The Xbox 360 has been out for seven and a half years, and Microsoft recently announced information about their next generation console called the “Xbox One”. Considering the original Xbox lasted barely four years, it’s time for a new system.
Every generation of systems has demonstrated a step forward in the evolution of gaming, and the Xbox One is no different. Microsoft explains that the Xbox One delivers 8 times the graphical power compared to the Xbox 360. For raw transistor count the improvement is even more impressive; the Xbox One boasts 5 billion to Xbox 360’s 5 million. Microsoft increases the memory from 512 MB in the Xbox 360 to 8 GB in the Xbox One.
The Xbox One also features an in-house 500 GB hard drive and a custom built Blu-ray capable optical drive. The Xbox 360 has two dedicated 90 nanometer CPU/GPU chips, while the Xbox One features an impressive single 40 nanometer CPU/GPU chip.
One of the more interesting new features about the Xbox One is that it gives game developers the ability to access Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. This new platform brings a few obvious applications including the ability for all downloaded games and any earned achievements to be synced to the cloud so gamers can access them on any Xbox One system they sign into. Online multiplayer matches can now increase to 128 participants compared to the average 16-32 found on the Xbox 360.
The first Kinect was released in 2010 and helped extend the live of the Xbox 360. During the first two months Microsoft sold 8 million Kinects, and it brought in an all new experience in gaming.
One big downfall on the first Kinect was the space that the gamer needed in order to use it. Many gamers found that they had to move couches and other items in the room to make enough space to use it. Others just didn’t have enough space all together to even use the Kinect. This time around Microsoft enlarged the sensor’s field by 60% and features a 1080p hi-def camera. The camera can also capture video at 60 fps for two-way services like Skype.
The first Kinect sensor mapped people in the room using a “structured light” which would send out infrared light that measures deformities in the room’s surfaces to generate a 3-D map of the space. The depth map was lo-res and often times sofa cushions and clothing were indistinguishable. The new Kinect sends out a more accurate, modulated beam of infrared light which measures the the time it takes the photon to return. It’s called “time-of-flight technology”. This new technology provides unprecedented responsiveness, even when the lights in the room are out.
The new Kinect will be used for even the simplest of tasks including turning on the system. Even when the Xbox One is off, it stays in a standby mode and will update games and Xbox Live updates overnight.
There are currently over 48 million people on Xbox Live, and people sign on to not only play games, but to watch ESPN, Netflix and YouTube to name a few options. Microsoft plans to continue to expand the Xbox’s entertainment value. One plan is to turn the Xbox One into a TV conduit. The Xbox One will be able to sync up with your local cable provider so that when you watch TV you can watch it with an Xbox overlay. Alternately it will recommend a lineup of shows based on your viewing habits, and it will share with your friends what you’re watching.
Another thing that Microsoft briefly talked about a little bit last year was their new Xbox SmartGlass. The Xbox SmartGlass which enables a smart phone or tablet device to be used as a remote to change channels with a no-flicking motion.
Microsoft also introduces a feature called “Snapping in” which allows the user to easily switch between options. The Xbox One runs three operating systems simultaneously. The first operating system is the Host OS which helps boot up the system, the second is the Shared partition that runs the various apps including Skype and Netflix and helps provide proccessing power to the Kinect sensor/voice command, and finally the Exclusive partition which runs the games.
Microsoft has not yet announced a time frame as to when the Xbox One will be released or how much it will cost.
What do you guys think about the new Xbox One system?