Microsoft just wrapped up an hour-long presentation that unveiled to the world the next-edition Xbox—called the "Xbox One." I came away worried about how I'll look while repeatedly talking to myself in an empty room. There were better highlights. Let's go through them now.
THE NEW CALL OF DUTY HAS DOGS.
(This game's trailer literally focused on your virtual dog for two minutes. These guys aren't fucking around with their dogs.)
Alright. Stay there, puppy.
10. The machine is called the Xbox One.
Not the 720, as was widely rumored. Nor the Xbox Fusion, nor the Xbox: Infinity, which had its moment in the sun after a Reddit user created a (pretty convincing) fake logo. Just the Xbox One. Wasn't there already essentially Xbox One released over a decade? Let's move on: This literally doesn't matter at all.
9. It comes out later this year.
There was never really any doubt about this, especially after Playstation also timed its PS4 release for the holiday market. Xbox is going to want that sweet, sweet Santa Claus money come November/December, and expect the usual sellouts and price gouges that come with every new video game console release. Unsurprisingly, we received no price details during the announcement. (We still don't know what cost Sony will set for its machine, either.)
8. The machine looks sweeeet.
If you look for talk about the Xbox specs in the Youtube comments up there, you might end up throwing yourself onto a busy intersection—so I'll lay 'em out for you here:
- 8GB RAM
- 64-bit architecture
- USB 3.0
- WiFi direct
- 500 GB HDD
- A camera that captures video at 500 GB HDD
- "Silent" operation (This better not be a lie. After spending six years with my 360, it now sets off car alarms if I turn it on too fast. Don't change the definition of the word "silent" here, Microsoft.)
It's similar in a lot of ways to what we saw with the Playstation 4. Under the hood, both look more like high-end PCs than video game consoles.
The actual look of the thing is reportedly fairly boxy. It's bigger than a 360 and comes in a glossy black. According to Wired, "The front is nearly without embellishment; even the optical disc drive slot blends into the frontpiece of the box. On the whole, it looks more like a TiVo than any gaming console I’ve ever known." Its controller has been improved in "40 different ways," but, other than a few ergomanic enhancements, its look and feel haven't been altered significantly.
7. You talk to it.
Kinect is shipped standard. When you turn the One on (by saying "Xbox On"), the Kinect will recognize you and even read your heartbeat—useful for both fitness games and your inevitable murder at the hands of the machines. Voice commands inputted into the Kinect can lead you around "Xbox On," the system's home interface, which allows you to do things like simultaneously watch ESPN and check your fantasy scores. (Or talk to friends via the standard Skype software. This came off as pretty cool.)
Like I said above, think of the One, in a lot of ways, as a high-end TV/computer mix.
6. Online content is stored in a cloud.
300,000 servers are now dedicated to the cloud storage and online gameplay. That's up from 15,000. By my calculations, that's, roughly, a large increase.
5. 'Intelligent TV'
This was a big theme throughout the press conference. Microsoft touted a 1984-esque "relationship" with your TV. You talk to it, saying, "Xbox, watch TV" and it'll tell you what's popular via "Xbox Trending." You can also ask what shows are on that night, in case you ever forget Game of Thrones comes on Sundays.
Have you noticed we haven't talked about games yet? There's a reason why the announcement's first 40 minutes were consumed with other particulars before showing actual gameplay: The Xbox One has a strong focus on overall entertainment. Not just the deets of the new Call of Duty.
4. Hey, Steven Spielberg!
Spielberg is involved in a new "premium" TV series based off the Halo universe. Translation: Xbox has also thrown its hat in the original content ring. Like I've said before, more competition in this area is nothing but a good thing. If Netflix brought back Arrested Development, is it unreasonable to think that Xbox might one day bring back something like Firefly?
3. The games
First, the bad news: You can no longer play used games. Games are installed on a hard drive and linked to your Xbox Live account, and if you want to install the game on another console, you have to pay a fee. This is kind of shitty. (As is this: The Xbox One will not be backward capable.)
Now, the good: The games look beautiful. A long EA Sports segment—that also played up the ways you'll feel the crowd by playing with Kinect—showed some preliminary gameplay, and you can literally see the blades of grass moving on the Madden NFL fields. A new franchise, Quantum Break, looks intriguing. And, on launch, there will be 15 games to choose from, including the new Call of Duty: Ghosts. Ghosts was especially interesting—the makers compared the graphics of each character, and the aesthetic difference was staggering.
2. Just watch these trailers
I'll shut up.
Ghosts (with the aforementioned dogs):
Forza Motorsport 5:
1. Xbox One and the NFL partnered up
We know this because of a hilariously awkward pre-taped interview segment between Roger Goodell and Xbox prez Don Mattrick. The One will offer "exclusive" NFL content, including fantasy stats, live NFL action, other features. Perhaps NFL Sunday Ticket too?