Microsoft has lifted the veil and introduced the world to the Xbox One, the oddly name successor of the Xbox 360. We now have seen what the “big three” have to offer this generation and until the Steam Box, Ouya, and other new consoles grab a big market share, it’s the Wii U vs. the PlayStation 4 vs. the Xbox One.
Much of today’s presentation focused on the multimedia entertainment features Microsofts wants consumers to take advantage of in their living rooms, from a revamped Kinect system, more integrated and connected technologies and more general digital entertainment from the comfort of your home. Gaming may not have taken a backseat, but it certainly wasn’t the driving force as it was for Sony during the PS4 reveal.
Some of the biggest and most controversial topics for the media and gamers going into both Sony and Microsoft’s unveiling events surrounding a few key issues: always-online connections, backwards compatibility, and pricing. While we still don’t have prices or dates for either next-gen home console, we do have some details on the Xbox One that were only briefly touched on during the presentation, and in some cases, intentionally not mentioned at all for the obvious reason of avoiding negative buzz. Let’s highlight a few details Wired learned over the last few days:
- The Xbox One is NOT backwards compatible, meaning Xbox 360 games – including downloadables – will not work on the next-gen platform. Wired was told by Microsoft that licenses for music and movies will be transferred though.
- Installing games is mandatory, but you can play while it installs. Buy a retail disc and put it in to install and once you have, you no longer require a disc.
- What if you trade/borrow/rent? Users will be prompted to pay a “fee” to install and once they do, they also no longer need a disc. That means no more lending or trading games, at least not in the way we’ve known for decades.
- Always-online? Not quite. The Xbox works offline, however, developers can build games that use (read: require) the computational power of the Azure cloud – meaning those titles would inherently be always-online. Think of it as a compromise, bridging the gap. Microsoft wants developers to use this and you can count on more and more of them doing so. For example, Forza 5 is “built from the ground up to take advantage of Xbox One and the infinite power of the cloud.” Uh oh.
- The Xbox One will not function without its bundled Kinect sensor, which is always on and listening.
- Xbox 360 controllers and accessories will not work on the Xbox One so purchasers will need to buy new everything.
- The 500GB Xbox One hard drive cannot be replaced/upgraded, but the console does support external storage.
- Xbox One lets players save and restart games at any point.
Did you know these things from watching the presentation?
The Xbox One releases this fall.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes if you’re interested in the Xbox One!