What you need to know about the Xbox One

With all of the craziness and brevity surrounding Tuesday’s Xbox One announcement, you might be wondering how it measures up to your expectations, how it handles your account, and the interactions between your games library and system accounts. With that in mind, let’s go through all of the important details surrounding the Xbox One and its various quirks and surprises:

First and foremost, there may or may not be a certain degree of game sharing and trading. On the one hand, just linking your account to a friend’s console during a group session will allow no-cost play, but sharing and trading games seems to have the kinds of limits that have been feared all this time (read: account locked games seem to be confirmed at this point). Worse yet are reports that full retail pricing comes into play once you leave your buddy’s crib and he/she decides to play the game off the hard drive of his/her Xbox One as a result of what appears to be mandatory game installation. On the other hand, Microsoft does seem to be preparing a solution to the resultant used games dilemma that such a requirement would conjure, though Xbox representative Phil Spencer* wouldn’t disclose specifics when pressed on the subject by Kotaku. Maybe an unlinking assistance service from GameStop, perhaps? We don’t know yet.

Second most is the connectivity dilemma, which in turn feeds directly into the above. Yes, the current word on the street is that Xbox Live connectivity is required to a certain degree, but unless the game is utilizing the distributed computing features of the console (which are evidently handled through Microsoft’s Azure backend system) or you start up an Xbox Live multiplayer game, then you don’t need to be online per se – a godsend for those worried about accidental or unplanned connectivity failures, outages and the like. And speaking of multiplayer, your online reputation now plays a role in deciding who you get to play with on Xbox Live beyond your skill level and online rank and file.

Also worth mentioning is that you still need your 360 to play content that you already own due to an inherent lack of backward compatibility, so no software emulation or system on chip this time. On the other hand, the Xbox One plays one-against-one with the PlayStation 4 (and then some) by offering an x86 architecture running on eight APU cores and eight gigs of RAM modules. Furthermore, you get to keep your existing Live Avatar and hard-earned Gamerscore – and use the same Xbox Live account – on both systems, and without paying anything more than you do today. Expect further innovation with game achievements as well – including periodic updates thereof – even without DLC downloads.

But perhaps the most intriguing part of the Xbox One is the improved integration of non-gaming entertainment. Most notable is that Microsoft now has access to BluRay technology, perhaps because of the PlayStation 3 standard-lock expiring as some conspiracy theorists have suggested. There’s also 500 gigs of onboard storage, albeit no longer removable (yet able to be supplemented by external storage units, not unlike the Wii U). Beyond that, Microsoft has viciously improved the Kinect technology introduced during the prior console generation that is now finally nearing its end with all three industry players having their new hardware known to the masses. Plus, the new Kinect peripheral is now such an integral part of the Xbox One experience that it’s literally a requirement thereof. And then, of course, we have the capability for both global information access (via the relatively-new onboard Internet Explorer web interface), partnerships with major sports-related entities (specifically with the NFL, as one notable example), and will even offer television reception support. In other words, you can potentially kiss your existing cable box goodbye if you so wish as Microsoft’s solution goes above and beyond what Nintendo is already doing in this space.

Better yet: there may also be the potential for an Xbox-exclusive television channel equivalent as part of the system (though such is my own personal conjecture right now), perhaps due to the advent of the newly-announced Halo television series helmed by the great Steven Spielberg (whom presumably has replaced Peter Jackson upon the fallout that came from the prior, failed project from way back when, if you so dare to look at it from that angle). Non-game content is further enhanced by inclusion of technology from Windows itself, such as built-in Skype chat and the ability to snap other apps side-by-side with each other. And that aforementioned Kinect unit can now assist with switching between television content, running gameplay and other various functionality with simple voice commands, with the last prior functionality automatically suspending itself until you go back to use it again.

We’ll have more on the Xbox One and its gaming content, among other features and functionality, as we get closer to launch in the later parts of 2013. But one thing’s for sure that I can definitely close with here: 15 new games are due from Microsoft Studios for the Xbox One – eight of which are entirely new game experiences, such as Remedy’s newly-announced Quantum Break.

* An earlier version of this article named Phil Harrison as the source of the information, however it was actually Phil Spencer who dropped the tidbits. Apologies to everyone for the confusion.

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

Share This Post

One Comment - Write a Comment

Post Comment