What you need to know about the new Xbox in “One”
“Xbox, on!” Many gamers rejoiced when this phrase was said at the grand reveal of the latest iteration of the best-selling console of this generation, the “Xbox One” (sorry HTC One’s marketing team.)
Let’s take a look at all you need to know.
Most impressive is the software architecture used; or rather the three used.
There’s a Xbox OS for gaming, a Windows (8) OS for handling apps and UI, and a third OS which acts as a layer in-between allowing for literal instant switching between features.
Plenty of services were shown on screen; although few demoed (we were teased “a lot more to be seen at E3”) it seems a no-brainer third party developers will be able to utilise the Windows 8 kernel for their development, especially since the new Xbox completes Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Lest we should hope so; the apps demoed use the same “Snap Views” found on Windows 8 to efficiently multi-task with custom views for the area available.
This means you could be part way through a game (using the Xbox OS) and if you receive Skype calls (using the Windows OS) then you may have it dock to the side so you can continue your gaming without interruption.
Another innovative use of these snap views displayed a real-time fantasy football app whilst watching the announced ESPN and NFL channels; anytime you want to brag to friends, simply say “Xbox, call [insert hapless friend’s name]” and get taunting!
Want to suspend the app and go “home”? Simply ‘grab’ the screen.
Natural interface recognition comes courtesy of a greatly improved Kinect 2.0; offering improved voice recognition, along with better gesture control, 1080p capture, wide-angle lens, and IR-sensing... so it can even see you in a pitch-black room.
The potential here for development is near-infinite; personally I can’t wait to see what creative ideas the world creates. Even the new controller features “freaking awesome” rumbling triggers, whilst Kinect knows which player is holding the control and will switch accordingly.
Ben Kilgore, corporate vice president of interactive entertainment business, when asked by Polygon if the Kinect 2 will see a Windows release responded: "At some point down the line, yeah."
Cloud is a huge part of the new Xbox; of course powered by Microsoft’s Xbox Live. The service launched with 500 servers; today Xbox Live has 15,000 servers; by the time Xbox One is released Microsoft plan to have 300,000 online (that’s not a typo).
These new servers will help power the vast entertainment library; from music, to videos, to downloadable games, to instant cloud-saved games, to the new Spielberg-produced Halo TV series.
Of course gaming hasn’t been left out; a newly revamped matchmaking system allows you to carry on playing another game or other activity whilst you wait to be queued for your next thrashing on Call of Duty: Ghosts (giving the thrashing, right?)
This year Microsoft is again in battle with Sony’s PS4; but it may no longer be down to specs. Both are incredibly similar unlike the last generation's (PowerPC vs. Cell) which should help make cross-platform development much easier; especially for smaller studios.
The Xbox One has a 8-core AMD SoC (8x more powerful than Xbox 360, Microsoft claim) alongside 8GB RAM and a whole host of ports including; USB 3.0, HDMI Out (supports 4k) and HDMI In (for inputting TV functionality.)
Microsoft is set to release the new Xbox “later this year”. We’ll see more at E3, and now is a good time for you to start thinking how to put this latest technology through its paces.
Are you impressed by the Xbox One? Do you plan on developing for the console and / or hardware including the Kinect 2?