Microsoft Unveils Xbox One Console

Microsoft has introduced the much-awaited successor to its Xbox 360 console. The Xbox One, which is shown off together with a redesigned Kinect and an updated gamepad, is expected to go on sale later this year–possibly in time for the holidays.

During the launch event, the US-based company calls the new console an “all-in-one” system as it offers games, live TV, movies, and music. Microsoft also says that the Xbox One can be controlled by gestures, as well as through the player’s voice.

The launch comes at a period when high-performing gaming consoles are losing ground as more consumers prefer playing games using their smartphones and tablets. Microsoft’s earnings from last financial year is a testament to this shifting market preference, as the company earned $9.6 billion (just 13% of its total revenue) from selling units of Xbox 360 and Kinect. Despite all that, one analyst says Microsoft’s new console should not be underestimated.

“Xbox represents Microsoft’s core strategy in the consumer entertainment market,” says Jia Wu from Strategy Analytics. “This is also the unique asset which Microsoft has that can be differentiate itself from Apple, Google, and several of the other large tech companies.”

The Xbox One has upgraded every single unit. The console now comes with a Blu-ray drive and Skype functionality; the gamepad has built-in feedback; and the camera sensor in Kinect has been upgraded to 1080p HD-resolution, thus allowing users to control game characters more accurately. The new Kinect is so accurate, Microsoft claims it can actually read the player’s heartbeat while exercising. Users are also allowed to record and edit gameplay so they can upload those clips on the web.

In terms of performance, the Xbox One can carry out four times as many calculations a second compared to the Xbox 360 and 10 times more “animation depth and detail,” so expect a much deeper gaming experience like characters and environments with more detailed textures.

The launch also includes new titles from EA Sports, including FIFA 14, Madden 25, NBA Live 14, and UFC. Activision also provides a teaser of its Call of Duty: Ghost game for the new console. Microsoft Studios also revealed Forza Motorsports 5, which will be available along with the Xbox One’s launch.

Source: BBC

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