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Whew, time for us to catch our breath a little! Microsoft has finally dished out the details of its upcoming console, which is to be called the Xbox One, and if you want to know the what, where, when, and perhaps most importantly, how much, we’ve got all of the details coming up right after the break!

Xbox One logo

Xbox One Features

-Hardware And Specs:

Xbox One Console

 

As you will have already been prepared for in light of the specs of the PlayStation 4 as revealed by Sony back in February, the Xbox One packs in some incredibly robust hardware.

The Xbox One boasts 8 gigs of RAM, 8-core CPU and GPU SoC, and a substantial 500GB HDD. The SoC has been crafted by AMD, and with the HDD custom-built by Microsoft it would appear the crucial components have been specially tailored to operate in perfect harmony with one another.

As already confirmed, there’s a Blu-ray drive as well as USB 3.0 and integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The console itself also got a complete new design.

-New Kinect

Xbox One Kinect Sensor

 

It was heavily rumored, there’s a brand new next-gen Kinect to match the vastly-improved console. It packs a 1080p camera capable of capturing wide angles, and can even read your heartbeat as you partake in exercise.

The larger field of view is definitely welcome with the new Kinect, but what is also notable is that it also integrates with the Xbox One’s voice-recognition feature. You can easily wake the Kinect up merely using utterances from your mouth ("Xbox On"; see below), and considering every Xbox One will ship with the Kinect, owners will be almost coerced to enjoy what promises to be the most interactive experience technology has ever seen.

-Xbox One Controller:

Xbox One Controller

Although, aesthetically at least, the changes to the Xbox One controller from the preceding Xbox 360 game pad don’t appear particularly radical, Microsoft assures us that gamers will indeed notice a significant enhancement when using the new controller.

Then again, many felt the Xbox 360 controller was already very comfortable, functional, and well-designed, and so instead of making a statement in overhauling a perfectly good peripheral, the Redmond company has advisably decided to refresh it, bringing "more than 40 technical and design innovations."

Xbox One users will notice a tweaked d-pad, adjusted ergonomic fit, and so-called "vibrating impulse triggers" which bring haptic feedback straight to a player’s fingertips for added effect.

-Skype for Xbox – Video Calling – Xbox Snap:

Sony’s PlayStation 4 event revealed a strong emphasis on video sharing, and with Microsoft having bought Skype out not so long ago, the company’s largest recent acquisition was always going to play more than a supporting role with the next Xbox.

Skype for Xbox One looks set to be a real focal point, bringing a completely new, dramatically enhanced service for the next-gen console offering features such as HD video using the Kinect camera. There’s group video conferencing also thrown into the mix, and the Xbox One’s Snap feature, which among other things, will also let you partake in picture-in-picture calls while enjoying other activities.

A simple voice prompt will let you begin or end a call, and although the demonstration today of the new Skype was carried out on the Xbox One, it is possible that the Xbox 360 will also be supported in some capacity.

-User Interface:

Xbox One Home UI

The Xbox One essentially runs three operating systems in one, with the traditional Xbox operating system now accompanied by the Windows Kernel giving a real Windows 8 look and feel to proceedings.

Those familiar with Windows 8 will feel right at home, and with content now spread very comfortably across a multi-screened plain, everything looks a great deal more spaced-out and easier to navigate.

-Live TV – Interactive TV – "Xbox On":

You will be able to watch live TV from your cable or satellite set-top box through Xbox One.

Just as Google’s Glass seems to spring into action with the words "Okay, Glass," the next-gen Xbox One will also allow users to control many aspects of the console using just the voice.

The new dashboard is based heavily upon the Windows 8 OS, and Microsoft wants to build on the Xbox and Windows experiences to create a truly immersive interactive TV viewing experience.

Instant Switching, for example, allows the user to move through apps and TV streams with ease, nullifying the need for participants to engage in that cumbersome sport of fishing around for the remote. Gestures through the new Kinect take the voice feature to the next level, and although the inaugural Kinect took the world by storm when it released a couple of years back, I suspect the best is still yet to come.

-DVR for Games

DVR recording of games will be supported on Xbox One via upgraded version of Xbox LIVE.

-Native SmartGlass Integration

SmartGlass will come integrated as part of Xbox One’s new software.

-Living Games

This feature will bring more realism to the Xbox One gaming experience.

Dynamic, living worlds evolve and improve the more you play, and advanced artificial intelligence can learn to play like you, so friends can play against your shadow.

-Cloud, Cloud, Cloud!

As with any new tech product nowadays, there’s a significant push from Microsoft on swaying gamers toward the floating realms of The Cloud.

In fact, the Xbox One allows developers to access Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform right off the bat. All downloaded and installed games / achievements can then be synced to the cloud and accessed and played on any Xbox One you decide to log into.

These new changes also make the process of holding down a multiplayer battle less tedious. Fingers crossed, those battles with the lag will be a thing of the past, with stable, dedicated servers hosting every multiplayer game. No longer will matches of this sort be hosted on somebody’s console somewhere far away, but allowing up to 128 participants to do battle without the stuttering connection drops reducing the enjoyment.

-No Backwards compatibility

Although this news will certainly turn a few smiles upside down, it was always something of an inevitability. In fact, with Sony already stating the PS4 would not be playing anything other than PS4 games, Microsoft almost had a free pass, and the Redmond company has obliged in confirming that if you want to play those old games, you will need to keep the old console.

Xbox One Games

No newly-announced console is complete without a fleet of confirmed titles for gamers to save their pennies up for, and the Xbox One is no exception to this trend. Electronic Arts will be heavily involved in early stages, bringing a plethora of games such as Madden NFL, NBA Live 14, EA Sports UFC, and of course, FIFA Soccer 14. Meanwhile, fans of the Forza Motorsport series will be pleased to learn that Forza Motorsport 5 will be available from the get-go, and with Quantum Break, a the small matter of Call of Duty: Ghosts also joining the party, there’s plenty of action, adventure and competition for everybody to enjoy.

Xbox One Graphics

Xbox One Game screenshot

As aforementioned, the Xbox One has 8GB of RAM and an 8-core CPU, and Microsoft has already stated that its forthcoming console delivers up to eight times the graphics performance of its predecessor, the Xbox 360.

To elaborate further on that AMD-made custom SoC, you get your CPU/GPU chip, memory, controller logic, DRAM, and audio processors all molded into the one component, which in turn is connected straight to the heat sink through phase-change interface material.

Xbox One Release Date

While no specific date was given, Microsoft did however confirm that Xbox One will be available worldwide later this year. That would likely mean around November, 2013.

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