After three months of anticipation and loads of speculation, the Xbox One was announced to the eager public at a special event held on May 21st. Unlike the secretive PS4 reveal, we were treated to a full unveil of the hardware, including the capabilities, tech specs and concepts behind the Xbox One.
It’s fair to say that the reveal was met with a mixed reception amongst journalists and consumers, and it has certainly sparked fierce debate in the Xpango office.
There’s no shortage of articles, blogs and commentaries about the Xbox One, but we decided to wait a couple of weeks for the dust to settle before having our say on the things we like, and the things we don’t like about Microsoft’s next gen offering.
The tech specs and capabilityThe world has been waiting with baited breath for Microsoft to reveal its next generation consoleWith an 8-core custom built CPU from AMD, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500GB hard drive and full 1080p Kinect 2 camera, the Xbox One also supports 4K resolution and 7.1 surround sound. To put things in perspective, this makes the console about 8 times as powerful as the Xbox 360 straight out of the box!
Although by the time it is launched, this will be comparable with an entry level gaming PC, it’s a massive upgrade from the current generation of consoles, and is bound to open up a new world of possibilities when it comes to both graphics and gameplay.
In addition, Microsoft has also claimed that the Xbox One will also be able to take advantage of additional storage and processing capacity via the cloud, making the console 40 times more powerful than its predecessor (theoretically at least).
Another big positive is the controller, which looks like a refined version of the existing Xbox 360 pad (no bad thing in our book). Microsoft claims the new gamepad includes over 40 improved or new features, and although you’d be hard pressed to name them all just by looking at it, there are some significant upgrades.
Perhaps our favourite new improvement is the inclusion of force feedback into the shoulder buttons, which have been renamed as “dynamic impulse triggers”. We can see this adding an extra layer of immersion to first person shooters, and also giving players a useful indicator of the direction they are being damaged from.
Microsoft have also changed altered the back of the pad, reshaping the bulky battery pack into a smaller, more refined package. In addition, the thumb sticks and d-pad have also been redeveloped to allow for better precision and control.
All in one entertainment features
The Xbox One reveal focused heavily on the console as an ‘All in One’ entertainment system.
In practice, this means that the console will be able to snap applications like Skype, media player and internet explorer to the side of the screen, and easily switch between them whilst playing, for seamless multitasking.
It will also be able to link up to your existing TV set-top box via HDMI, meaning that you will be able to watch TV, change channels and access the programme guide through the XBOX One, without changing the input. In addition, you’ll also be able to utilise the Kinect voice commands to control your viewing.
Microsoft has already confirmed that there will be 15 exclusive titles coming to the Xbox One in the first year of release, including 8 brand new franchises.
Already on the confirmed list are Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break (new IP), Halo 5 and Ryse (new IP), and we expect this list to grow significantly following this year’s E3.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play your Xbox or Xbox 360 games on the new Xbox One. Apparently, this is because games designed for the Xbox 360s Xenon processor won’t run natively on the new console, which utilises x86 architecture.
Of course, Sony will have the same problem with the PS4, so this shouldn’t influence your buying choice, and on the plus side, the move to X86 should make it easier for developers to create new games for both consoles.
Second hand games
As you’ve probably heard, Microsoft has been coming under a lot of fire for its plans to permanently lock games to individual Xbox One consoles, and to charge an additional transfer/activation fee if you buy a game second hand.
In practice, this means that you won’t be able to lend games to your friends without also lending them your Xbox account details, and prices of used games are likely to rise significantly.
This is turning out to be quite big deal, with Sony revealing at E3 that they will not limit the exchange of games – this could be a significant factor in the console wars.
Mandatory Kinect and internet connection
Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One won’t function if Kinect isn’t attached to the console, and the rumours are all pointing to it always being active – so you can’t buy an Xbox One without Kinect, you can’t unplug it, and you can’t turn it off (although you can deactivate the camera).
We’re not massively keen on Microsoft having access to an all seeing camera and audio recording device in our living room, and we’re not the only ones – consumers and privacy campaigners are already voicing their opinions on the issue.
In addition, although the Xbox One won’t need to a permanent internet connection to work, it will need to ‘check in’ to the internet at least once a day. Whilst this won’t affect the vast majority of gamers living in major cities, more rural users or those with poor internet connections may find this more of a problem. Sony have confirmed that the PS4 won’t require an internet connection to function.
When can I have One?
November 2013 – but you can pre-order with Xpango so start earning your credits now!
How much will it cost?
Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will go on sale at £429 / $499 which is fairly steep and noticeably more ($100) than the PS4. This appears to be because the Xbox One comes with Kinect, but is an interesting move as price is a key factor.
So which is better – Xbox One or PS4?
Honestly, it’s impossible to tell, and we’d be willing to bet this particular debate will continue to rage for the next 5 years or so!
Tech spec wise, there is very little to choose between the two consoles, and we don’t envision there being much difference between the quality of the games on either console, at least for the first year after launch.
Just as in every generation of console war since the 80s, the PS4 and Xbox One will live and die on the quality of their exclusive software releases. Both Sony and Microsoft have already secured a few exclusives for the new generation of consoles, and it’s far too early for us to put our necks on the line and name a victor.
We will have another post soon with our thoughts on the E3 conference in LA, both camps are unveiling a selection of exclusive launch titles, and we can’t wait to see them in action.
In the meantime, tell us what you think about the Xbox One in the comments below!
Select your Free Xbox One today!
You can now select your Free Xbox One with Xpango and start earning credits towards it today! Save up your credits and we will ensure you have a pre-order ready for you on launch! (You can do the same for a Free PS4 too!).
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