Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One, the latest console which is set to usher in the next generation of gaming. The highly anticipated console was revealed on Tuesday at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters and represents the first main stream all-in-one entertainment system, which promises to be all households will need for their gaming, movie and television needs.
The last Xbox 360 console was released back in 2005, and since then the gaming platform has transformed. Console sales are declining as players are now demanding more from them and companies are facing new competition from tablet and smartphone content. As game websites, such as MoneyGaming and EA shift to the mobile audience, Nintendo are inviting app developers to port their titles onto the new Wii U to boost sales and Sony are including new social features in their upcoming PlayStation 4.
It therefore came as no surprise that the most recent Microsoft offering would include radical new features in an attempt to match the success of the 360, and secure the top spot on the console market. On its website, Microsoft wasted no time praising the Xbox One as the revolutionary console it has the potential to be, saying:
“Welcome to a new generation of games and entertainment. Where games push the boundaries of realism, and television obeys your every command. Where listening to music while playing a game is a snap, and you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant. Where your experience is custom tailored to you, and the entertainment you love is all in one place. Welcome to the all-in-one, Xbox One.”
But how exactly has the Xbox One changed the face of gaming?
One of the most intriguing features is its TV and movie functionality. Yusuf Mehdi, the Senior Vice President of Microsoft demonstrated the seamless voice controls that allow users to switch back and forth between apps and change between channels simply by saying the name of the show they wish to watch. The Xbox One also features its own TV guide and offers live NFL broadcasts and fantasy statistics, due to a new partnership deal.
The Xbox One is also capable of running multiple applications across a split screen, allowing users to watch a movie, browse the internet, play the latest game title or Skype with their friends simultaneously. Switching between the applications will also be a smoother experience with the improved version of the camera-based Kinect system, which boasts better voice and motion detection.
To appeal to the more hardcore gaming audience and stay one-step ahead of their rivals, Microsoft announced that new content for the popular Call of Duty title would be available to download on the Xbox One ahead of all other game systems. Further titles will also be announced at the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles next month.
The family friendly Kinect features, and the focus on internet and entertainment access, as well as the exclusive game titles that Microsoft offer have helped to ensure that the new Xbox One will appeal to casual and dedicated gamers alike. However, it is yet to be seen whether this all-purpose device will be enough to stave off competition from the mobile and internet gaming industry.
“The new device, the Xbox One, is a big gamble by Microsoft that it can re-establish the living room as the place where people can get the best gaming experience, with the most eye-popping graphics and innovative methods for controlling games,” said Nick Wingfield of the New York Times.
Microsoft’s new console is expected to debut later this year, but until then it is yet to be seen whether the Xbox One signals the beginning of a new gaming generation or the end of the console era.