Microsoft unveiled its long-awaited next-generation XBox today, touting more than anything its bevy of advanced entertainment features, calling it an "all-in-one system for games, movies, and entertainment," and announcing an exclusive, live-action Halo TV show produced by Steven Spielberg. Here's what you need to know, drawn from TechCrunch, the Guardian, and other sources.
- The system will be called the "XBox One," rather than the 720 as many supposed.
- XBox One will "talk to all of the devices in your living room," says a Microsoft exec, allowing you to seamlessly and instantly switch between TV, games, Skype calls, and web browsing, and even integrate the two if you want to, say, browse the Internet while watching TV.
- The new system will incorporate voice commands and gesture controls.
- The new Kinect gesture controls will be so precise that they know when you've turned your wrist or shifted your weight. It can even read your heartbeat, "which is helpful? Scary? You decide," quips the Guardian.
- The system will include a voice-controlled TV guide that won't require you to remember station numbers ever again; just ask XBox what's on HBO or ESPN, then tell it to change to those channels.
- Speaking of ESPN, Microsoft announced an exclusive partnership with the NFL, with Roger Goodell making an appearance. "You're going to change football in a way that is so dramatic," he said. One example: While watching games, you'll be able to see your fantasy scores updated onscreen in realtime.
- The other major celebrity appearance: Steven Spielberg. "For me, the Halo universe is the perfect place to be at the intersection of where technology and myth-making meet," he said.
- New game-related features include a "dedicated game DVR" that will capture everything you do and allow you to easily share impressive accomplishments.
- Beyond that, there was precious little talk of games, though they did show off a new Call of Duty Game. One of its core new features: a dog companion that was built by performing motion capture on an actual dog, USA Today reports. Microsoft promised more game talk at E3.
- The XBox will run on a new architecture that's like three "operating systems in one," namely the XBox system, Windows, and a third that connects the two. The downside? It won't be able to run games from earlier XBox consoles, the Verge reports.