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Xbox One: Quick News Round-Up


If you’ve been on a social network in the last few hours, you’ll probably have an idea of how the Xbox One reveal has gone down. In the eyes of some people: well. In the eyes of others: terribly. It all depends what you use your 360 for. The very least that can be said is that they know their basic audience. 

Are you ready to shell out on the Xbox One?


The Xbox One is a decent enough looking console, both inside and out. While it won’t be winning any beauty pageants, it looks no better or no worse than a standard computer case. It’s also only a matter of time before people start releasing stickers for the system, or until Microsoft start shifting limited editions versions. The looks are about what we might have expected, and so are the specs. As you can see above, it’s going to be at least equal to the PS4 in many regards, and in practical terms you won’t really be able to tell the difference.

Kinect 2.0

The Xbox One will be unusable without Kinect 2.0, which will come packed in with the console at launch. This makes for some interesting possibilities, although the press conference didn’t really live up to those possibilities. Instead, it was used as a controller throughout. It has been used in this way on 360 for at least a year and has become something of a joke amongst hardcore gamers (regardless of whether or not it’s a useful feature) and tonight’s show will have done nothing to convert anybody.

There is the potential there to completely alter the way that we play. There are additional movements that Xbox One owners will now be able to take for granted thanks to everybody having a Kinect – minute gestures for unit control, speech recognition. Even our heart rate and body heat might be able to used in interesting ways: imagine a horror game in which these sorts of things alter the way you play. Imagine having to actually hold your breath as a demon walks by (in Deadly Premonition 2, for instance).

It is a big part of the operating system though, so if nothing else, get used to Kinect.

The OS

The Xbox One uses an operating system not entirely unlike Windows 8 (or even the current 360 interface). There have been improvements on the way you move around, and also in some other Xbox staples. Firstly, Kinect is a big part in controlling your Xbox. Like the current Kinect, you’ll be able to turn your console on and off, find specific games, films, music or shows, go to a certain page or option, all with your voice. You’ll also be able to switch between everything the console offers almost seamlessly, with only a few second delay between your favourite things. There will be changes to the way that achievements work, although this wasn’t explained during the show.

Watching TV

For people that love to use their 360 as a TV box, the Xbox One will be a no-brainer. Microsoft wanted it to be at the centre of the living room, and it will do everything you might expect from such a claim. You’ll be able to watch TV, change channel, skip between games and other apps (plus TV channels) – all from your Xbox One. There will also be show favouriting and an interesting feature that shows trending programs. 

There was also original programming announced, the headliner being Steven Spielberg’s live-action Halo TV series.

Blocking the Used Market

Despite the rumours, the Xbox One will play used games. It won’t be as open as it currently is though. People who buy used will be forced into buying a “used pass” which grants them access to the full game. How this will be handled specifically has yet to be announced.

More generally, each new game will be locked to a certain account. You install the game from the disk, and can then play you game from the hard drive. What this means for single households – will my girlfriend and I need to buy two copies of the same game if we wish to play it over two accounts? – has, again, yet to be announced.

Always Connected, Not Offline

Although the Xbox One has a pretty heavy emphasis on connectivity, you won’t need to be always online. Developers can create games that use the cloud for external processing, but there’s nothing to say there will be many, if any, games that do that. It seems as though single player games will remain offline-capable.

Not wanting to be outdone by Sony’s share button, there will be video capture and editing within the Xbox One system. Again, very little was said about it today.

The Games

Not much was announced in terms of games, and the only stand-out title was Call of Duty Ghosts (which is multi-platform). Other titles – especially Remedy’s Quantum Break – looked interesting but not enough was said about them to really make a mark. This mixed with CG trailers made this a really poor reveal for gaming. Forza 5 was announced, although nothing was revealed about it. EA spoke about their new sports titles and announced FIFA 14’s Ultimate Team would have Live-exclusive features. More titles will be announced (and hopefully shown) at E3.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott