Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Welcome to The Xbox One

Today is the day the flame wars re-ignite with a fervor. Microsoft announced their new console, the Xbox One, and it was quite...interesting. It started off with Don Mattrick, the president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, talking about the new experience the Xbox One is going to deliver. He used bullet points like "Harmonizing your experience" and put a lot of emphasis on connecting the devices in your home to make a seamless transition. After a lot of cool phrases and powerful lines, Mattrick let the Xbox One speak for itself, showing off a video of the console itself, the new Kinect and controller it will ship with, and finally showing all the hardware on stage for everyone to see.
After switching presenters to another Microsoft Executive, Yusuf Mehdi, The Xbox One was used as a cable box, watching TV directly through the menu, switching back and forth from games, to movies, to music, all with new, streamlined Kinect gestures and voice controls. Mehdi boasted about the Xbox One being a center for all of your entertainment needs, and how well it integrated with watching TV. The whole demonstration was impressive from a technical standpoint, with a lot of fast navigation and even the ability to multi-task on the Xbox One. Another bullet-point speech talked about how innovative the architecture and hardware behind the new system, the new Kinect, and Xbox Live would improve on the already awesome community. Mehdi showed off the ability to search on the internet while watching a movie and answer a skype call, which was a really nice segue into the new services and partnerships that were introduced at this conference.
Sports and ESPN were showcased heavily with the ability to watch a game live and update fantasy sports teams on the spot, and switch back and forth from game to game, viewing replays and clips that also can be shared with your friends. To accompany the sports services, EA sports made an appearance, revealing 4 new games that will be out for Xbox One within a year, and a new Fifa game type exclusive to the X1. Their biggest sports announcement was a partnership with the NFL, and then that was almost all of it.
Microsoft did promise 15 exclusives in the first year, but all we heard about in the presentation, besides the sports games, was another Forza title, the new Call Of Duty: Ghosts, and a new IP titled Quantum Break, which wasn't more than a live-action scene and a ship crashing into a bridge. They also announced a partnership with Steven Spielberg and 343 to create a Halo TV series.
In my opinion the conference was overall boring. While I know I'm not the target audience for games like Fifa, Madden, and Call of Duty, but there wasn't anything really that excited me beside the fact that there is a new console. I know Microsoft is going to have a lot of info and a lot more games at E3, but I wish that there was more for the early adopters that will support the system when it launches. Tune in next week when we discuss the new Xbox One and what the Aristogamer thinks about the conference.
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