While recent news about the Xbox One has been largely about the games that will be available to play – as opposed to actual aspects of the console itself, three pieces of new information put the spotlight back on the specs instead of the art. Recent interviews with some of Xbox and Microsoft’s heavy hitters reveal two things that will be welcomed with open arms and one thing that will probably be a disappointment.
The first piece of new information comes from Xbox’s General Manager of Console Development Leo del Castillo in a lengthy interview with Gizmodo. With topics ranging from Xbox’s desire to be an “everything machine” to its overall appearance, specific attention was given to the internal features of the system. Del Castillo mentions that special efforts were made to ensure the console will be very quiet and that the Xbox One box shape is due to a sizable fan inside – which will be one of the tools serving to prevent system overheating.
If you’re familiar with the woeful wheeze of an Xbox 360 that’s overheating, this piece of information should likely be a relief — in addition to a very serious and specially engineered fan, the Xbox One can also recognize when it is overheating and try to alleviate the problem.
According to Del Castillo:
“We can’t prevent misuse of the product, but we can certainly anticipate it.”
“[This is] largely thanks to new software that can accurately simulate all the ways in which the device will be messed with by young, lazy, or just plain dumb users. The engineering team used computational fluid dynamics–which can simulate the realistic passage of air through a 3D model–to figure out where the problems are going to emerge.”
Del Castillo hits a very pertinent point – even if he comes across a bit harsh. The table-top flatness of the Xbox One is likely to promote at least some gamers to do what a person generally does on flat-surfaces – place things on it. Whether this will ultimately be soda cans, game cases, or a soggy towel, Xbox One hopes to have you covered. The console will be built with the capacity to measure its own temperature and adjust accordingly, via either the fan or the ability to gradually diminish power-usage to prevent it from melting or frying. The jury is still out on how the fluctuating power usage feature will effect gameplay performance – since even Del Castillo admits, “I don’t know the exact details of how it’ll show up to the user.”
While that news may excite, the next news may not. For the last week, potential next-gen console buyers have been debating a rumor suggesting that the Xbox One was getting an upgrade from 8GB to 12GB of RAM -a rumor that has now been debunked.
The fire began when Microsoft’s product planning manager Albert Penello said the following ambiguous hunk of words at NeoGAF that may have inadvertently suggested things he didn’t intend to suggest:
“I would like to pose this question to the audience. There are several months until the consoles launch, and [as] any student of the industry will remember, specs change.
“Given the rumored specs for both systems, can anyone conceive of a circumstance or decision one platform holder could make, where despite the theoretical performance benchmarks of the components, the box that appears “weaker” could actually be more powerful?
“I believe the debate on this could give some light to why we don’t want to engage in a specification debate until both boxes are final and shipping.”
The debunking came via a single tweet wherein the mention of no upgraded RAM came almost as an afterthought.
“Glad you all like headset. We’re not going to 12gb, just to be clear. Feeling great about game performance — stuff is looking killer.”
It looks as if, at least in the RAM department, the PlayStation 4 still prevails another day. But for Xbox One, there is still another piece of recent good news. Microsoft recently announced that games will not be region locked. In short, Xbox One will be supported by Microsoft in 13 markets and if you buy a game in one market, you can play it in any other market or any other country without a hitch. As many gamers have lamented, the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 were both region locked. This is no longer the case with the Xbox One. That’s something to smile about, people of Earth.
The Xbox One releases November 2013.
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