Microsoft took an hour today to show everyone their new toy, the Xbox One.
During the presentation, they focused heavily on the fact that they’re branching out from games, movies, music, and web content to add new interactive and live television, as well as the ability to Skype. There were a lot of shots of “live TV” that was obviously video, but that’s to be expected during a live presentation such as this. What’s interesting is the choice of television: a lot of cuts to The Price is Right; that’s funny to me because there was absolutely no mention of any kind of price or even a price range that we could expect. Of course, we can assume the price will probably be in the $500 area we’re accustomed to seeing with new generation consoles. I’m sure there will be more information at E3, as was repeatedly said.
Here’s what the console would look like if it exploded, which I hope won’t be one of the new features; they didn’t mention it, but it may be one of the things they’re saving for E3.
The Xbox One’s controller looks familiar, as you would expect; although it was apparently designed “by gamers, for gamers”, so we can expect FUBU loyalists to take notice. As one of the presenters aptly said, “This is rocket science level stuff.” As you can see, the controller would also get the new Xbox Xplode feature, if it does or does not Xist; we’ll see at E3.
On a serious note, that is an impressive amount of RAM. This thing could probably map your brain, live…. Xbox Live. Are we sure Aldrich Killian didn’t design this? That would Xplain the Xplode feature.
There are some cool things about the redesigned Xbox Home screen. For starters, when you turn on the console–with your voice–it recognizes who you are and shows your unique home screen, and it remembers what you were doing the last time you were there, so try to stay away from leaving in the middle of porn, or your next game night could get really interesting.
There’s also live Twitter-style “trending” that lets you see what’s popular around the world.
When you want to watch live television, you just say so; that’s how everything works with Xbox One, and that’s pretty neat. You also get this integrated “guide” feature that is also completely voice-controlled (although, I’m sure you could use a controller). Of course, there’s a completely redesigned Xbox Kinect–which comes out-of-the-box with the console–that apparently uses new face-and-body-recognition technology to understand the Macarena moves you do to move the screen, return to the home screen, etc. Oh, and it can read your heartbeat, which is already a better healthplan than a lot of people have. On top of that, they showed off this new “Snap” mode which allows you to run apps simultaneously. That means you can Skype your friends while watching your favorite show and all laugh when Khaleesi sets people on fire.
We didn’t get much actual gameplay–like, almost none. What we did get to see are plenty of sharply produced/edited in-engine teaser trailers of what the graphics look like. Electronic Arts unveiled their new Ignite game engine, which is supposed to drastically change how you play sports games by further putting you inside the head of athletes–hopefully sans-concussions. EA Sports will release a new UFC game, NBA Live, and Madden titles exclusive to Xbox One, as well as FIFA 2014, which will employ a new “world team” feature… that we’ll see at E3.
There was also a teaser for Forza Motorsport 5, as well as an extended preview of Call of Duty: Ghosts, with some actual gameplay footage!
Okay, that hand isn’t from the gameplay footage, but come on! Look at that hand. They even put the dirt under the fingernails! This is a significant leap forward in dirt-under-fingernails technology.
Here’s the trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts, which also shows a new dog soldier modeled on an actual US Navy SEAL dog:
Apparently, there are currently more titles in development right now than at any other time in Xbox history. Within the first year of Xbox One’s release, there will be 15 exclusive games on the console, with 8 of those being new franchises. That’s a lot of exclusive content.
Beyond that exclusive content, they also announced a new Halo web/television series that will be exclusive to Xbox Live Premium members, and Steven Spielberg is apparently producing or involved in some way; I didn’t really catch what role he’s playing, but it’s Steven Spielberg, so that’s cool.
We were also treated with a video of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaking with President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Don Mattrick. Goodell is clearly not an “on-screen” guy, but they announced a partnership between the NFL and Microsoft using the Xbox One technology; Mattrick also mentioned the possibility of instantly Skypeing with friends to brag about fantasy football conquests, as well as live, on-screen fantasy football updates (which would make it easy to know it’s time to put on some pants and Skype-brag to your buddies).
The Xbox One will be released “later this year”, which is a date we’ll probably get at E3; although, I’d imagine it will at least be some time prior to November 5, as that is when Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released worldwide.
UPDATE: You can now watch the Xbox One reveal on-demand: here.
What do you think of the Xbox One?