5 reasons to be excited about the Xbox One
The features for Microsoft's latest gaming console emphasize the system's connection to TV viewing.
Wed, May 22, 2013 at 10:35 AM
The Xbox One video game console at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
It’s finally here. After years of anticipation, Microsoft has unveiled its successor to the Xbox 360, the Xbox One. The new video game system will build on the success of the Xbox 360 by adding a slew of new features that could easily take over your living room.
“Can we take what you love and make it better?” Microsoft’s Don Mattrick said on stage at the Xbox Reveal event in Redmond, Wash. “The living room is too complex and Xbox wants to fix that.”
Packed with an octa-core processor, 8GB of RAM and 500GB of storage space, the Xbox One’s new interface blends the current Xbox UI with Windows 8. So what do we love most about the new Xbox?
Here’s a roundup of the best features you can look forward to when the Xbox One launches later this year.
According to the presentation, voice controls can be used as a primary means of navigating the dashboard and launching applications. Simply say “Xbox On” and the device will power up and turn on your TV simultaneously. You can launch apps, play games and surf the Web by telling the Xbox to do so instead of scrolling through the console’s dashboard.
Live TV integration and instant switch
The Xbox One is much more than a video game console: it’s Microsoft’s answer to the Smart TV industry. A cable or satellite box can pass its signal through the Xbox via HDMI, which means that you can use your Xbox to watch live television.
The One includes a TV guide that can be navigated by voice and a trending section that displays the most popular shows both amongst your friends and the entire Xbox community. For example, asking the Xbox “What’s on MTV?” will pull up what’s playing on the network at that moment. The Instant Switch feature lets you switch between your Xbox and your TV without having to change the input. Just say "Xbox Watch TV" and the One will automatically switch to your television.
We knew it was only a matter of time before we started seeing Windows 8 features appear on the Xbox, and sure enough it’s happening. At its Xbox Reveal demo Microsoft showcased how the Snap Mode feature would work on Xbox One. Essentially, you’ll be able to run multiple apps alongside each other.
For example, Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi launched Internet Explorer as Star Trek was streaming and used watched live sports on ESPN while researching player stats. This also works with the new Skype app that Microsoft just announced for the Xbox One, so you can accept video calls while browsing the web or using apps.
In-game social features
Not only is Microsoft boosting its number of dedicated online servers from 15,000 to 300,000, but it’s also tying more social features into gameplay. Players can now snap in-game photos and share them across social networks, similar to a new feature that Sony announced for its PS4 earlier this year. In addition, Xbox One comes with a dedicated game DVR that lets you record footage and edit it later. As for multiplayer gaming, the new Xbox allows you to search for a potential online teammate while watching TV or playing a different game.
NFL broadcast and fantasy football
Microsoft just announced a partnership with the NFL that will bring interactive football broadcasts and fantasy football to the Xbox One. Known as NFL on Xbox, the app will allow fantasy football, onscreen updates, score displays and Skype to work together in order to create an immersive football experience. And, of course, this means that the Xbox will get exclusive NFL content, but we’ll have to wait on more details.
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