The only thing missing from Microsoft’s unveiling of the new Xbox One gaming console system was dancing Vegas showgirls. The company announced their new entertainment and gaming console system live on Spike network with a presentation that would have been right at home in Vegas.
After boring everybody to tears with the usual preamble about the amazing technological progress, Microsoft’s role in it and the chronological history of gaming, we finally cut to the chase with the specifics of the new “all-in-one” eight Gb Xbox One.
First up is the vocal recognition feature which can recognize a user’s voice and bring up his/her personal home screen where the user can select a variety of pathways – watching TV or a movie, playing video games, listening to music, going to the internet – all of which can be done simultaneously in what is called “snap mode”. When you leave and come back, the system will remember where you were and what you were doing when you left. Additionally, a Skype mode will allow you to watch live TV and converse – via a SmartGlass integration – with your friends on a smartphone or tablet. The Skype mode was demonstrated by showing one could watch an NFL football game on ESPN and have immediate updates to your fantasy team appear on screen whenever your player scores points.
Making the gamer experience more connected, every Xbox One will come with a new Kinect sensor featuring such innovations as tracking heart rates and facial expressions of players in the game. Additionally, an active IR removes all light and allows you play in a darkened room. The Kinect sensor also allows one to widen or shrink the screen – tablet-style – while in the snap mode.
The new Xbox One will not have a required “always-on” internet connection but the internet will, of course be required for streaming and access to television signals and, therefore, many of the Xbox One features.
The new controller coming with the Xbox One has at least a 15% faster response time plus more rumble.
With Microsoft dedicating 300,000 servers worldwide to the Xbox Live network, there is the promise of larger games being hosted with more players.
The mega-popular “Call of Duty” franchise also unveiled their new game – “Call of Duty: Ghosts” in conjunction with the Xbox One unveiling and also announced that all downloadable content for “Call of Duty” will launch exclusively on Xbox One.
The new “Call of Duty:Ghosts”game will have an entirely new storyline written by Academy Award-winning writer Stephen Gaghan [“Traffic” and “Syriana”] where America is crippled and the government is in disarray. Your character will be part of a team that is essentially a remnant – or ghosts, if you will – of the various special forces units within the military. The game creators, Infinity Ward, have also added a smarter, furrier German Shepherd to your squad to sniff out potential danger [at least more dangerous than little Timmy being stuck in the creek].
Made with a next-generation engine, the game will also feature new helmets, gun scopes, a new artificial intelligence system, enhanced motions of players as well as dynamic mass and character customization for multiplayer. Technological advancements make more precise replications of characters, animals and scenes. “Call of Duty: Ghosts” will be available at the launch of Xbox One.
Also announced in conjunction with the Xbox One’s reveal were a partnership with EA Sports that will yield four new games – FIFA 14, Madden NFL, NBA and UFC – utilizing the EA Sports’ new Ignite gaming engine that can produce more life-like gaming in sports games. All of these titles will launch in the next 12 months with NHL likely to come along sometime later in 2014]. Also introduced were enhancements to the Forza Motorsport 5 game.
Microsoft also trotted out a video of Steven Spielberg to talk about Halo and how he’s “incredibly excited” about developing a new Halo TV series and all the new developments in the Halo universe.
In house Microsoft Studios will release 15 games exclusive to Xbox One – eight of which will be brand spanking new franchises. More gaming content will be unveiled at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles from June 11-13, 2013.
While a price for the new console was not announced, the new Xbox One is rumored to retail for $300 with a required $15 Xbox Live subscription or $500 without an XBL subscription and is expected to have a launch date of November 2013.