Microsoft officially announces Xbox One: here's what we know so far

By on May 21, 2013, 11:39 AM

microsoft xbox gaming console xboxreveal

Microsoft live streamed their hour-long Xbox reveal earlier this morning and we've compiled all the important bits that were covered at the event. Here's what we know so far.

Not an always-on machine

Microsoft’s Don Mattrick wasted little time hyping up the next generation Xbox as he took the stage at the company’s reveal event on the Microsoft campus in Redmond. Right out of the gate we now have a name for the “ultimate all-in-one entertainment system” – Xbox One.

What’s more, Microsoft didn’t just tease the console without showing it like Sony did a few months ago. Instead they showed the new sleek console, the new Kinect and Microsoft’s updated gamepad. Mattrick finally put to rest the notion that the new console would be an always-on machine: it isn't.

Hardware and operating system

The Xbox One features an eight-core CPU with more than 5 billion transistors, 8GB of system memory and a 500GB hard drive. What's more, the system includes a Blu-ray drive, 802.11n Wireless with Wi-Fi Direct, HDMI In/Out and USB 3.0. Every new Xbox One will ship with a Kinect sensor in the box.

Even more interesting, however, is the Xbox One architecture which is essentially three operating systems in one. It consists of the Xbox OS, the kernel of Windows and a third that connects the two operating systems together for seamless integration. What that means is there will be no waiting. Users will be able to switch to a game just like a TV channel flip.

Controller and Kinect

The controller bundled with the Xbox One is all-new and took years to develop. As you’d expect, Microsoft went through several prototypes and designs before nailing it down. Failed ideas include adding a speaker to the controller (a silly idea considering your television / aftermarket headset / home theater system has better audio) and adding a capacitive touchscreen to the gamepad (subtle wink at Sony). Microsoft said a screen on the controller was little more than a distraction.

At the end of the day, the best controller gives haptic feedback. As such, there are now tiny motors inside each trigger to give an “HD rumble” effect. But that’s not all that’s been improved as the biggest investment took place on the inside. The new controller is a lot more complicated which in turn, results in better performance. Microsoft said the new controller is at least 15 percent faster than the previous controller in terms of latency.

Much like what Valve is experimenting with, Microsoft is already putting into action with Kinect. The system will be able to see who is engaged in the game and how they are reacting. It can also see players in complete darkness using an active IR that removes ambient light. Things like heart tracking could be used to augment the gameplay experience as well.

Xbox Live: Gesture and voice controls, live television, sports

As you might expect, Xbox Live is getting a huge boost on the Xbox One. The system will now feature full voice and gesture support. For example, to turn the console on, simply say “Xbox on” and it’ll take you right to the home screen. Live also remembers what you were doing last so it’ll take you right back to it when you turn the system on.

Users can navigate through the service using gesture controls as well. For example, you can grab and swipe to switch between screens or grab and zoom to open a movie up in full screen.

Navigation isn’t the only new feature coming to Live. The console is getting an injection of live television that could totally change the landscape of the living room. With the Xbox One guide, you can use voice control for search and navigation, easily locate your favorite channels and also see what’s trending. There will be no more memorizing channels or hunting for remotes.

Trending is a new tab that shows what is popular in the entertainment world at any given moment. It can show what others are watching and allow you to jump into the most popular shows. The feature also works for on-demand video, we’re told.

With live television and support for Skype, Microsoft says this is the beginning of truly intelligent TV.

Sports fans will certainly appreciate the interactive content that’s built into Xbox One. As demonstrated at the media event, sports fans will be able to tap into their fantasy leagues and have their stats updated automatically as the action happens – right on the screen. An exclusive deal with the National Football League aims to make watching the game an interactive experience through products like SmartGlass, Skype and Kinect.

Live action Halo TV series

Microsoft announced an expansion of the Halo universe in the form of a live action Halo television series during the Xbox One reveal. Steven Spielberg will be the executive producer of the series. Bonnie Ross from 343 Industries noted that Halo has always been more than just a game. It’s unclear when the series will debut, who will star in it or if it will be available outside of Xbox Live.

Games

Microsoft didn’t spend a ton of time talking about games for the Xbox One – we expect more of that to come at E3 next month. They did, however, touch on a few key sports titles including NBA Live 14, EA Sports UFC, Madden NFL 25 and FIFA 14. Turn 10 Studios was on hand to show off the Xbox-exclusive driving simulator Forza Motorsport 5 while Alan Wake developer Remedy Entertainment talked about Quantum Break.

We do know that Microsoft is planning 15 exclusive titles for the console within the first year.

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Infinity Ward was on hand for the world premiere of Ghosts, the latest title in the Call of Duty franchise. The company said they didn’t want to do the safe thing and simply make Modern Warfare 4. Instead, they decided to build the title for the next generation.

It will feature new worlds, a new narrative and new characters powered by a next generation engine. Dynamic maps and character customizations in multiplayer are said to deliver a more immersive experience while self-casted shadows and a boosted polygon count will boost overall visuals. The game will run at 60FPS and feature low-latency controls, we’re told. And as always, Call of Duty DLC will launch first exclusively on Xbox One.

Xbox One isn’t backwards compatible with Xbox 360

Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with any features of the Xbox 360. That means you won’t be able to play any discs from the 360 on the new console nor will your Xbox Live Arcade titles work on the One. This is because the new system is based on a different core architecture. It’s really not a huge surprise and isn’t any different than the PlayStation 4 as both consoles are moving from a PowerPC architecture to an X86 CPU.

Xbox One carries a pre-owned fee for games

Microsoft has seemingly found a way to curb pre-owned sales on the Xbox One – implement a fee. With the new console, users will be required to install games to the hard drive in order to play them. Once a game is installed, it can be played without the disc being loaded into the console. As Wired points out, this means that each game will somehow be tied to a Live account or else a single disc could be passed around to friends and installed free of charge.

If the disc was used with a second account, the new “owner” would be given the option to pay a fee to install the game. Details on the second-owner fee are unknown at this hour but it could have devastating effects on the pre-owned market. What’s more, it seems you’ll no longer be able to take a game to your friend’s house and play it on their console without paying a fee.

What’s next for Xbox One

We know the Xbox One will ship worldwide later this year but as far as specific dates, none were given. We also have no idea how much Redmond plans to charge for the Xbox One. Microsoft is planning to showcase the next chapter of the Xbox One during E3 next month. It’s here that we will get a better idea of the lineup of games coming to the console and with any luck, information on pricing and availability.




User Comments: 88

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cmbjive said:

I'm willing to bet they will show the console. What would be even better is if they will allow preorders of the system now. If they do that, I am heading to the local GameStop without delay.

2 people like this | ETF Soldier ETF Soldier said:

I love the PS4 advertisement underneath...

De4ler De4ler said:

Now u can camp in CoD whit PC graphics

cmbjive said:

I was right!!!!!

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Xbox One

2 people like this | Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

It's really disappointing....

TheDreams TheDreams said:

That Call of Duty Ghosts commercial looks so sweet!

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think they're trying to do too much with it. People just want a new damn game console that will play state of the art games. They're trying to make it "everything for everybody" which will ultimately cause problems IMNHO. That's funny that if you say, "Xbox On" it'll "turn on." It will already have to be turned on just to hear that command! The whole voice/gesture command thing is obnoxious. It'll be a fun novelty for about 5 minutes, then people will get annoyed by it.

Will definitely be interesting to see what Steam and Sony come up with as competition.

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LOL...not ten seconds after I made my above post, a friend who is also watching the release show sent me this IM: "Meh. I want a game console to, you know, play games. All the other TV/Facebook/Twitter/social media integration is completely lost on me. And get off my lawn."

1 person liked this | supyo said:

The thing looks like an early 90's cd-rom based console or an ugly tv set top box. Disappointing. And to be honest, the games don't look all that next gen.

4 people like this | Puiu Puiu said:

Worst reveal in history.

1. No real gameplay, just some cherry picked scripted scenes.

2. Nobody actually even USED the console during the reveal.

3. Very few games "shown"

4. Why XBOX ONE? Isn't this the 3rd one?

5. They started with TV, then EA and ended with COD....

All I can say is that I'm disappointed.

wastedkill said:

Xbox one is that powerful it can play videos with amazing graphics talk about next gen a dvd player got nothing on xbox one. Microsoft: Watch this video being played on xbox one because thats all it can do...

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Now, people made fun of the Sony presentation for not showing off the console, instead it was much longer and showed off what a games console is supposed to play, GAMES!!

All they showed was EA sports games, Some game from Remedy that had a lot of smashed glass, a very short cut scene from a new Forza and Call of Duty?!

I think when it comes to games, the new Playstation has got this covered.

Want to watch TV though? (because its not like you can already) then the next Xbox is for you!

Unless your a massive sports fan (like every gamer out there, every single one is just massive fans of every sport of course) then Xbox One (which isn't confusing at all considering its the third Xbox) is for you!

They didn't delve into the specs of the machine that much meaning its probably relatively underwhelming to keep the price down so the Kinect is bundled with it, my bet, the rumors are right, DDR3 and a graphics card not as powerful as the Playstation's, plus I'm happy to bet the Playstation OS will be more lightweight than the Xbox's since it isn't required to do much, hell microsoft are claiming their are 3 (yes THREE) OS's running?!

On a good note though, the new controller looks pretty sleek, the force feedback in the triggers is genuinely intriguing and an integrated battery pack has been needed for quite some time.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Lets see if they can get all in one right........

2 people like this | JC713 JC713 said:

Looks great. I will stay with PC though. Xbox One > PS4. Too bad EA is way too affiliated. Finally we are seeing a CoD built on a new engine though.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

I think you guys should take a look at this: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/05/xbox-one/. They really put a lot of effort into this and I admire that.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All I can say is that I'm pretty excited. Today I use my PS3 mostly for watching movies and Netflix, and I occasionally game on it. But gaming has become sideline. This Xbox One takes what I've been doing all along and incorporates television in a way that I can relate to, Skype with the family, works with my phone, the Kinect is very smart, the system switches between TV, Movies, Games, Web instantly. It's a perfect upgrade.

The only thing unrelated to me is the Fantasy Sports that they demoed. Everything else they demoed speaks to me on how I use my console today and how I'd like to use it tomorrow.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think you guys should take a look at this: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/05/xbox-one/. They really put a lot of effort into this and I admire that.

So to confirm, you think Sony didn't put much effort in (or Nintendo for that matter) into their consoles?

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

So to confirm, you think Sony didn't put much effort in (or Nintendo for that matter) into their consoles?

Sony did, but for some reason, the Xbox One impressed me more. Dont get me wrong here my friend, I will judge when I see the PS4, but as of now, I am liking the Xbox more. Nintendo did put effort in. I have played Nintendo consoles since the N64, and I still love them more than any other console. I just feel like Nintendo needs to reveal an updated Wii U to survive. The Wii kind of killed the business in terms of popularity among older kids. Whenever I ask friends of mine if they have a Wii (I never really do anymore), they would be like, "That is a childs console". The unfortunate demise of the name is just too embedded in the industry now. They need to change the name, and appeal to older children to gain market share. Also, no one plays a DS anymore (other than hard core Nintendo fans). Just 3 years back, every one had one.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Where did the video go? I was watching it then I had to refresh the page and it's gone..

Guest said:

Three OSs?! Why they can't make it to one? I would call it as a failure if they can't make it into one like other OSs.

EmirSc EmirSc said:

But, it can run metro last light very high at 1080 with SSAO + Full Tess.?

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

The superpowered console OS is what has my attention. However the install to harddrive and not need disc is an interesting point:

-Will the harddrives have a high minimum storage (like 1TB)?

-Will games be connected to the One (hehe, sounds funny)? Or to your account (so if you "recover" it on a friends One, you will not need this "fee" I'm hearing about as long as your account is on it)?

-And the big one, will games start to come on USB sticks because discs will seem deprecated? Or are bluerays still too much cheaper to bother... (maybe copy the entire game on USB to play somewhere else almost instantly...)

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

T

-Will the harddrives have a high minimum storage (like 1TB)?

Don't know about your other points but they mentioned the console will come with a "500GB Hard Drive" so we can guess it comes with at least half a terabyte, lets hope they let us upgrade it like the ps3 did.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

I really like the new Kinect sensor and the remote. I just think the console is kind of clunky and large. Plus the console uses DDR3 not GDDR5 like the PS4 uses. Also, the wifi adapter doesnt support AC? How do they expect this to be future proof then. Also, why arent any of these consoles using hybrid HDDs?

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

Goodbye Microsoft, you had a good run, but you failed on the most basic of levels. You didnt listen to your customers. All the money Ive spent on XBOX live games. All the NEW titles Ive dropped money on. It means nothing to you. Well then, you mean nothing to me and you shall recieve nothing in abundance. Farewell MS. Give me a call when you decide to ACTUALLY listen to your customer base. Untill then you can pound the XB1 up your arses.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"HD rumble"... come on enough with the HD marketing crap, although this is an interesting feature.

Not sure about the design of the console though, doesn't look like they've put much effort into it.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah, the used game fee is going to be a real downer for me if I get one of these, though I play almost no xBox360 games. Also, at a full single side BD disk, 500GB will only be good for maybe 20 games. Granted, many games don't take the full disc, but it still will add up very fast if you're an avid gamer.

The official Sony announcement for the PS4 is not out yet, but I'll be sure to say something negative about that too, just to be fair. =)

Ravik Ravik said:

'HD Rumble'?? Now that's clever! (lol)

Personally I'm very much looking forward to this next round of console releases, if only because it will spark yet *another* fun round of "playground politics" across TechSpot. I couldn't be more excited!!!

1 person liked this | Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

T

-Will the harddrives have a high minimum storage (like 1TB)?

Don't know about your other points but they mentioned the console will come with a "500GB Hard Drive" so we can guess it comes with at least half a terabyte, lets hope they let us upgrade it like the ps3 did.

Looking at the pictures on Wired the Hard Drive is internal and placed in such a way that I see it being impossible to remove without voiding a warranty along the way. But Honestly did you think they'd pass up the opportunity to sell you an external hard drive later at astronomical costs?

"The company said they didn?t want to do the safe thing and simply make Modern Warfare 4." You know like that last half dozen freaking games you've made with the CoD stamp put on them... Xbox One can have exclusive CoD DLC, the franchise is dead to me.

"eight-core CPU with more than 5 billion transistors, 8GB of system memory and a 500GB hard drive" But the GPU doesn't matter or how fast your CPU is, but it has EIGHT GIGs of RAM yeah! It feels like I'm being sold a Desktop at Best Buy not a gaming console by any means.

On the bright side its not always online and the controller look neat... Not saving points by any means.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

With a fee to play it looks like any new game bought becomes basically worthless as soon as you install it? Sounds like a raw deal unless you like keeping games forever...

1 person liked this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who found it questionably weird that they didn't go into more detail about the graphics capability's.

Sony had Physic demo's and real time tech demo's, Microsoft barely had a dog with an ear tattoo...

JC713 JC713 said:

'HD Rumble'?? Now that's clever! (lol)

Personally I'm very much looking forward to this next round of console releases, if only because it will spark yet *another* fun round of "playground politics" across TechSpot. I couldn't be more excited!!!

The HD rumble concept from what I understand is the ability to make the remote rumble on certain area. So maybe if you are getting shot from one side, like your back for example, in a call of duty game, the part of the controller facing towards you will rumble, not the whole thing.

"HD rumble"... come on enough with the HD marketing crap, although this is an interesting feature.

Not sure about the design of the console though, doesn't look like they've put much effort into it.

I like the previous concepts of the casing. It is also bulky. A bunch of 3d prints got them no where. Check out the design video here: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/05/xbox-one/

1 person liked this | Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The used games fee is going to be a big killer if Sony don't follow them. Not a good move at all.

fimbles fimbles said:

The cloud computing element sounds very very interesting, 128 player cod sounds fun.

JC713 JC713 said:

The used games fee is going to be a big killer if Sony don't follow them. Not a good move at all.

Definitely. EAs attempt to change the used game market failed (just recently). The ability to play games in the cloud sounds interesting as Fimbles said (upload your disc game to the cloud so you can play it on another persons Xbox).

JC713 JC713 said:

The cloud computing element sounds very very interesting, 128 player cod sounds fun.

Well that is not gonna happen lol. If it does, then the game will be pure chaos.

Guest said:

Looking at this article makes me want to build a new computer to play games on it.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

So basically the same size as the old one, with over a year old pc parts thrown in and the fanboys go wild like its something otherworldy...lol. Looks like 1997 called they want their VCR design back.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

That is one huge console, about the size of my htpc (C37 Lian Li case.) I do like the aesthetics, would fit with my home theater a lot better.

insect said:

So basically the same size as the old one, with over a year old pc parts thrown in and the fanboys go wild like its something otherworldy...lol. Looks like 1997 called they want their VCR design back.

You're too generous saying "one year old PC parts"....

I think I've been running >=8GB RAM for at least two years. I'm willing to bet the HDD in the new Xbox is an old-spinner type also. SSD would be too expensive. Last but not least - you're limited by your TV. PC monitors have been ahead of TVs since about the late 90's and will be for the foreseeable future.

Either way, thing will cost 400 bucks to start and PC with the same specs will cost close to that (not including monitor), and maybe a tad more if you have to get a keyboard and mouse. PC still wins cause of benefits of a PC over a game console (which the PC already is an all-in-one).

fimbles fimbles said:

Well that is not gonna happen lol. If it does, then the game will be pure chaos.

I was pretty sure he mentioned it in the video, but maybe I imagined it ? O.o

I agree it would be chaos unless the maps were massive,

danhodge danhodge said:

Can anyone tell me which will be the most powerful? Since we don't know that much about the processor (at least for the PS4, I have heard this is a customized Jaguar), lets just assume they are the same: I am interested in the RAM.

Will the PS4 perform better because it uses GDDR5 instead of DDR3? Will it run games better, but all the other stuff not as much?

Thanks!

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

7850 type GPU power is respectable for a console. It's exactly what I recommended months ago, no joke.

1 person liked this | fredderf81 said:

TomSEA: Chill out man, if you don't like some of the features you will simply turn most, not all, of them off. besides, the issue here is not pleasing you or 2 of your friends. the point of a company is to make a profitable product that the majority of customers will enjoy. social media, while a complete waste of time in my opinion, is extremely popular. so are netflix, television, hulu, etc. microsoft has done an excellent job of incorporating all of these into a device hoping customers who use all of them will buy the device and create a profit. I'm SURE the console will still play your games just fine

fredderf81 said:

The superpowered console OS is what has my attention. However the install to harddrive and not need disc is an interesting point:

-Will the harddrives have a high minimum storage (like 1TB)?

-Will games be connected to the One (hehe, sounds funny)? Or to your account (so if you "recover" it on a friends One, you will not need this "fee" I'm hearing about as long as your account is on it)?

-And the big one, will games start to come on USB sticks because discs will seem deprecated? Or are bluerays still too much cheaper to bother... (maybe copy the entire game on USB to play somewhere else almost instantly...)

from what I can tell, what happens with windows8 anyway, is one could log on at your buddy's place and your 'desktop' appears on the xbox...insert the disc, the owner check happens and the game can most likely be played. I'm not sure, just speaking from industry experience.

fredderf81 said:

Three OSs?! Why they can't make it to one? I would call it as a failure if they can't make it into one like other OSs.

*sigh*

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Hmm... maybe used games will be a lot cheaper now at retail, to make up for the small fee (if that's the case, I can't see why it would bug me much)...

Lionvibez said:

Hmm... maybe used games will be a lot cheaper now at retail, to make up for the small fee (if that's the case, I can't see why it would bug me much)...

haha ya right.

most of us will die of old age before that happens.

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