Xbox One Revealed: Multitasking, Live TV, And More Coming Later This Year

By Mike Andronico , Updated May 21, 2013 02:27 PM EDT
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The wait is finally over. The Xbox Reveal officially kicked off on Tuesday, and Microsoft has proudly put Xbox One on display. While many were expecting names such as Xbox 720 and Durango, the new Xbox's title is perfectly fitting to the theme of today's show: Efficient simplicity.

A Simple, Seamless Experience

Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi kicked the show off, immediately introducing the console reveal trailer for Xbox One. The rectangular black console looks bigger and sleeker than its predecessor, with a larger Kinect unit and a reinvented Xbox controller. While there were no huge surprises when it comes to the console's feature set, Microsoft spent much of the show focusing on how seamlessly all aspects of the device work together. 

"What if a single device could provide all of your entertainment?," proposed Mehdi as he ran through the functions of Xbox One.

The system's dashboard looks like an improved version of its Xbox 360 predecessor, with a home screen that remembers your most recently used games and apps and a new "Trending" tab that shows what's popular. The system can switch instantly between games, apps, and television with simple voice commands such as "Xbox, TV," "Xbox, Music," and so on.

Looking to multitask on Xbox One? The new snap mode will allow mutiple apps to run at once. Mehdi showed off the new function by loading up Internet Explorer to look up information on Star Trek: Into Darkness while simultaneously watching the previous film. The same functionality goes for Skype calls, music, and more.

The Next-Generation of Television

"This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV," said Mehdi, as Xbox One's television functionality was stressed heavily all show.

Xbox One owners can watch cable television right through their console, with a TV guide that looks similar to digital cable. The difference, however, comes in Xbox's social functions, as viewers can easily see what TV shows are trending (expect to see this word often in Xbox One jargon) and sift from channel to channel with voice commands. When watching sports on ESPN, viewers can recieve real-time updates on their fantasy teams.

Getting to the Guts

Xbox Live VP Marc Whitten took to the stage to get down to Xbox One's nuts and bolts. As expected, the system will have a Blu-Ray player, 8-core CPU, and a 500 GB hard drive, which explains the larger size. The new Kinect sensor is designed to detect more subtle motions than ever, with a 250,000 pixel depth sensor.

"This is rocket science-level stuff," said Whitten. 

Whitten also promised a new, improved era of Xbox Live. While Live on the original Xbox ran on 500 servers and Xbox 360 currently has 15,000, Xbox One's online service will be powered by a whopping 300,000 servers. While not mentioned during the show, Microsoft's Don Mattrick confirmed that Xbox One will not require a constant internet connection.

The Start of a New Era

While much of today's presentation focused on the hardware, several games were announced. EA's sports offerings, including the return of NBA Live and a new UFC title, will hit shelves later this year, and Microsoft will be publishing a new Forza title. Infinity Ward provided a world premiere of Call of Duty: Ghosts and announced a continued partnership to provide Xbox with first grabs at Call of Duty DLC. 

Stay tuned to GameNGuide for further Xbox One coverage. What has your attention so far?

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