Microsoft touts Xbox One as all-in-one entertainment (Update 4)

May 21, 2013 by Barbara Ortutay
Microsoft Corp.'s Don Mattrick unveils the next-generation Xbox entertainment and gaming console system, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at an event in Redmond, Wash.I t's been eight years since the launch of the Xbox 360. The original Xbox debuted in 2001, and its high-definition successor premiered in 2005. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Microsoft thinks it has the one. The company unveiled the Xbox One, an entertainment console that wants to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment. It will go on sale later this year, for an undisclosed price.

For the past two years, Microsoft has led the gaming industry in console sales with the Xbox 360. But it's been eight years since that machine came out, and Microsoft is the last of the three major console makers to unveil a new system. In those eight years, Apple launched the iPhone and the iPad, "FarmVille" rose and fell and tablets began to threaten desktop computers, changing how people interact with games and beyond.

Now, the stakes are high as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all using their latest machines to not only draw gamers but also command the living room. The goal is to extend their reach beyond loyal legions of hardcore gamers and to become as important to our lives at home as smartphones have become to our lives on the go.

Don Mattrick, Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment business, said the company has spent the past four years working on the "all-in-one home entertainment system."

At an hour-long presentation at the company's Redmond, Washington, headquarters on Tuesday, Microsoft executives used voice controls to seamlessly switch back and forth between watching live TV, listening to music, playing a movie and browsing the Internet—all while running apps for fantasy football and Skype chats. It showed how users could watch live sports on TV while getting updates on their fantasy leagues on a split screen.

"It really extends the home entertainment experience," Gartner analyst Brian Blau said.

He said the console seems to appeal to "more than just a core gamer in the family" and should be of interest to all types of audiences, from sports players to TV viewers to those who are "social and want to share things."

This product image released by Microsoft shows the new Xbox One entertainment console that will go on sale later this year. Microsoft is seeking to stay ahead of rivals in announcing that new content that can be downloaded for the popular "Call of Duty" game will launch first on Xbox One. Microsoft says more games will be shown at next month's E3 video game conference in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Microsoft)

Xbox One is the third entry in the latest round of the "console wars." It follows Nintendo Co.'s launch of the Wii U in November and Sony Corp.'s tease in February for the upcoming PlayStation 4. Each of the next-generation consoles have shifted away from simply serving as gaming machines, as they incorporate streaming media apps and social networking features.

With the Xbox One, people will be able to connect their cable or satellite set-top box and watch TV through the game machine. The Xbox One has its own guide and lets people change channels by voice command.

Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi demonstrated how the console switched quickly between channels after saying show names such as "Mary and Martha" or commands like "watch MTV." His voice command of "What's on HBO?" brought up the channel guide for HBO.

"No more memorizing channels or hunting for the remote control," Mehdi said.

Microsoft Corp.'s Don Mattrick unveils the next-generation Xbox entertainment and gaming console system, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at an event in Redmond, Wash. It's been eight years since the launch of the Xbox 360. The original Xbox debuted in 2001, and its high-definition successor premiered in 2005. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The interface for the TV goes well beyond the functionality in the Wii U, which still requires users to press buttons to change the input source on the TV. Xbox One seamlessly switched between games, movies and TV shows with a single voice command.

"You can switch to your game like it's a TV channel flip," said Marc Whitten, Microsoft's chief product officer of interactive entertainment business. He called it a "lag-free instant experience."

Microsoft also unveiled a new version of its camera-based Kinect system with better motion and voice detection, including the ability to read faces and tell whether you're smiling or not. The Kinect will be required for Xbox One to work. The company also introduced a more ergonomic Xbox controller, with new buttons and a slightly different layout from the Xbox 360 controller. The new console will also add the ability to play Blu-ray discs, matching what Sony has in its older PlayStation 3.

Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system is on display after its unveiling Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at an event in Redmond, Wash. The Xbox One, a next-generation entertainment console that promises to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment, will go on sale later this year. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Among the games previewed for Xbox One were the military shooter "Call of Duty: Ghosts" from Activision Blizzard Inc., the soccer extravaganza "FIFA 14" from Electronic Arts Inc. and the racing simulator "Forza Motorsport 5" and time bender "Quantum Break," both from Microsoft Game Studios. Microsoft said more games will be shown at next month's E3 video game conference in Los Angeles.

The company said there will be more than 15 games available exclusively on the Xbox One in the first year after it launches, eight of them new franchises. In recent years, the Xbox has been the exclusive home to such popular gaming franchises as "Halo," ''Forza" and alien shoot-'em-up "Gears of War."

This Tuesday, May 21, 2013 photo shows a rear view of Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console, on display at an event in Redmond, Wash. The Xbox One, a next-generation entertainment console that promises to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment, will go on sale later this year. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter noted that Tuesday's presentation was more general than what Microsoft will likely give at E3, where games will be central as thousands of game industry insiders, bloggers and journalists gather for the annual industry conference.

"They didn't focus on games," he said. "They focused on everything else."

That everything else includes a multiyear agreement between Microsoft and the National Football League to develop new interactive viewing experiences for pro football games through such products as the Xbox One and Microsoft's Surface tablet computer. Fans will get the ability to watch games, chat with other fans, view statistics, access highlights in real time and gather fantasy information about players and teams—all on a single screen. For those who prefer multiple screens, fans can get an even deeper experience on mobile devices such as tablets.

The Kinect motion-sensing device for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system is on display Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at an event in Redmond, Wash. The Xbox One, a next-generation entertainment console that promises to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment, will go on sale later this year. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Microsoft is also branching into creating original content beyond games, following the trend of other technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. Director Steven Spielberg will produce a TV series involving Microsoft's popular "Halo" franchise.

Microsoft said games for the Xbox 360 won't work on the new system, though the company said it will continue to make games for the older machine. The Xbox One won't require a constant connection to the Internet, but having it will be useful for many of the gaming and entertainment features. The Xbox has been popular largely because of its Xbox Live service, which lets users play games online with other players for as much as $60 a year.

A controller for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system is on display after its unveiling Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at an event in Redmond, Wash. The Xbox One, a next-generation entertainment console that promises to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment, will go on sale later this year. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The original Xbox debuted in 2001, and its high-definition successor premiered in 2005. Part of the Microsoft entertainment and devices division that also includes Skype and the Windows Phone, the Xbox represents a small fraction of Microsoft's overall revenue. In the latest quarter, revenue in that division amounted to about 12 percent, or $2.5 billion of the $20.5 billion total.

Nintendo kicked off the next generation of gaming in November with the launch of the Wii U, the successor to the popular Wii system. The Wii U features an innovative tablet-like controller, though its graphics is on par with the previous-generation Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo said the console sold just 3.45 million units by the end of March, well below expectations.

Sony was next, teasing plans for its upcoming PlayStation 4—without showing the actual box—at a February event in New York. The reaction to that console, which featured richer graphics and more social features, was mixed. The PS4 is expected by the holidays.

Microsoft didn't waste any time showing off the Xbox One console, new Kinect sensor and Xbox controller at the beginning of Tuesday's presentation.

Microsoft's stock fell 23 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close Tuesday at $34.85.

Explore further: Microsoft expected to reveal next-generation Xbox (Update)

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EyeNStein
1.8 / 5 (5) May 21, 2013
Microsoft's stock fell 6 cents to $35.02 in early afternoon trading Tuesday.

Says it all really..
Nothing exiting just more of the, same old, same new, from Microsoft.
It could have been worse had they pushed how compatible with Windows 8 it is.
(Though a plug for a beefed up App store wouldn't go amiss.)
zaxxon451
1 / 5 (1) May 21, 2013
Consume, sheep.
EyeNStein
1.8 / 5 (5) May 21, 2013
40nm x86 and GPU incompatible with all the existing 360 games. What a slap in the face for their existing customers.
Soylent_Grin
5 / 5 (2) May 21, 2013
40nm x86 and GPU incompatible with all the existing 360 games. What a slap in the face for their existing customers.

The hardware specs on this blows the original and 360 out of the water. A more powerful system can always emulate a less powerful one. It won't be long before emulators are written, if not an official application by Microsoft itself, then by hackers roughly 18-36 hours after release. Since the company is more interested in selling new games rather than supporting existing ones they already have the money for, I'm going to guess it will be unofficial.
EyeNStein
1.8 / 5 (5) May 22, 2013
SG: Hope you're right.
I could guarantee it would be number one download on the App store.
Except that the App store for the new X-box is the Metro/Win8 app store, as it has a windows kernel.
Ripped off X-box games working on a Win8 PC would be a real downer for M$oft
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (25) May 22, 2013
40nm x86 and GPU incompatible with all the existing 360 games. What a slap in the face for their existing customers.


Why would you want to play old 360 games on the new system? Just leave your 360 setup.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) May 22, 2013
Never saw the appeal of a console, myself.
If you have a high end PC anyways - on which the games usually look much better than on the contemporary gaming systems - why shell out bucks for an inferior gaming platform?

A more powerful system can always emulate a less powerful one

But emulation adds a layer which usually means that emulated hardware on a faster machine runs effectively slower than the real, old one.
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (26) May 22, 2013
Ya, they should allow updragable GPU's in these consoles, as in what makes PC gaming superior.
btb101
not rated yet May 26, 2013
now the other facts missed out (or not available at time),
it only comes with 500gig hard drive and all games need to be installed onto it.
If you want to play 2ndhand games, you have to pay a fee. the fee will make the game almost full price. a code needs to be input BEFORE installation and then the xbone needs to be attached to the net once a day in order to have your system/software verified.
in the initial presentation TV was mentioned 56 times.
if you want to watch tv, use your tv.
like windows 8, i believe it is going to be huge flop as m/s only have 15 confirmed games for release while ps4 has 27. Sony has not said anything about 2ndhand game fees yet.

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