So the new Xbox has been finally announced, with the title Xbox One. Bit of a duff name since technically it’s the 3rd one, but hey Microsoft are in their own world when it comes to technology. The Surface was a great concept for example, which Microsoft thought people would buy by the boatload since there are so many Apple haters out there. Unfortunately an overpriced tablet only works if you’re Apple and have a devoted fan base that will follow you off a cliff.
Anyway, now we have a new console that gamers eagerly prepared for, and at the end of it were left somewhat empty and disappointed. It was like hiring a magician who forgot his main props at home.
First the console itself, style wise as many people have stated, it looks like a shiny VCR. While Sony couldn’t shake off being called a George Foreman, Microsoft is going to have some problems stepping away from VCR. Microsoft Xbox One comes packing an x64 8-core AMD CPU, USB 3.0 ports, 500GB hard drive and 8GB DDR3 RAM. Like the Slims it has wireless N features built in, as well as Wi Fi Direct, allowing you to stream from Wi-Di enabled devices.
Microsoft want the box to be your all in one entertainment experience so the one big thing they were pushing was its Tv functionality. Gamers will be able to switch directly from games to on demand content, while also being able to watch Blu-Rays, browse the internet as well as Skype. Interestingly the Xbox One has a built in DVR allowing you to possibly edit those favourite game movements and upload them to your YouTube account. This could be expanded in the future to act like your Sky or TiVo. The 500GB hard drive would probably need to be expanded for this to work well though.
The Kinect has also gotten a big overhaul, with a full 1080p camera allowing better following of movement, which even includes monitoring your heart rate. The Kinect for the 360 was a bit of a gimmick, so I’m hoping that it is much more integrated this time round. They’ve pretty much set it up to be your preferred way of controlling the controller, so it looks like they are paying more attention to it this time!
Now the part that has gamers riled up, the Xbox One will require an internet connection to get the best functionality out of it, but currently sources are unclear whether this will need to be an always on connection to keep it running. Some sources say the single player parts of the game can be played offline, while others say the Xbox need to be connected to the internet every 24 hours, while others finally saying, nope, connect to the internet or no gaming for you!
Another issue, gamers are going to have issues trading and sharing their games. Where as previously we could just simply go to a nearby store and hand over a game we were bored with, it now appears we have to sell it over Xbox Live. No idea what happens to the physical disc. It appears we also can no longer share games, it looks like they have to be purchased all over again if you attempt to play on a profile that the game isn’t tied to. You can borrow the profile it belongs to, but don’t expect to play the game on your own account. This happens because once the game is installed to the drive, the disc is no longer needed. Its pretty much like Steam, where by you download the games to your account and that’s where all your purchases are stored.
Overall the console specs are great, but it seems Microsoft has gone bananas with the DRM. Looks like we’ll see how it all works on release!