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Xbox One – The Next Big Thing?

What is the Xbox One?

Well the Xbox launch event has come and gone. We here at RepairLabs got to admit, we were pleasantly surprised. For the past month, everybody has been throwing around rumors and speculation, and frankly, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the whole process. As much as I love my Xbox 360, my PlayStation 3 has received quite a bit more playtime. Not only because it has a Blu-Ray drive and a lot more quality exclusive titles, but also because it supports 7.1 HD Audio and is free to use online, plus we won’t even get into the Red Ring of Death.

When the Xbox launch started up, and Microsoft came out instantly talking about, and showcasing the console, I became extremely interested. First thing’s first, the name of the new Xbox is the Xbox One… I find it a bit confusing and even contradicting. It is, after all, the third Xbox console, but I understand what they’re going for – one console to rule them all! Anyways, from a design perspective, the new console is really going for that HTPC look, which I really dig. Nice clean lines and the look of a glossy and matte black body. Now if it’s made from aluminum, or some form of light metal, I will be completely sold on the design.

xbox-one

With no word on pricing or release date, (Coming Later This Year) the specs are really the biggest thing we have to go off of. Looking at them, I can tell that Microsoft wants to compete with Sony, and the pieces are in place to do so – I’m just not sure if going with DDR3 memory was the best course of action. If you recall, I did a piece awhile back on the differences between GDD3 and GDDR5, and why it’s a worthy investment for console developers.

What it may lack in processing bandwidth via the memory, it will more than makeup for with its eight-core CPU – twice as many as what’s in the PlayStation 4. The inclusion of a Blu-Ray Drive, HDMI Out AND In, as well voice and gesture control made possible by the brand-new Kinect Sensor, and USB 3.0, 4K Video, and Cloud-Based support, Microsoft is really building the Xbox One with the future in mind. At this time, there aren’t many games or tech that can fully utilize eight-cores or 4K video, but when they become industry standards somewhere down the road, the Xbox One will be ready to go, instead of falling behind the times like the Xbox 360 with its measly 512mb of RAM.

Xbox One Specifications

Xbox One Specifications

  • 8 GB of RAM DDR3
  • 8 Core CPU
  • Blu Ray Drive
  • HDMI In/Out
  • Voice and Gesture Controls
  • Kinect Included
  • 500GB HDD
  • Cloud Based For Saves And Media
  • USB 3.0 Support
  • 4k Video Support
  • 7.1 Audio Support

Xbox One and the Kinect

Sadly the event lacked much in the way of gameplay for upcoming titles. It did however, give us a rather in-depth look at the new Kinect, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed, and that’s hard to do!

Now I have a Kinect at home – and like most of you, I never use it. With the new Kinect offering up a sensor that completely blows its predecessor away in every way imaginable, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Sure, I’ll probably tear it apart and see what makes it tick, but I’m sure before I do that, I’ll yell at my TV and flail my arms like a dummy for a while first.

Seriously, the hand gestures, voice control, responsiveness, and intuitiveness of the entire system makes me excited! I think the redesign of the controller is cool, but the new functionality of the Kinect will make the controller unnecessary when utilizing the system outside of gaming. I only hope that the Kinect sensor doesn’t need to dial itself back in often like the previous iteration does to be at its best.

If you’re like me though, the power and functionality of the system are great, but I want to know what games are going to be like on the system, I want to see Fable 4 and Halo 5 (yeah, right) in action on this baby, but alas we’re going to have to wait until E3 to get a glimpse of some in-game footage. The only true action we got was the Call of Duty: Ghosts world-first footage, which looked brilliant but doesn’t have the same effect as seeing an Xbox-Exclusive title on the system.

xbox-analysis-660x440

Image courtesy of Wired.com

What did you think of the event? Did Microsoft hit all of the necessary highs and avoid the lows? Personally, I think the only way the event could’ve been better was if there was some Fable 4 footage shown. A few things that I think would’ve been nice to get more info on is if it’ll be able to play used games, and if it requires being online all the time. The announcement by The Verge that it will not be backwards compatible is sad news though. Other than that, they gave us the console, controller, specs, and announced some exciting things like 15 exclusive titles in the works, with eight being entirely new franchises!

The future is looking awfully bright for game consoles, and I can’t help but feel that the Xbox One may be leading the pack when it’s all said and done. Sony impressed me a few months back, but Microsoft and the Xbox One just took it to a whole new level, especially with their willingness to run through the demonstrations two or three times, showing that it’s fully functional, which is key to their entire design.

The Xbox One is set to launch sometime later this year.

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