Microsoft has revealed the Xbox One, and it wants complete control of your home entertainment system.
It has been more than seven years since the Xbox 360 was introduced; in 2005 we didn’t have smartphones, the cloud, or streaming entertainment.
The hardware behind the new system is impressive. According to Microsoft, the Xbox One will deliver eight times the graphic performance of the 360, has a new 500 GB hard drive, 8 GB of internal memory, multiple USB 3.0 ports, 802.11n wireless, and will feature a custom-built Blu-ray capable drive. Somewhere Sony is snickering.
And speaking of the cloud, developer access to Microsoft’s Azure means all of your downloaded games and achievements will be in sync and developers may even be able to use the power of the cloud to power games.
The Xbox One is still a gaming platform, but it is clear Microsoft wants control of your home entertainment system. The Xbox One will feature HDMI pass-through, giving the system the ability to augment your television provider’s signal with additional information and overlays. And thanks to SmartGlass, Microsoft will bring second-screen functionality to your mobile device or tablet.
What may be the Xbox One’s most impressive feature is that it simultaneously runs three separate operating systems. This gives the system the ability to switch tasks and share the screen environment between different applications. It’s a second-screen experience on your big screen.
The Xbox OneGuide will give you access to TV listings but will also be able to pull up information including trending programming or fantasy sports stats while watching live TV.
And lets not forget about the Kinect. The controller has been completely retooled featuring a 1080p camera, captures 60 fps, and gives you complete voice control for the Xbox One experience.
Microsoft entertainment VP Yusuf Mehdi showed off how you’ll be able to turn on all the devices in your living room by simply speaking “Xbox On,” and switching to Monday Night Football by saying “watch ESPN.”
Now only if it could comply with “mute girlfriend.”
The Xbox One ($TBD) isn’t backwards compatible with your Xbox 360 games, but why are you dwelling on the past? According to Microsoft the Xbox One should be available later this year – we’re hoping to add it to our Christmas list.