This is Xbox One [Updated]

XboxOne

Earlier this afternoon, as I’m sure you’re all well aware of by now, Microsoft lifted the curtain on the Xbox One, the next generation Xbox console coming to market worldwide later this year.

From a gamer’s perspective, the unveil event was a complete dud. I’d say at least 80% of the showcase was spent talking about social interaction and “transforming television,” with little time dedicated to actual games. There were some EA Sports games, the next Forza, a new IP from Remedy Entertainment called Quantum Break, and Call of Duty: Ghosts, but all were shown with teaser trailers that didn’t show any footage from a functional gameplay point of view.

Obviously it would have been foolish to expect a bombardment of game unveils, especially with the upcoming E3 being better suited for that, but it’s sad that not even a single game was live demoed. However, Microsoft did say that 15 exclusives, 8 being completely brand new franchise IPs, are scheduled for release within the Xbox One’s first year on the market. Hopefully we’ll find out more about those games in a few weeks.

In terms of hardware, the Xbox One will feature an 8 core CPU, 8 GB of memory, a 500 GB HD, USB 3.0, HDMI in/out, 802.11n built-in Wi-Fi and a Blu-ray drive. The system will also feature an enhanced Kinect sensor (which will be required to operate the system) and game controller newly outfitted with vibrating impulse triggers and an improved D-pad. As for the system itself, it’s a giant black box that makes the original Xbox and the PS3 fat look like slimline consoles. It’s not ugly, just bulky looking and lacking style.

Other important rumors have been cleared up somewhat today as well. The Verge is reporting that the Xbox One will not feature backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games, and currently there are no plans to offer any form of digital download or streaming service to play older games without a disc.

Wired is also reporting that the Xbox One will not outright demand an always-online Internet connection, however developers are being encouraged to take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure cloud service to offload computing tasks instead of processing them on the hardware. If a game is designed to integrate with the cloud, it’ll require an online connection, even if it’s single player. It’ll be all up to the developers.

That same Wired story digs into used game compatibility as well. Xbox One games will be installed to the HDD (and play without need of the disc) and linked to the user’s Xbox Live account. If a second user wants to install the disc on their system, they’ll have to pay a fee to install the game and tie ownership of the title to their account. What’s not clear at this point is whether or not games will be able to run directly from the disc without needing to be installed, thus allowing for traditional used game sharing. Though it sure sounds like game installs will be mandatory.

Is console gaming as we once knew it on the verge of extinction? Sadly, I think it is. This is by far the least excited I’ve been for a new console generation, and not just Xbox One. The Wii U isn’t lighting the world on fire and I’m not gung-ho over the PS4 yet either. So for the next generation seems like it’s all fancy tech and all-in-one entertainment gimmickry, and little game innovation. The Big Three have a lot to prove at E3.

Update: Major Nelson has provided a tiny bit more clarification about how Xbox One will handle used games. From his blog:

“We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we’ve confirmed today. While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.

Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.

Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.”

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!