updated 01:42 pm EDT, Tue May 21, 2013
Instant switching between apps, Kinect system, cloud services
Microsoft has revealed its latest iteration of its Xbox game console at a media event. The Xbox One, codenamed Durango during its development, is billed as an all-in-one system for the living room, with a greater focus on allowing users to watch live television and other media, along with heavier Kinect integration, Skype calling, and gaming improvements.
The new console is able to switch between media sources quickly from vocal commands, switching between live TV, music, a game, and Internet Explorer with little in the way of loading time. The new interface uses Kinect voice commands as well as gestures to navigate the modified Metro-style menu. Notifications found in Windows 8 also appear on the screen, such as from Skype calls or news updates about individual players in a sport. A command to "Snap" an app will put it into a narrow bar on the side, something that is also possible in Windows 8.
A new Xbox One Guide will show television listings, along with options for "Trending" programs, favorite shows, and saved "My Channels," with the guide also showing content available on-demand as well as on broadcast channels.
The main console itself uses 5 billion transistors on its 8-core CPU, and 8GB of RAM. A 500GB hard disk and Blu-ray drive are also included, along with HDMI-in and out, USB 3.0, and Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct. On the front is an improved Kinect sensor with a 1080p wide-angle camera that is able to read a heartbeat, note shifts in weight, and also includes improved joint detection. The new controller is claimed to have over 40 changes to its design, including dynamic impulse triggers with feedback, and a Wi-Fi Direct radio stack. SmartGlass is also retained in the Xbox One.
Core to the system, the Xbox One architecture, is said to be three operating systems in one. The Xbox OS deals with the gaming side, the second is the Windows kernel, and a third joins the two sides, allowing for quick switching between the two.
Xbox Live has been reworked specially for the Xbox One. Using the same subscription as currently offered, the service will jump from 15,000 servers being used currently to over 300,000 later this year. A dedicated game DVR will record gameplay footage for later sharing, as well as improved multiplayer matchmaking and queuing, including the option to play another title while waiting for a multiplayer match to start.
After showcasing a few games that will appear on the platform, Microsoft went on to talk about how the Xbox will help personalize TV viewing, including providing feedback to broadcasters. A live-action Halo TV show was announced, which will have the involvement of Steven Spielberg, while the NFL will be able to use SmartGlass apps and the "Snap" feature to view game stats, organize fantasy football rosters, and other "exclusive and interactive content."
The Xbox One is slated to ship around the world later this year, with more details to be provided at E3.