Xbox One – Microsoft’s announces Xbox 360 successor – An all inclusive Home Entertainment Platform
Microsoft recently revealed its third generation Xbox – “Xbox One”, 8 years after its hugely successful predecessor Xbox 360 (having sold over 77 million units) pitching it against its closest rival Sony’s PS4. The platform has had huge expectations both from technology and gaming circles with equal share of rumors right from naming , backward compatibility, used game pricing, always on Internet connection and more. While it too early to conclude if Xbox One meets gamers view of a dream console , its ability to realize Microsoft grandiose plan for owning the living room equation and the winner in the coveted platform battle… We shall see through after E3 and beyond.
Microsoft’s vision to establish Xbox One as a complete entertainment unit scores well compared to its predecessor with significantly higher weight-age to Television, sports, social integration, apps and all around entertainment experience. Even the Microsoft press release names it as a home entertainment system rather than a gaming console. In hindsight with Mediaroom gone the Ericsson way, Xbox remains as the only and most powerful offering under Microsoft’s stable and Xbox One leaves no stones unturned with all round focus across games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype. While the divergence is discouraging to hard core gamers the move echoes more strategic than tactical in view of evolving consumer expectations, competition, range of accessories, business avenues, return on investment and simply much larger target audience. Xbox reiterates Microsoft’s changing business strategy to target multiple segments something it tried with the Surface but one can argue that Xbox belongs to altogether different universe.
There is still much more to come but below are some early takeaways
- Enhanced communication capability with fully integrated Skype supporting multi user / group calling
- Support for Ultra HD and 3D for both video and gaming
- Mandates compulsory Kinect with improved 1080p camera and enhanced 250k pixel infrared depth sensor
- An 8-core chip based on x86 processor, 8GB DDR3, in-built 500GB hard disk, USB 3.0 ports, wired gigabit Ethernet, digital optical audio out and HDMI In/out
- Collection of compelling next generation features like Smart Match, Game DVR, Snap mode and Xbox Smart Glass
- Personalization, user tracking, customizations and far greater Social integration
- Inbuilt Blu-ray drive to play HD and 3D movies
- HDMI pass-thru enabling access to programming content from Cable, Telco or satellite box
- Xbox 360 games will not be compatible on Xbox One, although it may come as a shocker to many but gaming consoles are rarely backward compatible
- Features seamless transition capability to move from gaming to Television
- Cloud based server power to offload non real time computations bringing increased in-game performance
Xbox One reflects a balancing act to introduce a Living room customized all-in-one home entertainment system for mass audience without offending the Cable and satellite providers, keeping the gaming enthusiast excited and knitting the Xbox more firmly with rest of Microsoft ecosystem (Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Azure…)