After years of waiting and speculating on the part of gamers and the press, Microsoft President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick today unveiled the company’s next-generation console, the Xbox One, at an event broadcast live from Microsoft’s Redmond, WA campus. The new console, which will launch worldwide later this year, is the successor to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, which launched in November of 2005. The Xbox One is Microsoft’s third home video game console, with the original Xbox having been launched in November 2001.
In a stark contrast from competitor Sony’s PlayStation 4 unveiling, Microsoft showed the world what the Xbox One console (pictured above), controller and Kinect sensor looked like almost immediately at the start of the event. All three piees of hardware are primarily black, with the Xbox One and Kinect sensor having hard rectangular shapes. The new controller appears similar in shape to the old one, but has an improved d-pad, triggers and more. Microsoft promised that there are 40 design innovations in the new controller.
Though much of the show failed to focus on actual games, Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, revealed that Microsoft is working on more than a dozen Xbox One games. “We have more titles in development now than in any other time in Xbox history,” said Spencer. “I’m proud to announce that Microsoft Studios plans to release 15 new games in the first year of Xbox One.” Spencer stated that eight of those titles are brand new franchises.
Microsoft has long since discussed its desire to make the Xbox the center of gamers’ living rooms. It continued that trend today. Mattrick displayed new TV guide functionality for the console and showed off Xbox One’s ability to seamlessly switch between TV, games, web browsing and other applications when users give voice commands to the Kinect sensor.
The new console will have 8 GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500 GB hard drive and an eight-core CPU. The new iteration of Kinect is capable of transferring 2 GB of data per second at a 1080p resolution.
More details about the Xbox One and its games will be unveiled at Microsoft’s pre-E3 media briefing on June 10.