After months of speculation and rumors, Microsoft detailed its next generation console — the Xbox One — to a packed room in Redmond, Wash., Tuesday.
The Xbox One, described by Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft, was designed and built “as an all-in-one system to align games, TV and entertainment.”
Its predecessor, the Xbox 360 was released almost eight years ago, on Nov. 22, 2005. It was a blockbuster for Microsoft, selling more than 70 million units in the past seven years, and it’s gone through several iterations since its release.
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Microsoft’s Xbox One will support an all new dashboard that allows players to multitask while in different programs. It allows for simultaneous movie streaming, television and gaming.
The Kinect is a big portion of the Xbox One. Yusuf Mehdi, SVP of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, demonstrated using voice activation to turn on the One, activate programs and return to the home screen. The Xbox One also uses gesture controls to manipulate the Xbox home screen.
The Xbox One will integrate into your television and cable. It will include features for viewers to easily find their favorite shows and channels via voice command, and find programs based on what is trending around the world.
Microsoft gave some idea of the hardware powering the One. It will feature an eight-core CPU, 8 gigs of RAM, a 500 gig HDD, a Blu-Ray Drive, 802.11 Wireless with Wi-Fi Direct, HDMI and USB 3.0.
Several impressive looking games were previewed at the Xbox One unveiling. These included new EA Sports titles running on the new EA Ignite engine. These games will “blur the line between reality and games in sports,” EA exec Andrew Wilson said.
Phil Spencer, the director of Xbox Studios, said there will be 15 Xbox One-exclusive games launching within a year of launch, and eight of those will be new franchises.
Microsoft’s beloved game franchise Halo was also on display, not as a new game, but as a live action series. Halo will become a premium television series, directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Also on the entertainment front, Microsoft announced a partnership with the NFL. The Xbox One will have exclusive content that works with the Kinect, Smart Glass and other services to extend fantasy football play, tying it in to live games.
Xbox One will launch around the world later this year, Mattrick said.
Image courtesy Microsoft