Today Microsoft held a big event to pull back the current on its next-generation console. Considering how integrated gaming devices now are with movies and home entertainment, we've pulled together all the relevant info that's relevant to movie buffs who may want the device for more than just gaming.
What's it called?
How much will it cost?
No word on that yet, but at minimum it's expected in the $599 range.
When's it coming out?
No precise date, but at some point later this year. One of the console's flagship games, Call of Duty: Ghosts (which is being written by Syriana and Traffic screenwriter Stephen Gaghan), has a release date of November 05, 2013, though, so expect the Xbox One either on that date or before it.
Can it play Blu-rays?
Yes, yes it can. This is kind of a big deal, as Microsoft has resisted Blu-ray support in the past (after having thrown its weight behind HD-DVD).
What's the deal with movie streaming and TV?
The Xbox One will support all the same streaming services you know and love now (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) without much of a change, but the big deal here is that it can also support live TV. You'll need a compatible cable subscription to take advantage of it, but it basically works exactly like a cable box, only it also takes advantage of Xbox One's new social and gesture features. For example, it will have a constantly updated list of what the most popular shows and movies are, among both your friends and the entire Xbox Live community. And using simple voice commands, like "Watch HBO," you can switch between playing a game and watching live TV in the blink of an eye.
What's Steven Spielberg got to do with it?
Very few details were presented, but Spielberg did make a prerecorded appearance at the event where he revealed he was working with Microsoft on a live-action Halo television series. Those are really the only details offered, unfortunately, but don't be surprised if this show has some kind of timed exclusivity for the Xbox (you'd have to subscribe to Xbox Live to see it).
What are the system specs?
8GB of RAM, an 8-core CPU and GPU, a 500 GB HDD. Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Kinect has a 1080p camera that can record at 30 fps.
Will it be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games?
No, it will not. Xbox 360 games that come on a disc will definitely not work, and it is expected that Xbox Live Arcade games will also not be natively compatible, though it's possible game developers can rebuild their games on Xbox Live's new core architecture.
Will it require an always-on Internet connection?
No, it will not. The Internet will obviously be required to stream movies and play games online, but it will not be required for the basic functioning of the console (as was rumored at one point).
Will it play used games?
Yes, but not in the traditional sense. Gamers are used to buying or borrowing a used game and just playing it. The Xbox One will require that all games be installed on the HDD to play, and while Microsoft hasn't explicitly outlined the nature of this system, that means that there must be some kind of activation code that comes with the purchase of a new game, and that if you're buying a used game, you'll need to also buy a new activation code for it.
Is the controller any different?
Yes and no. The design is the same as the 360's, which is one of the most beloved game controller designs of all time, but the wireless device will have new functionality. It has more targeted "vibrating impulse triggers" and will pair directly with the Kinect, which will sense it as an extension of your hand.
And that's about it as far as the core details go. Once Microsoft clarifies some of these points, we'll update the post accordingly. In the meantime, enjoy some of these clips from today's presentation: