The Xbox One was officially announced on May 21, 2013, during a Microsoft-led event on their corporate campus in Redmond, Washington. As part of the eighth generation of game consoles, it will directly compete with Sony’s PlayStation 4 this holiday season. The Nintendo Wii U, which has been available for purchase since November 18, 2012, will also be competing for market share although the multimedia functionality of both Microsoft’s and Sony’s consoles has made this a two-horse race. During Microsoft's E3 press conference, it was confirmed that the Xbox One will be released this November for $499.99.
Microsoft also confirmed that a special Xbox One pre-order bonus consisting of a token code to unlock a "Day One" achievement, a limited edition controller, premium packaging, and a unique decal will be available. There will also be exclusive DLC for the following games when you pre-order an Xbox One:
Ryse: Son of Rome - Exclusive multiplayer map and sword with bonus attributes.
Forza Motorsport 5 - Access to four cars tuned to the top of their class.
Kinect Sports Rivals - Exclusive sporting equipment that separates your Champion from the rest of the world.
Dead Rising 3 - Exclusive Frank West and Chuck Greene Tribute Packs with bonus attributes.
Check out the confirmed specs for the Xbox One below.
Confirmed Xbox One Specs
|CPU||AMD x86 Jaguar 1.6GHZ 8-Core|
|GPU||800MHz AMD 7 or 8000 series GPU|
|RAM||8GB of DDR3 - The Xbox One uses a unified 8 GB DDR3 RAM setup (the current processing is speed unknown). The VRAM is likely 1 GB of dedicated memory.|
|Physical Media||Blu-ray Disk - 6x CAV Blu-ray BD-ROM + 8x CAV DVD|
|Storage||500 GB Hard Drive - The Xbox One features a non-removable 500 GB Hard Drive. The only way to currently upgrade your disk space is to purchase an external hard drive and use an USB 3.0 port.|
|Game DVR||Yes - The Xbox One will natively support the option to record and upload gameplay to friends or through Xbox Live. Users can record, edit, and upload gameplay from their consoles or stream live or watch others using Twitch.|
|Cloud Storage||Yes - The Xbox One will use a cloud-based storage system to collect all your account data and make it available anywhere you're signed in. Developers will also be able to change content using the cloud like the requirements for achievements or the environment in MMO-sized worlds.|
|USB Ports||Yes - The Xbox One uses 3 USB 3.0 ports (one on the side and two on the rear) for different devices.|
|Mandatory Game Installs||Yes - Current reports suggest that owners of the Xbox One will need to install their games onto the console's hard drive once before it can be played. After a full game installation, the physical disc will no longer be required and the data will be tied directly to the account it was installed on.|
|"Always Online"||No - Due to community backlash, the Xbox One will only require an initial internet connection check when the console is going through its first setup process. Single player games and all downloaded games will function the same whether online or offline.|
|Used Game Fee||No* - Due to community backlash, the Xbox One will no longer have any restrictions on the buying, trading, or selling of used games.
*Trade-ins and used games may carry additional fees that will vary from publisher to publisher. Microsoft has made it a point to say they're not making any money from used game sales.
|Backwards Capability||No - The Xbox One uses an entirely new architecture for processing game data, which makes it completely incompatible with past 360 games.|
|Second Screen||Microsoft SmartGlass - The Xbox One uses Microsoft SmartGlass as a second companion device similar to the PS4 and PS Vita or the Wii and the Wii U.|
|Motion Control||Kinect 2.0 - The Xbox One uses an entirely new Kinect device that will be shipped with the console. The Kinect will recognize voice commands and be able to differentiate up to six different people at a time. Its camera will be able to see in 1080p and process 2 gigabits of data per second. The Kinect can also see perfectly well in the dark and must be plugged in to enable access to the Xbox One console.|
|Subscription Service||Yes - The Xbox One will use the returning Xbox Live to deliver digital content and provide access to multiplayer games. It will cost the same as the Xbox 360 Gold Account and only one paid account is needed per household for access to online games.|
|Microsoft Points||No - The Xbox One will no longer use Microsoft Points for the purchase of digital content. Instead, local currencies will be used.|
|Xbox Live Account||Transferable - The Xbox One will allow players to transfer their gamertag and gamerscore from their 360 console.|
|Operating System||3 - The Xbox One will have three native operating systems at launch: an Xbox OS, an OS based on the Windows Kernel, and a third OS for communication between the two main systems via virtual machine software.|
|Internet Connection||Gigabit Ethernet + WiFi|
|BlueTooth||Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)|
|Audio/Video Connections||HDMI input and output (up to 4K resolution support) + Optical output|
|Region Locked||No - Due to community backlash, the Xbox One will no longer be region-locked.|
|Release Date||November 2013|
|Price||$499.99 - It was confirmed during Microsoft's E3 press event that the Xbox One will retail for the price listed in North America.|
What Do These XBox One Specs Mean?
Most gamers will probably want to know how the Xbox One stacks up against its main rival, Sony’s PlayStation 4 in terms of raw hardware and future potential. The answer is a little complicated. From a purely hardware standpoint, both consoles use new AMD architecture based on the “Jaguar” line, which means they both have pretty strong processing power for next gen games. Both consoles reportedly run at 1.6GHz along 8 CPU cores, which could mean a lot of heat generation if there aren’t adequate vents to let it out. We don’t have to remind you what happens to an Xbox 360 when it overheats nor do we have to tell you what an original PS3 felt like when it started its other job as a full-fledged furnace.
One of the most noticeable differences between the Xbox One and PS4 is the native RAM. Currently, both have 8 GB of raw RAM with 1 GB presumably dedicated to OS operations but Sony is using the more bandwidth friendly GDDR5 high performance RAM compared to Microsoft choosing to go with the cheaper DDR3 variety.
Depending on the future use of bandwidth considering the potential to stream games, access the internet, allow remote play, stream to a secondary device, and more, there could be major issues for the Xbox One when it comes to supporting all that multitasking.
But then again, powerful PCs don’t even need more than 8 GB of RAM currently, unless we’re talking about playing the latest games on the latest graphics cards while downloading content, streaming music, and viewing 50 pages of porn. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft chooses to upgrade their RAM to match the competition.
Speaking specifically about the Xbox One, reports have stated the new “Jaguar” CPU will be comparable to the Radeon 7790, which is a midrange gaming card retailing for around $149.99. As most gamers know, for console development, it’s all about generating a strong baseline for the future development of games and if their CPU/GPU combo is close to the Radeon 7790, it’s acceptable for next generation but unfortunately feels very much this generation. Of course, adding a hardcore graphics card capable of running the newest PC games on all the highest settings would probably cost gamers a lot of money comparable to when the PS3 first retailed for $699.99 and no one wants that again.
XBox One Rumors and Confirmation
Early reactions to the unveiling event, which brought many international game journalists as well as local news stations, were mixed to mildly negative since Microsoft did not deny the persistent rumors surrounding the console’s stance on used games, required internet connectivity, or mandatory Kinect usage.
Instead, the Xbox One will require an internet connection for access to its cloud-based services in addition to online verification for single player games every 24 hours. This is different from an “always online” connection, which does not forgive gamers for temporarily losing internet access. Rather than punish gamers with weak internet connections, Microsoft will require a “sometimes online” connection. This makes sense considering the cloud-based architecture for saving and publishing gaming moments, accessing digital content, watching television or films, and browsing the internet.
The issue of used games has not yet been verified by Microsoft aside from a commitment to enable customers to resell or trade-in their copies. Speculation has ranged from a “reactivation fee” to remove a game associated with one Xbox Live account to another with Microsoft taking a cut to Microsoft charging stores like GameStop a fee for reselling physical copies. Both theories have been denied by representatives of the Xbox One. Since the cloud will be used for the majority of content storage instead of a HD or HDD (they will mostly likely be used for quick access boot up systems and OS software), it would be interesting to see a used games market directly on the console for digital ownership transfers.
The new Kinect 2.0 sensor bar will be bundled with the Xbox One to take advantage of its improved accuracy, voice recognition, and tracking capabilities to enhance multimedia functionalities. It will be “always online” even if there is no current need for the Kinect’s sensors or the console is set to sleep mode. This allows the Xbox One to wake up or resume play with a voice command regardless of the console’s current state.
A UK Microsoft rep also revealed that the Kinect must be plugged into in order for the Xbox One to boot up because the new multimedia console is for more than just gaming. It’s meant to be your all-in-one entertainment device that sits quietly in your living room waiting in anticipation for your sexy voice to say, “I want to play a game.” Wait, say that in Jigsaw’s voice and then it becomes creepy.
Xbox 360 owners should not be surprised that their Xbox Live subscription, gamertag, and gamer score are transferable to the new console. While this unifies all your efforts on the previous generation with the next, you still can’t play physical copies of 360 games on the Xbox One and this makes perfect sense considering the new console uses an entirely different architecture for processing data.
However, with the introduction of cloud-based services, it would not be a surprise to see the Xbox Live marketplace with 360 games for sale. Prices could possibly be reduced or even removed entirely for proof of physical ownership. Since games are somewhat tied to your 360 account through boot up sequences and achievements, it would not be a major hardship to determine what games you own and transfer digital files onto your Xbox One console for download. Of course, this is merely speculation.
There have also been persistent rumors that Microsoft will no longer allow independent developers to self-publish their titles on the Xbox Live Arcade and will have to partner with Microsoft or a third-party publisher. Microsoft responded to the rumors and pledged to support indie developers with their head of interactive entertainment, Don Mattrick, saying “We’re going to have an independent creator program. We’re going to sponsor it. We’re going to give people tools. That is something we think—I think—is important. That’s how I started in the industry. There’s no way we’re going to build a box that doesn’t support that.”
The Xbox One will have three different types of achievements when the console launches this November: (1) achievements tied to the cloud that can span game franchises, game series, publishers, and more according to how developers want to change them; (2) limited time challenges such as players getting 1 million headshots total over a period of three days. Everyone who participates in the event will unlock the achievement if the goal is reached; and (3) non-gaming achievements tied to the entertainment features found on the Xbox One such as watching TV, downloading a movie, or streaming music through the Xbox app. Depending on the achievement, players can potentially unlock more than the achievement itself and avatar items. Developers could tie DLC content, new costumes, stages, and more to the number of achievements unlocked.
New Multimedia Tech
The Xbox One will feature a DVR option for natively recording gameplay and uploading them to share with friends through the Xbox Live service. Users can edit and cut video clips with the built-in tools found on the console. There are currently no options to record or stream television shows using the Xbox One, but Microsoft plans to implement this feature later on when it has secured deals with the network and cable stations.
There will also be a myriad of communication options via social websites and Skype featured natively on the console, but the question remains whether hardcore gamers are going to use the Xbox One beyond playing games and watching the occasional movie. While many people use their Xbox 360 console as an additional storage device, there does not seem to be much incentive to use the social medial aspects that are pretty much available on every other device including computers and smartphones.
There have also been rumors concerning the possible use of a Siri-like communication platform that could recognize and store facial features to distinguish between players and have conversations with them concerning what they want to do with the console. This could then be tied into an unlocking mechanism where the Xbox One automatically locks when it cannot tell who’s trying to access the console or deny those who do not have permission access to games. This possible two-way communication software could make the mandatory Kinect option worth it if Microsoft can prove there’s use beyond simply turning the console on and off without needing to push a button.
The Xbox One will also feature a remote play option rumored to be connected directly to Skype where players can access a friend’s console in order to help them through a difficult part of a game. It’s currently unclear whether both players need a copy of the same game or if one console could stream to another. The system has also been rumored to be able to stream games from your Xbox One to friends for viewing purposes and even allow them to drop in-game items for you like health potions or extra ammo clips when they see you struggling.
Concerning the new interface, Xbox One utilizes an entirely new system that allows you to simultaneously watch live TV while browsing the internet. It also allows you to easily switch between playing games and watching movies. While TV partners have not been announced yet, gamers can expect some major exclusive deals including access to NFL sporting events and even a Steven Spielberg produced live action Halo series. You can definitely expect more original programming like Halo on the Xbox One to encourage owners to view the console as more than just a gaming device.
If achievements are the only reason why you have an Xbox, you can rest assured that your gamescore will carry over from your previous 360 console. Depending on how developers wish to use the feature, they can change the requirements for achievements as the game ages (e.g. changing a “500 kills with a pistol” to “5,000 kills with a pistol”) or insert new ones without needing to tinker with expansion packs or DLC. While this feature essentially exists on Valve’s Steam platform, the time it takes to pass through the console development checklist this generation is too long and too much work just to add more achievements. The Xbox One wants to be more developer friendly.
Xbox One Controller Specs
The Xbox One controller maintains the general shape, weight, and flavor of the 360 controller and improves upon it with over 40 different upgrades. Visually, the new controller has the same off-set analog sticks, the X, Y, A, and B buttons, a directional pad, and two context buttons. However, the feeling of the new plus-shaped D-pad over the previous squishier round-shaped version on the 360 has provided a more responsive output according to various hands-on reports. The battery pack has also been slimmed down on the Xbox One controller so that it does not protrude out and is rechargeable via mini-USB connectors similar to the PS3. There are currently no confirmed reports of battery life or charging times.
One of the newest features for the controller are four different rumble motors to immerse players in the contextual actions on screen. The two trigger buttons have their own rumble motors independent of each other so one side could be rumbling while you’re, for example, holding down the trigger on your AK47 while the other only rumbles when you melee someone in their testicles. The mechanics behind the triggers have also been redesigned to detect the slightest changes in pressure to assist you when you’re squeezing the trigger as opposed to pulling it. Hands-on reports also indicated that the four rumble motors are capable of triggering to help players identify where enemy attacks were coming from instead of having to rely on in-game indicators.
The two analog sticks have been revamped to offer 25% less resistance than the previous 360 controller for more fluidity when playing games. They have also been redesigned to offer a stronger grip around the edges of the analog stick, which a Microsoft rep called “knurling.” While the controller looks physical the same as its predecessor, those with hands-on experience stated the overall shape had been contoured to give more comfort to different hand sizes.
There are new ports for headsets and other peripherals that have been reported to be incompatible with current 360 headsets. Conflicting reports have stated this is because Microsoft wants to control the accessories available on their console, driving up development costs for manufacturers and therefore driving up costs for consumers.
Another argument is that the new port vastly improves the chat and audio communications possible with a controller headset and the new development was necessary to improve gaming experience. Of course, Microsoft could always develop a connector to allow old headsets to join the next generation. It is also speculated that the new ports will support stereo chat audio that will allow players in game to hear voices coming from the direction where other players are standing. This feature currently exists on some PC titles, but the jump to consoles could be a major stepping stone moving forward for the Xbox One console.
There are two new buttons on the Xbox One controller that have replaced the Start and Back buttons on the 360. The first, a Menu button, allows developers to bring up context-specific menus to enhance the user’s experience like bringing up in-game menus, showing the different options available for publishing content, accessing console commands, and surprise! A pause button. Like the Start button had on the 360. Yeah, we don’t get the change either. The second button, the View, will bring up context information on games or apps and change views from presumably first person to third person or vice versa. Depending on the genre and the developer’s choice, this can either result in bringing up a scoreboard during a multiplayer FPS game, opening up a map during an RPG, or locking in a particularly awesome multiplier during a puzzle game.
Article by - Collin Mak
Insert Date: 05/29/2013
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