Don Mattrick was on hand to guide the massive audience through the ins and outs of the new Xbox One. The box itself is HUGE and makes the original Xbox look tiny. Sadly for gamers, they were left wanting a lot more than what they were shown. First impressions are always the most important and for these gamers, they are left disappointed. Technology nuts, on the other hand, are drooling at the thought of using voice to switch from TV stations, games, music, Skype, and Internet searching. Microsoft revealed that the Xbox One uses a HDMI output and a HDMI input so you can take your cable or satellite box and, in theory, plug in into your Xbox One for it to seamlessly take over your entire television. (I wonder what happens if you plug a PlayStation 4 or Wii U into it?)
Microsoft did not acknowledge or talk about any of the speculation about the Xbox One being an always online console. Don Mattrick, after the one hour presentation, was interviewed and said this:
"While an always-on function isn't a requirement, a connection is still necessary for streaming and accessing multiplayer through the new console. Gamers can calm down we got you covered."
But do they have us covered? A little bit of information Mattrick didn't share with us was the Xbox One requires all games to be installed to the internal Hard Drive. If a user installs this disk on a second account, you will be charged a fee to unlock and play the game. This means that there will be an almost non-existent used game market for the Xbox One.
So how will the Xbox One restrict gamers during this installation? The only thing that makes sense is that the console will have to be on the Internet to "dial-up" to Xbox HQ and see if the game can be installed and played. Doesn't that mean an Internet connection will be required at least some of the time? Hey Don, I don't think gamers are going to "calm down" when they learn the truth. I hope Microsoft will talk a little more openly about this because I still no some people that don't have broadband or don't have an internet connection.
Microsoft partners can also require that games be always connected and Developers will even be able to offload some things to servers. It seems like Microsoft is taking the first baby step into a world that will always be connected. In fact, the console could require it later on in this generation.
Kinect 2.0 will be bundled with every device. Along with the included Hard Drive, this will ensure all Xbox consoles will be fully developed for by the software creators. As the Xbox One requires all games to be installed to the Hard Drive, Microsoft can take full advantage of quickly switching back and forth between applications. On stage, it was described as switching between TV Channels. Players will be able to utilize Kinect gestures, voice, or the controller to move between TV, Movies, Games, Internet Web Search, Music, and the Xbox Home.
How impressive is Kinect 2.0? Players will be able to pick up their controller and say Xbox On and the system will automatically log this user on and see that they have a controller in their hands. The problem I had with the first generation of Kinect is the voice commands did not work well in noisy environments. I have small children in my house and, well, they tend to not be quiet when I want to play a game. This is one question I hope to have answered after E3 2013.
Kinect 2.0 is still not as precise as using a controller and some delay will still occur. We will have to see how Developers can tie this into their new titles. But since Kinect can see you and your facial expressions, could we see a new generation of Role Playing Games where dialogue changes based on how you look and react?
The controller for the Xbox One has been redesigned to include a much better d-pad, different rechargeable batteries, and latency that is at least 15% better than the 360! They have also greatly improved the rumble and refer to it, internally, as Rumble HD. No word yet on the cost of the controllers but it appears they may be going up this generation.
Due to the system architecture changing from the Xbox 360, and being largely the same to the PlayStation 4, Microsoft won't have backwards compatibility in the 360. Of course, this is also the problem for Sony with the PlayStation 4. They have "loose promises" of cloud servers letting you play all prior generations on the PS4 but this is not something that will happen in the near future. So if you want to play Xbox Live or Xbox 360 titles, you better keep your old console.
Fortunately, your Gamertag and Gamerscore will be carrying over to the new Xbox One platform. However, no details on the "rumored" changes to the Gamerscore were given at this presentation. All we were given was the phrase "dynamic and changing" when speaking about the achievement system. Expect to learn more about this side of the Xbox One at E3 2013.
Before moving into games, we did learn that 343 Industries, the Halo 4 Developer, is working with Steven Spielberg to create a live action Halo TV series that will be Premium content on Xbox Live. Steven Spielberg said: "For me the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at that intersection where technology and myth-making meet to create something really groundbreaking."
No word on a release date or how much it will cost. For Halo fans, this will be exciting news as they wait for their first entry on the new Xbox One.
Another interesting partnership Microsoft has is with the NFL for exclusive content on the Xbox One. No real details were given on if you will be able to subscribe and watch NFL games on your Xbox One or how this alliance will work between the two platforms. Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, said this will make it "easier to watch football with the device, and a better experience." In other news, it is going to rain sometime this year. This is about as much information as we were given from Goodell and Mattrick on this subject.
Remember, Sony has an exclusive agreement with DirecTV to have the only NFL Sunday Ticket Application. DirecTV has an exclusive agreement with the NFL to be the only one to offer the NFL Sunday Ticket. Where does this leave Microsoft and the NFL? Can someone just let me pay to watch my favorite team all season long?
Yes, there were actually games at this presentation. Just not many. Microsoft spent over half of their time talking about the box, vision, Kinect, and TV. We learned that during the first 12 months, after the release of the Xbox One, there will be 15 exclusive titles released on the platform. 8 of these titles will be brand new franchises.
One such new franchise was Quantum Break. This new IP from Remedy Entertainment, the Developers of Max Payne, Max Payne 2, and Alan Wake was given a brief teaser trailer. We have it for you below:
Another title shown off was Forza Motorsport 5 developed by Turn 10 Studios. This appears to return the series to its more serious racing sim roots that made it a popular franchise. The teaser video is below:
EA's Andrew Wilson announced that Microsoft and Electronic Arts have entered into a "brand new, broad, strategic partnership" He revealed that FIFA, Madden, NBA Live, and the UFC series are all in development for Xbox One and will be available on the platform in the next 12 months.
To round off the Xbox One Reveal Event, Call of Duty: Ghosts was shown, officially, for the first time and was written by Oscar winner Stephen Gahan. Activision's Erik Hirschberg, who was on stage to introduce the new title, said this: "It will be the best Call of Duty game we've ever made."
Xbox One will be released "around the world later this year." However, like Sony, no details were given on when that might take place or how much the device will cost. You can see some Microsoft Executives talk about the new Xbox One below:
Keep reading CVGames for the latest on the new Xbox One. We plan to learn a lot more at E3 2013!