After a long period of speculation and rumours, and hot on the heels of the Sony PS4 unveiling, Microsoft has finally unveiled the new Xbox One, but has it lived up to our dreams and just how many of the denied rumours were actually true?
The new Xbox One is going to be more than just a console, it's going to be the centre of your entertainment world and your living room. Xbox are claiming that 'you and your television are going to have a relationship' and that they are 'about to change entertainment forever.' But just how are they going to do this? New tech!
The new Kinect is going to be incredibly central to the new system, it will recognise not only your voice but you as a person.
Don Mattrick said that it will 'Put you at the centre of a new generation in the living room.' The phase that was repeated more than once was clearly the mantra for this new generation and something we will be hearing more of 'Simple, Instant and Complete' and this is the core idea behind the new technology.
Yusuf Mehdi asked 'What if a single device could provide all of your entertainment, what if it could talk to all your devices and control all of your equipment?' This is what the new Xbox One will be able to do. With a single voice control you can turn on your Xbox and television. The new interface is familiar but now remembers what you were last doing be it playing a game, watching a movie or television. The new Trending Area gives a snapshot of what is popular in the entertainment world both with your friends and over the entire Xbox network.
A simple command such as 'Xbox watch tv' instantly changes over to show live Tv so there'll be no more having to change channels or dig out the tv remote from the back of the sofa. With this new technology you will be able to switch over instantly between games, television, movies and the internet. Oh and you can Skype people too all with a waft of your arms or a yell of a command.
If you aren't sure what to watch on television....Xbox One....whichever it is, then the new Xbox One guide will help you out. Providing a voice controlled search, trending programmes and favourites area you can pin content to one space and keep up with all your series. Trending lets you see what everyone in the Xbox community is watching, but this isn't just for live TV there's also on-demand listings too.
Skyping during live television will be quite a good function for live events such as sports games, elections and, of course, Eurovision! Being able to connect with friends while watching the programmes is a great idea from Microsoft as it's what many of us do via the social networks anyway, only this will be more direct.
Microsoft are calling this 'the beginning of truly intelligent television' and, if it lives up to the hype, it will certainly alter how we watch and use television.
Marc Whitten took to the stage to explain more about the technology that powers the Xbox One. With 8GB RAM, 64bit architecture and 5 billion transistors (random fact of the day!) the new Xbox will be virtually silent. It will run on three operating systems; the best of xbox OS, the kernal of windows making it 'flexible, powerful and simple' and a third OS which connects the other two giving better control and power.
The new Kinect sensor is really the thing they are excited about and what is central to everything.
It will come paired with every Xbox One and will that learn your voice in more natural way that the current one (so, we won't have to yell 14 times?) The Kinect 1080p camera is clearer and crisper making your Skype calls glorious but also improving the quality of Kinect controlled games. They have also revolutionised the skeletal form that the Kinect can 'see' adding more joints and a greater understanding of muscles. Oh, and it can read your heart beat when exercising.
The controller itself has been updated with over 40 design innovations, impulse triggers, new D-pad for 'immersive gaming'. Apparently it has been 'designed for gamers by gamers.'
Smartglass is also still going to be around and Microsoft were very pleased to tell us that 10 million downloads of Smartglass have already happened since it launched. There wasn't much detail on exactly how they are going to use this though. The Kinect, controller, smart glass, are all going to be better connected and create a more fluid and smooth experience. The Kinect sensor binds everything together recognising you and your controller, your voice and gestures, with 'a lag free instant and complete experience.'
The new Xbox Live for Xbox One is built on same membership but will now more personal and powerful. 15K servers currently power XBL but 300k servers will power the Xbox One XBL, nothing was mention about any integration between the two though, hmmmm. Content will be available and stored in cloud be it music, tv, games etc. Playing games is brought to a whole new level, you can now save, edit and share your moments of victory and achievements. Basically, you can show off to your friends much easier, which is something we all like doing, don't lie! You'll play richer matches with the new matchmaking system which allows you to find a match in a game while playing another or watching a movie. This new architecture will allow bigger matches with more players, living in persistent worlds.
Andrew Wilson of EA revealed a 'brand new broad partnership between EA and Xbox.' EA Sports on Xbox One means 'games should be dynamic, intelligent rich with emotion and fun. Fifa 14, Madden NFL, UFC and NBA Live will all launch in the next 12 months and will 'be revolutionary, changing the way you play.'
There's also a new games engine; EA Sports Ignite. This has been 'designed to blur the line between real and virtual, with true player motion, human intelligence and a greater field of vision with greater awareness. Human like intelligence from the engine and 10 times more animation depth and detail allows you greater and more natural control of movements to win your games. 3D crowds, dynamic sideline, constant updates will make the experience better than ever before.
Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Studios, promised exclusives and to be first for content with a commitment unlike any previous generation. They 'will broaden the landscape for the storyteller' And has said that the Microsoft teams across the world are currently 'building original content to amaze and showcase the Xbox One power.'
Forza Motorsport 5 will be a game available at launch and the video footage showed the cars looking sleeker and more 'real' than before, with greater depth on shine and shadow etc. 'Turn10 studios have redefined what we can expect from a racing game.'
First experiences define our gaming experience. Cloud powered games that change depending on how the community are using them. Time and weather wear and tear showing on items etc
Remedy, the people who brought us Max Payne' are 'world class storytellers' and in their new game Quantum Break the actions you take and choices you make shape your experience as the story unfolds. There wasn't much detailed to be gleamed from the trailer but it looks to be about super human abilities and guns. The tagline was 'time is the fire in which we burn.'
Microsoft Studios are now investing in other studios more than ever and have more titles in development now than ever. There are currently 15 exclusive Xbox games, 8 of which are new franchises, under development.
Nancy Tellem – Ex CBS and Warner Brothers now entertainment and digital media president of Microsoft – explained how Xbox Entertainment Studios are altering television viewing from 'a one way street.' Television on Xbox One 'will immerse you, enabling you to jump into the action' and will be 'personalised for you tastes and needs.' Only on Xbox, television will become social, driven and shaped by the 10s of million on the xbox live community. At this moment out teams are rethinking dramas, comedies, live events and digital shorts.
Bonnie Ross Head of 343 joined Nancy on stage for some exciting Halo news. They will be creating a Halo live action television series with the aid of none other than Steven Spielberg. There seems to be a feeling of interaction and integration here between television and the Xbox One, but there wasn't much detail. Perhaps that will come at E3?
Back to Nancy and on to live sports, in particular HandEgg...I mean, NFL. Microsoft want to 'make the Xbox your home for sports' and they promise to 'change the viewing experience and the sport itself.' NFL always brought in technology to make the game more exciting for people both in the stadium and at home and now they will be using the MS technology to aid managers and players, as well as changing the experience at home. Exclusive content will be available that will use smartglass, Kinect and other innovations bringing fantasy football to life. This will make Fantasy Football easier and better to play with your friends as live broadcast and Fantasy Football games will be connected, updating the game and allowing you to talk to and taunt friends via Skype.
Console Launching later this year around the world. Just the beginning will show you the next chapter including exclusive games at E3.
And finally Eric Hirshberg, Activision CEO climbed up on stage to peach the word of the new Call of Duty game; Call of Duty Ghosts. He also confirmed that all DLC for Call of Duty will continue to launch first on the Xbox.
Activision and Infinity Ward didn't want to be safe and boring and just make CoD4, which they could have done instead they have made CoD Ghosts. This embraces the new technology and has create a whole new Call of Duty game with new characters in a new world running on a new engine; SubD.
Mark Rubin of Infinity Ward explained how they were working with award winning writer Stephen Gaghan to create a deeper story for the game. Set after a mass event, the whole of America (they didn't mention the rest of the world) has been crippled, the government crushed and for once you are playing as an underdog fighting back. Your team is made up of what is left of the special forces and you even have a dog as a member of your team to help sniff out bombs.
Still running at 60fps, the new engine looks like it will be the kick the CoD franchise has been needing for a while, with more detailed textures, dynamic shadows and higher resolution. The arms of your character one the thing you see the most in the game and so these have been revamped with greater detailing; fine hairs, cuts, bruising and even dirt under the finger nails.
Multiplayer has also been revamped with dynamic maps shuddering the land with earthquakes and floods as well as player triggered events such as traps, bombs and breaking down doors. You will be able to traverse the map sin single and multiplayer much better by scaling objects as you run and sliding out of the line of fire. You can also customise your character much better helping you
Hirshberg promised this 'will be best Call of Duty game ever made.' and the video of the gameplay, running on Xbox One certainly shows the improvements on Modern Warfare 3.
The voice over to the trailer explained a little more and hinted at the deeper level of storyline and attachment in the new game “Its been ten years...you start to forget...the things you should remember...and you can't stop remembering...the things you should forget. We've always had the power...not any more...what we have is each other. We're ghosts fighting for something that can't be killed. Soldiers stand against their enemies, but ghosts haunt them.”
The whole of the unveiling ended with the tagline to Call of Duty: Ghosts “We are all we've got”
The new Xbox One will be available around the world later this year
More info to come next month at E3!