Xbox One: what we know, what we don’t know, and what we think we know
After years of rampant speculation, fear mongering and hand wringing, Microsoft has finally unveiled its next console. In a tightly orchestrated one hour presentation, they outlined what they believe the future of game consoles will be, and the future will never be the same again! Read on for all the details.
As you can imagine, we know a lot more about the next Xbox than we did yesterday. But there is still a lot that we don’t know, and there’s even some stuff that we think we might know, but aren’t quite sure yet. We’ve broken them all up into separate categories, which you can view at your leisure below. And remember, the next time you read about a big console reveal, you’ll probably be many years older, and let’s face it… a bit fatter too. So enjoy this moment, for it may never return.
What we know!
- The console is called Xbox One. Seriously, that’s the name. Want to see something funny? Type “xbox one” into Google image search.
- Funny, huh? Here’s what it really looks like.
- It’s got some pretty kickass hardware, including an 8 core CPU, 8 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, built-in Blu-ray, 802.11N wireless with Wi-Fi Direct, HDMI in/out, and USB 3.0
- The HDMI in/out is super duper important because it will allow you to run your cable or set-top box through the Xbox One. Everyone wants to do that, right? Have a cable box for your cable box? Sounds awesome. Microsoft wants you to have “a relationship” with your TV, and announced major projects such as a partnership with the NFL, and a new live action Halo television series, produced by Steven Spielberg
- Microsoft doesn’t want you to just use the Xbox One for gaming. They want it to be your all-in-one nexus of home entertainment.
- Haven’t we been hearing about the mythical “all-in-one” machine since the PS2?
- The Xbox UI is familiar, if a bit sleeker and more refined. Users will be able to instantly switch between games, movies, music, etc. through the use of multiple operating systems running cooperatively. The new UI also features a snap mode, which allows multiple applications to run on screen at the same time. For example, you could play a game and have a video chat on Skype at the same time, or surf the web will watching a movie.
- All of this can be done through hand gestures and spoken commands, executed by a redesigned Kinect sensor which will come standard with all Xbox Ones.
- The Xbox One requires the Kinect to function, so I hope you’re comfortable with Microsoft installing an HD camera and microphone in your living room which will pretty much always be on, watching you. And judging you.
- Your gamertage, achievements, and gamerscore will all transfer over to the Xbox One. Xbox Live is now “cloud powered,” utilizing a network of 300,000 servers to store saved games, music, movies, and pretty much everything else you used to store on your hard dive.
- So what’s the hard drive for, then? Glad you asked. It’s for your games. See, you can still buy Xbox One games on a disk, but they will automatically install to the hard drive, and become locked to your console and Xbox Live account.
- Speaking of games, don’t plan on playing any of your Xbox 360 games on the new console because it isn’t backwards compatible.
What we don’t know!
- The launch date. While the Xbox One will launch worldwide later this year, we don’t have a release date.
- How much it costs. I’m guessing a lot.
- What the full launch lineup of games will be.
- What Don Mattrick’s favorite color is. I’m guessing green.
What we think we know!
- The Xbox One will require an internet connection to function. Maybe. Unbelievably, Microsoft never brought this up during the event, and representatives gave differing answers during followup interviews. In a FAQ posted late this afternoon, they state that the Xbox One “does require a connection to the internet.” But they also say that you’ll be able to play games, and watch TV and movies “if you lose your connection.” Sooooo… yeah. It needs the internet, but not all the time. Great. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Microsoft is encouraging developers to take advantage of cloud processing. This will increase the system’s computational power, but it might make games that take advantage of this system impossible to play if the internet connection is lost.
- The Xbox One will able to play used games. Perhaps. This is another hotly debated topic which was, for whatever reason, never mentioned in the event. Afterwards, Microsoft reps gave conflicting answers to the question of used games. While saying that there will be a way for players to trade and resell games online, they refused to give any specifics. As for reselling game discs, it seems that players will have to pay a fee to install used games on their system. According to Kotaku, this fee might actually be as high as the MSRP of a brand new game, which would destroy the retail used game market for Xbox. A followup blog post from Major Nelson seemingly denies the fees without actually denying it.
- Xbox One’s TV streaming service will be available outside of the USA. Eventually. At launch, the ability to connect your Xbox One to a cable box will be limited to the United States, but will be rolled out to every Xbox One market over time. There is no specific schedule for this, though. So for now, the Xbox One Live TV might as well be called Xbox One Live TV USA Only.
So this is definitely a good news / bad news situation. Good news is we’ve got a new console with a lot of exciting new features and content to talk about and drool over. Bad news is that the console probably requires an internet connection, maybe won’t play used games, definitely won’t be backwards compatible, and will use its HD camera and microphone to trasmit everything you say and do to secret government recording stations. OK, I made the government recording station thing up, but it’s possible!