Xbox One information round-up

Yesterday was a big day for Microsoft, as they finally unveiled their next-generation gaming (and entertainment) console: the Xbox One. Information was flooding in from all sides during the announcement, including what the console will look like, what hardware is underneath the exterior, what the situation with TV integration is, what gaming will be like, and even the next generation Kinect sensor.

Here's an easy-to-read, dot-point summary of everything revealed about the Xbox One at yesterday's event, including what we still don't know about the new console.

Hardware

  • CPU/GPU: AMD-made eight-core APU
  • Each CPU core is capable of 6 operations per cycle; the GPU is capable of 768 operations per cycle.
  • Cores can be turned off while not in use thanks to power-gating technology.
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 500 GB hard drive, non-removable
  • Optical Drive: Blu-ray
  • Connectivity: (up to) 802.11n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI-in port
  • x86-64 architecture, uses the Windows kernel
  • 4K video output and 7.1 surround sound is supported

Entertainment

  • The Xbox One will integrate with set-top boxes from TV providers through the HDMI in port.
  • Live television will be combined with trending entertainment from friends in the interface.
  • Set-top box integration will only be available in the United States initially.
  • TV will be maximized and minimized to the top corner similar to picture-in-picture.
  • Skype will be integrated into the Xbox One.
  • A Halo television series has been announced, produced by Steven Spielberg and exclusive to the Xbox One.
  • Microsoft has partnered with the NFL to deliver an "all new experience" through the console.

Dashboard & Software

  • Three units make up the Xbox One's operating system: an Xbox OS, a modified Windows OS and a third OS to bridge between the two.
  • Games will be run in the Xbox OS, while entertainment features and apps will run in the Windows OS.
  • Separating the OS into these units allows for developers to code games without having to worry about the other systems.
  • The console will allow app snapping similar to Windows 8, allowing multi-tasking between apps, games and media.
  • The Dashboard will be a simplified version of the current Xbox 360 Dashboard.
  • SmartGlass will allow the Xbox One to connect to second screens such as tablets and smartphones, sometimes using Wi-Fi Direct for direct communication

Gaming

  • Microsoft is still committed to the Xbox as a gaming console despite more TV and entertainment features.
  • 15 Xbox One exclusive games coming within a year of the console's launch, 8 of these to be new franchises.
  • One of these games will be 'Forza Motorsport 5' from Turn 10 Studios, which will be released later this year.
  • Another game will be 'Quantum Break' from Remedy, which is a new IP that "blurs the line between television and gameplay", although no specific launch date was announced.
  • A range of EA Sports games will be available for the console.
  • Other non-exclusive games confirmed for the Xbox One include: Assassin's Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Destiny, Thief, and Watch Dogs
  • Games will be able to be played as they're downloaded and installed in the background
  • Microsoft are upping the Xbox Live server count to over 300,000 to make multiplayer gaming a smoother experience.
  • You will be able to film video and take screenshots within games ("Magic Moments"), and then share them on social networks.
  • The Xbox One will be able to search for multiplayer playmates in the background while you watch TV or do other things.
  • As the system is not backwards compatible, Xbox 360 games will not work on the Xbox One.
  • Microsoft will "enable customers to trade-in and resell games" although specifics weren't discussed.
  • All Xbox One games will be installed to the console's hard drive.
  • The console will be connected to the cloud wherever possible, but not 'always-online'.
  • Achievements will be expanded for the Xbox One, including cross-game achievements and limited-time Challenges.

Controller

  • The Xbox One's controller is a similar design to the Xbox 360, but with numerous new features.
  • The battery is integrated into the body of the controller, so there's no longer a bump.
  • The controller's directional pad has been overhauled to provide better resistance.
  • Developers will be able to include varying levels of rumble feedback through Impulse Triggers.
  • Xbox 360 controllers will not be compatible with the Xbox One.

New Kinect

  • 1080p camera for improved clarity and accuracy.
  • New microphones that assist much improved voice recognition technology.
  • 2 GB per second throughput that reduces the lag of the sensor.
  • Supports up to six players at once.
  • New time-of-flight depth sensing technology that works in the dark; can sense your heart rate.
  • 60% wider field of view for use in smaller playing spaces.
  • The Kinect will be "always on" so that you can switch on your Xbox One with a voice command ("Xbox on").
  • The new Kinect will be bundled with every Xbox One console.
  • The sensor will be coming to Windows PCs at a later date.

What wasn't revealed

  • The price.
  • The launch date, although the console will launch later this year.
  • Whether the console would launch worldwide simultaneously.
  • What sort of system bundles we might expect for the Xbox One.
  • The remaining 13 exclusive titles for the console (expect these at E3 2013).
  • The exact specifics on used games and whether games will be tied to your Xbox Live profile.
  • How Xbox Live Gold accounts will work with the console, and what apps/features will be available for free.
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