Microsoft announced its newest gaming console, the Xbox One, Tuesday, and it plans to position the console as the intersection between television, gaming and other entertainment in your living room.
Microsoft made an hour-long presentation that emphasized the Xbox One's new hardware, impressive graphics, connected interfaces and upcoming games. While we should learn much more from the company at it E3 presentation June 10, Mashable wanted to break down what we know right now about the Xbox One.
HardwareThe Xbox One is a large, black, glossy box meant to rest on its side, with a top-loading optical drive. You can see a 360-degree view of the console below.
While Microsoft didn't release exact technical specs, we know the Xbox One is running on a 8-core AMD processor with x86 architecture, with 8 gigs of RAM. It features a 500 GB hard drive, three USB 3.0 ports, and a Blu-Ray drive. It features 802.11 n/g/b wireless with Wifi Direct, as well as Bluetooth.
SEE ALSO: Xbox One Compared With PS4 and Wii UThe software running on the Xbox One is more complex. The system has three distinct operating systems running in concert with each other. The first is an upgraded version of the Xbox operating system, the second is based on the Windows NT kernel, and the third helps discussion between the two.
The Xbox One is able to handle multiple processes at once using what Microsoft has dubbed Snap. During Tuesday's presentation, Yusef Mehdi, SVP of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment branch, demonstrated how he could run a movie, then cue up an Internet Explorer window and have it show the trailer for the sequel.
Microsoft said multitasking is a big feature of the hardware, and the GPU is designed to multitask so you can run several rendering and computation threads at once, according to Todd Holmdahl, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Hardware. Another example used was that players could watch a movie while waiting for in-game matchmaking could find them players, all on one TV.
Television ConnectivityMicrosoft has made its biggest play for the living room yet with the Xbox One. The console has both HDMI out and in, and can interface with your cable set-top box to add an Xbox layer to your viewing.
Along with finding your channels via the interface, Xbox One will respond to voice commands to like "Play MTV". Mehdi demonstrated being able to switch channels on stage, all with the sound of his voice. This voice command feature also ties into Microsoft's second pass at the Kinect.
New KinectVoice and gestures seem to control much more on the Xbox One. The console can boot from off just with a simple "Xbox On" Voice command. Mehdi showed how grabbing the screen could zoom into a window, and pushing out brought you back to the home screen.
The Kinect received a major overhaul. The sensor bar, presumably bundled with every Xbox One, can now detect and transmit video at 1080p. It can now see and include six figures into its processing, up from two for the Xbox 360. The sensor can be used and smaller rooms, and players will be able to get closer to the Xbox, according to information Holmdahl revealed during Microsoft's second broadcast Tuesday.
The Kinect will also be able to detect eye movements, and tell if you are engaged with the console or not. Pairing that with its extreme voice recognition means the Xbox One will know an awful lot about the player. Holmdahl said it will be able to pick up on hand gestures and smaller objects with more precision than its predecessor.
Also integrated is an IR sensor that matches with sensors on the controller. The Kinect will now be able to tell where each controller is in the room, and, thanks to its voice- and face-recognition data, know who is holding what controller.
The ControllerThe controller itself will look familiar on the outside to any fans of the Xbox 360. The button positioning has remained largely the same, though Microsoft has made many tweaks under the hood.
The biggest controller change, along with the above-mentioned IR, is that the triggers on its top provide haptic feedback to the player when pressed. Developers can add feedback for any instance you'd use those buttons to add a level of immersion to the gameplay.
There were also smaller tweaks made to the design. The battery pack on the controller's rear has been flipped 90 degrees, a blessing for players with longer fingers that always found themselves hitting that during gameplay. The directional pad has also been modified to be more articulated.
The Xbox 360 controllers will not be supported on the Xbox One, Microsoft said.
GamesDespite the limited time allotment for Microsoft's announcement, the company still managed to feature a lot of games in its presentation.
Xbox Studio head Phil Spencer said 15 Xbox-exclusive titles would be coming to the console within the first year of release, and eight of those would be entirely new franchises. Xbox's racing franchise Forza would make a return in Forza Motorsport 5.