latter. If the game actually looks this good I will be astonished and happy that they could pull that off. Next was the announcement by Remedy Studios, developers of Alan Wake, with Quantum Break that is a brand new IP. I live action trailer with some not so great acting leads into gameplay footage of a boat crashing and some stills in a gun battle. Nothing really shown about the game at all which looks like a theme here.

 

Back to television, Microsoft announced they are working on several studios and their first show is going to be a live action Halo show, produced by Steven Spielberg. This sounds like a cool idea considering how popular their Halo franchise is and how long they’ve been trying to make a live action movie. Not much is known about the project yet. They also announced a partnership with the NFL, really going after the sports fans with this one. Microsoft is definitely going after a completely different market and they are firing on all cylinders.  Lastly, what’s Xbox without Call of Duty. The new title, Call of Duty: Ghost was announced and we were given a pick and the development of the title and the improvements of the graphics compared to MW3. New to Call of Duty is a dog as your part of your squad and “new” features like vaulting and leaning to shot around corners. This might by new to the franchise but not FPS. And we are given the first trailer for the game which actually shows off some of the game. And it looks good, CoD fans can be excited again. And with that the event ends.

So how did Microsoft do? Well I have to start by saying that I was personally underwhelmed. I didn’t see much of anything about actual games and I am a gamer first and foremost. While some people are stating that this wasn’t targeted at us gamers, I ask who is not a gamer watching this at 10 in the morning pacific time? That being said, I can put that side of my aside and say I am very interested in what Xbox One is trying to accomplish. The interactive entertainment HUB is pretty awesome and responsive from what they have shown. They clearly want to grab a larger audience than just the core gamer. Even though they have to go against products already out there that do the same thing, they are bringing some interesting ideas to the table. I just don’t know how far they can go if they alienate the hardcore gamer audience. While they could probably bring in more customers than they would lose, I don’t expect the starting price point to be cheap so why would non gamers want to shell out the money when they already have smart TVs? Microsoft did announce 15 exclusive titles coming to the Xbox One in the first year with 8 of those being new IPs. That is an impressive number for a launch and I expect them to really go after the core gamers at E3 in a few weeks.  All in all I was disappointed and I thought Sony did a better job revealing the PS4, but again, I’m a gamer and that’s who Sony was speaking to. E3 is going to be big this year so expect a lot more details to come rolling in soon.

 

Some announcements made after the show; some companies were able to announce games coming to Xbox One such as Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs. The Xbox does not have to be always connected, however it seems that they are pushing for being as connected as you possibly can. In an interview from Kotaku with Phil Harrison, he stated that you have to connect to the Internet at least once a day. Another interesting piece of information, again from Kotaku, is that the Xbox One will not block used games. However you will need to pay a fee to play a used or borrowed game that, at least in the case of a new game, would be the same price as purchasing the game itself. Microsoft says they are still working on a way to trade and sell game codes online so I will wait for a little more information on that before condemning them for basically saying if your friend wants to barrow your game he might as well buy a copy himself.

 

Well there you have it folks, A lot of info to take in one day but we finally know what Microsoft is planning. Who do you think had the better reveal, Xbox or Playstation? Which are you most looking forward to? Either way, this years E3 is going to be huge.

 

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