Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Xbox One Reveal Roundup - Flop Or Success?

UPDATE 1: Microsoft has confirmed that you can play other people's games on your own console but only if you are singed in as them. If you wish to use someone else's game on your Xbox One without using THEIR profile you must buy the game.

Microsoft has also confirmed that while the Xbox One is NOT technically always online it does require consistent connections to Xbox Live in order to update and function consistently and properly. If your internet dies it is suggested you can use the console for at least 24 hours before it needs to reconnect to the internet. 

It has also been suggested that you can constantly use basic DVD and musicfunctions without an internet connection at all times. 

As for pricing and the release date, there is no confirmed info on this yet.

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Microsoft revealed their new Xbox console, now named the Xbox One, yesterday. Here is my own personal review and take on the information we received about it and how it works. 

I'll be splitting this down into 3 parts: the console, controller and the games. The console overview will cover all things related to the Xbox One device itself, the controller part will be about the controller (obviously) and the games section will cover all of the game information we have.

The Console

The Xbox One is called exactly that: Xbox One. Yes Microsoft has named their new console 'One'. I think many people, including myself, will agree that it is an awful name. Really, really bad. Hell Xbox Infinity was better. Or even 720. But One? Maybe they're trying to set themselves up like the Playstation and name the console after the 'One' the 'Two'. Arguably that's a good idea and keeps things basic but still, not a great name.

So let's talk specs. The Xbox One will offer 8GB of RAM, the same amount as Sony's PS4, however unlike the PS4, which has its RAM formatted to GDDR5, the Xbox One's is DDR3.

As for the processor, the Xbox One features a Microsoft custom CPU with 8 Cores. The current Ghz it runs at has not been confirmed. Nor has the overall benchmark and power. Thus it is impossible at this time to compare the power of the PS4 to that of the Xbox One.

Looks quite nice but a bit big
Something interesting about the console is it will 'improve over time' thanks to cloud storage. Apparently, while you cannot upgrade the console manually like a computer, the cloud will allow for more transistors to be used in conjunction with the transistors built into the console.

The problem with this? Well how about the entire thing. First of all an internet connection would be required constantly to play games using this cloud transistor system. Secondly what if you have slower internet AND what about the millions of other people using this one cloud system at the same time? What, lag? LAG? In a single-player game? This isn't Onlive. I'm sorry but this idea is flawed. Unless Microsoft come out with some amazing, shocking information that proves it will work no matter what then this could really easily fail. Good luck with this Microsoft.

Anyway, the Xbox One will come with a built in 500GB hard-drive that cannot be user removed or replaced, meaning if you want more memory you have to either go to a professional and pay or buy a USB flash drive to plug into one of the 'few' USB 3.0 ports on the console.

The Xbox One will also feature a Blu-ray drive, so it will play all of your Blu-ray DVDs and games.

It will come with a next-gen Kinect too, which has been beefed up to offer a 1080p camera and far, far, far more improved tracking sensor. It can also process a whopping 2 gigabits of data every second.

The Kinect responds to many voice commands too. Simply saying 'Xbox on' will turn your console on. You can also control how the Xbox multitasks via voice commands. But more on multitasking in a lil bit.
The console will NOT function without the Kinect and it seems that due to it being so compulsory Microsoft are trying to make it integrate and function in same games you use a normal controller for.

The Xbox One will run three operating systems apparently. The first is a watered down version of Windows 8 RT. This is for basic app functions but lacks any proper 'Windows depth' like the full on OS does. If you want a good example of what it'll be like just look at the Windows RT tablets. Their OS is for normal apps and services but lacks the ability to run fully fledged Windows orientated services.

The second OS is the Xbox one, which will be for playing the Xbox games.

The third OS is sort of a translator if you will, allowing the main two OS's to communicate and function in unison.

These three OS's, when combined, are supposed to allow for a multitasking system that lets you view the different parts of the console at the same time. While the Xbox OS is playing your game, the Windows OS is managing apps like Skype that you can view or switch into at any time. 'Snap view' will let you view two apps at the same time so there is definitely some sort of on screen multitasking system included.

What puzzles me is why Microsoft hasn't just made one big OS that combines all the elements that the console needs, instead of having three separate systems that require more power. Surely the gaming part of the Xbox OS could be inbuilt into the Windows part allowing for a totally, overall, custom OS?

Hey everyone VCRs are back IN!
As for the apps, you can definitely expect to see way more available than there is on the Xbox 360. The Windows OS may allow access to the Windows app store and be able to run the Windows specific apps. This, however, is speculation as nothing has been confirmed.

Xbox Live will now run off of a massive 300,000 servers. That's 285,000 more than what the current Xbox Live uses.
This increased server range will offer a far deeper match making system that not only works better at finding you your perfect opponent to play against, but is also faster.

The Xbox One also includes an inbuilt game DVR. This records all your recent gameplay for you to view back and upload. It seems quite amateurish though and doesn't exactly look like something you'd replace your Elgato with. It's a shame because I was desperately hoping that it would come with a full blown, built in, capture card.
This DVR system is more for the sake of saving great moments during your time gaming and sharing them with other people.

There are some questions that people really, really want answered though. Is the Xbox One, yes or no, backwards compatible? Is it always online? And does it cost to play someone else's game on your console?

To answer the first question; no. It is NOT backwards compatible. So keep your 360 if you still wanna play your current games.

To answer the second question: Microsoft are being shady here. At first I thought it wasn't always-on, which was awesome, but then some Microsoft person came out and made everyone even more confused. Bottom line is that, from my perspective at least, it doesn't SEEM to always need an internet connection to work, but at the same time it may do. We don't know for sure yet.

As for the third question, this is kind of confusing too. Some people were saying that if you lend someone else a Xbox One game then they have to pay a fee to play it on their console. However Microsoft kind of debunked this by saying that it wasn't true. Yet at the same time they weren't very convincing. Just like with the always-on thing, this info is not clear.

What is clear and what I should've mentioned earlier is that games will require a compulsory installation   onto the HDD on the Xbox One.

If you're worried about your XBL profile or gamerscore don't be because it will all be ported to the new console!

The Controller

The Xbox One's controller is pretty fugly. It isn't exactly a looker. It has basically the same button layout as before however what the buttons do and how they work is slightly different.

First of all the D-pad is no longer that horrible circle thing that really sucked. It's now a precision D-pad.
The start and select buttons are likely to have been changed to do different things, like trigger multitasking or something. 
Bit of an ugly bastard really

The Xbox hub button, which has been moved back, will probably still bring up the Xbox hub, but not necessarily the same kind of 'hub' that we currently know on the Xbox 360.

The back triggers and bumpers are pretty worrying though. They are bigger and look more dominating. I didn't like the look of them at all. That said I haven't used it so I don't know how they feel and work exactly. 

The trickers apparently contain inner motors so they vibrate and twitch by themselves. So no more standard, generic, controller only vibration, it seems that the new controller is trying to draw you in with more precision vibrations instead.

The Games

Quantum Break
The problem with the Xbox reveal is that Microsoft were trying to depict the console as more of an overall 'entertainment device' rather than a proper games console. 

The games weren't a big part of the reveal, unfortunately. Microsoft announced there are going to be 15 exclusive titles in the first year, 8 of which are from totally new franchises. A game from Alan Wake developers Remedy called Quantum Break is going to be released as one of these exclusives. Forza 5 has also been confirmed along with a lot of other third party games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Assassins Creed 4. For a decent list on these games check out IGN's Wiki page.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts
I wasn't very impressed by the so-called 'amazing next-gen graphics engine' that Infinity Ward showed off when they did a little demo of CoD: Ghosts. That said, no visuals really blew me away here or at the PS4 reveal.

Was It A Success Or Flop?

In my eyes the next Xbox looks good. While the reveal event was a bit meh and they focused way too much on the entertainment side of the console and didn't do enough game related shit, I'm more psyched for it than the PS4, for the simple fact that Sony's reveal was awful in that they, well, 'revealed' little. I know where, for the most part, I stand with the Xbox One and what to expect from it. But what about the PS4? Sony didn't give any of us much to go on. The Xbox reveal might not have been great and the console itself may look a bit unimpressive or not what we want, but at least we Goddamn know what it is and even what it looks like. 

The event itself was more success than flop in terms of the info we received but more flop than success in terms of presentation and what they ultimately showed off. The Xbox One itself is looking somewhere in the middle of good and bad to be honest. Ultimately Microsoft need to realise we want a GAMES console, not a Smart TV entertainment device that plays games all rolled into one. Let's hope they do it right.

What are your thoughts on the Xbox One reveal? What do you think about the console, its features, the games - the entire thing? Say what you want below. If you have any questions regarding the console leave comment I'll try to answer you.

Oh and don't forget to vote in the poll on the right and give your opinion on the Xbox One reveal. You can select multiple answers by the way.

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