May 21, 2013 by Paul Curtin
With three months of extra time to work on their new console’s debut after Sony’s impressive PlayStation 4 reveal back in February, Microsoft finally unveiled their new console today. Seven years have passed since the last Xbox, and today at Microsoft’s big event they announced the next Xbox will be releasing later this year under the name “Xbox One” instead of the many other rumored names, such as Xbox 720, Xbox Infinity, Xbox Fusion, Xbox 8, Durango, or simply just Xbox.
With the new bland name out of the way right from the start, Microsoft took the opposite approach of Sony and gave us a close-up look of their sexy new sleek black console, camera, and controller. Xbox One will feature 8GB of RAM and 500GB of storage, but Microsoft did not reveal if it would be as fast as the PS4’s GDDR5, which could mean that they’ll only be using the slower GDDR3… and still no word on the controller’s new features or the console’s processor speed, which should have Xbox tech junkies a little worried. The console won’t require an always-on internet connection like many had feared, but it will restrict used games.
Then in another move opposite of Sony, instead of showing off new game after new game, Microsoft began to try and tout the One’s new features, like Skype video chat and picture-in-picture features that allow for more detailed stats and information to be shown alongside games and videos — features that already seem possible on the current-gen Xbox 360 and that everyone already saw coming. Microsoft also spent a lot of time oddly focusing on how it will integrate with cable television and have a new Halo television series… strange considering the current trend of people getting rid of cable TV in favor of using services like Netflix on devices such as the Xbox.
So what about the games, already? It wasn’t until over thirty minutes into the presentation that Microsoft finally began to reveal their actual games that will be playable on the Xbox One. Some EA Sports games that won’t be exclusive on Xbox One, a Forza 5 reveal that looks good and we all saw coming, a first look at Call of Duty: Ghosts (which will also not be an Xbox One exclusive), and finally ONE new IP called Quantum Break (from the creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake, Remedy Games) that seems a lot like Beyond: Two Souls and featured a boring mix of live-action and gameplay.
Microsoft did make a point of mentioning that they will be releasing 15 exclusives in the first year of Xbox One, eight of which are new IPs. But with no big tech innovations like the Illumiroom technology, and only one new game teased, the Xbox One reveal was very disappointing and failed to create excitement around the future of Xbox. Microsoft’s event feels a lot like the terrible Wii U E3 2011 announcement that left everyone wondering where the new games were and confused about any real benefits of the new system.
However, unlike the Wii U, it is clear that Xbox One will be a powerful next-gen console, and with E3 only three weeks away, Microsoft is sure to redeem themselves with more information on the features and some actual looks at gameplay from their alleged list of 15 exclusive new games, hopefully half of which aren’t just lame new Kinect games. Until then, Microsoft has left us with a first-look at the new Call of Duty that has improved graphics on par with Battlefield 4 and new dog physics…