Microsoft’s Xbox One is almost here. Unless you’ve been living thousands of miles from kids and teens for the past 10 years or so, you’re familiar with Microsoft’s (some would say excellent) gaming console, the Xbox and the Xbox 360. Microsoft is set to unveil the new gaming console for public consumption. The company already made the reveal at a major press conference and on Xbox.com.
Microsoft’s Take on the Xbox One Reveal
Of course, Microsoft has a whole website dedicated to the Xbox gaming platform. Obviously, the new gaming platform takes center stage on this site. The console itself doesn’t look terribly different from earlier iterations, but there are subtle differences. The game controllers have a new look, appearing to be more comfortable ergonomically for those marathon gaming sessions.
From what I can see, Microsoft is trying to position the Xbox in the same segment of the market that the Wii platform currently occupies. In other words, they want the Xbox One console to be the center or your family’s home entertainment system, not just something for the kids to play Madden 2013 or Call of Duty on, but a platform which we can use to sit down and have family TV night.
The main interface gives you the option of watching live sports, live TV (like HBO), Skyping with friends, listening to music, or (gasp!) playing actual video games. You’ll be able to do all this without switching TV inputs, since the console will be the main control device for everything you do. You may also end up feeling like you’re in a Star Trek movie, because everything is voice controlled! “Xbox, play games!”
Yes, I said voice controlled. Tell the device (vocalize) what you want to do and get ready to do it.
The Xbox One console “learns” what you like, over time, also, modifying your home screen to reflect your most recent and most used choices. In other words, if you prefer to use your computer to surf the web, the platform will remove the Internet Explorer icon from your home screen.
Some Very Cool Features
Have you ever run into the situation where you made plans to watch a game or movie with someone, and then for some reason they weren’t able to come over (or vice-versa)? With the new Xbox One, that is no longer a problem.
Remember when I mentioned Skype? How about going split-screen on that movie or game with friends and discussing it in real time on Skype, all while keeping the movie/game and Skype up on the same screen, so you don’t miss a moment of the action?
There’s also the option of doing a Skype video call while watching TV together, miles apart from each other. Having an internal hard drive, you also get the Xbox DVR, giving you the option of reviewing plays in a game or sections in a movie, and posting those clips to your friends.
Pretty cool, huh?
See One Pundit’s Take on the Xbox One Reveal
It seems that during the press conference reveal of the new gaming console, Microsoft wanted to make it abundantly clear that their new product will allow owners to watch TV using the console to control the stations. The clip shortened the press conference to about a minute and a half, and the word TV was mentioned at least 20 or 30 times in that short time period.
A Peek Under the Hood
The Xbox One platform is going to be unique in another way, also. It’s going to have three separate and (almost) complete operating systems running at the same time. When you first turn the console on, a small host operating system will load quickly. This will call the other two operating systems on the shared partition. One of these will run the applications like Skype, Live, Netflix, etc., while the exclusive partition actually runs the games. The operating system that runs the applications will also act as the interface for Kinect, and the gesture and voice controls. This operating system is, at its core, Windows 8.
Because of this, switching between games and apps will be pretty much lag-free, meaning the switch will happen almost as fast as you make the decision to switch. It also allows apps to be “snapped into” each other, so they can be used together or even into a running game.
If you’re in the market for a new video game console, even though I’m not a fan of Microsoft, I definitely recommend the Xbox One console. Microsoft’s main goal over the past decade or so was to be involved in every aspect of the house. This has brought them one step closer to that goal!