It has been nearly 8 years since Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 system and took the gaming world by storm with highly integrated online features built into many games and the overall user experience. Yesterday, the company announced its foray into the next generation of gaming at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, revealing the Xbox One to the world.
Not to be confused with the first Xbox which hit the market in 2001, the Xbox One is certainly a modern piece of hardware through and through. As should be expected with the release of any new gaming system, an upgrade in specifications will afford improved graphics and other enhancements to the next generation of games. 500 GB of storage, an 8-core x86 processor, and 8 GB of RAM mean the One will certainly have the horsepower to push games to their limits.
That power will do more than just improve graphics, however, as the system is intended to be a multimedia center for all kinds of content. HDMI inputs will allow owners to plug their cable boxes into the new Xbox and access their favorite TV shows through one central hub. The new Kinect sensor will let users instantly switch from video games to movies to live TV and back with a simple voice command, sparing them the time and hassle of switching between inputs on the television remote. Simple hand gestures can also collapse and expand the main screen to open up new windows so users can video chat with friends while playing games, surf the web while watching TV, or check the channel guide while watching a movie.
Different individuals in the same household will have the ability to create custom profiles tailored to their individual preferences, making their favorite programs, games, and media content particularly easy to access straight from the homescreen. A trending feature will let users stay in the loop on what games and shows are the most popular among their friends and the larger Xbox Live community, and Sports Fans will be able to pull up stats as well as their fantasy team’s performance right alongside games as they’re being played to stay on top of every scoreboard and stat-sheet.
Of course, the Xbox is a gaming console and will provide some advancements for the video game faithful. Cloud services will allow gamers to back up their saved data online, restore previously downloaded games after they’ve been deleted, and pause games to perform different tasks then resume from the exact point the game was stopped. Users will also be able to play games even as they are first installed and while updates are downloaded, alleviating the need to wait before playing. On the downside, the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with 360 game discs or old Xbox Live downloads.