The Xbox One
is Microsoft's entry into The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games
. It was released in North America on November 22, 2013. Its odd name
, the "One", represents Microsoft's desire for the system to become an all-in-one living room entertainment system. The Xbox One integrates video games with Internet video, music, and live television — a goal Microsoft had wanted to accomplish since the original Xboxnote
, and which it had partially realized with the Xbox 360
This system has considerably more power under the hood than the Xbox 360. Like the competing PlayStation 4
, the Xbox One switched from a PowerPC chipset to a x86-64 chipset similar to contemporary PCs to allow for better PC ports. This had the side effect of removing hardware backwards compatibility with the original Xbox and the 360note
Aside from providing better graphics, the improved hardware allows for additional features such as full-fledged multitasking. The console actually runs three separate operating systems simultaneously: the first, referred to as "Xbox OS", revolves around the runtime environment for games; the second, built on the Windows NT kernelnote
, handles the Dashboard and any apps that don't require native access to the hardware; the third, a version of Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology, allows the first two to run simultaneously. Games and apps can run side by side using a "snap" view similar to the one seen in Windows 8 — demos show a docked instance Skype or Internet Explorer to the side of the screen while someone plays a game.
The console also features an HDMI in-port, which allows owners to use the system as a passthrough for a cable or satellite box to watch live TV. Users can seamlessly jump between playing a game and watching TV without having to change inputs — and they can engage in more interactive content with their TV through a custom channel guide and app integration. This has also led to the Inception
-style discovery that it is possible to play a PlayStation 4
, or any other HDMI-out console, from within an Xbox One.
After the system's big reveal in early 2013, concerns were raised about DRM
and the included-with-every-system-by-default Kinect's always-on status. The official word from Microsoft said the system would allow used games, but publishers would have to decide if they wanted to charge a fee for each re-install — and games could only be re-installed so many times before the system negated future installations. Microsoft also said it would need to keep track of what games a user had installed, so the console would have to check in with Microsoft every twenty-four hours
(with some content requiring a 1-hour check in). The Kinect would also need to remain plugged into the system at all times, which would allow gamers to issue voice commands to the system and use the Kinect for other purposes (as well as allow Microsoft to mine valuable user data). Along with the $499 pricetag, these factors led to increased controversy amongst gamers and the media. On top of those issues, Microsoft had planned to make the console available in a scant twenty-one countries
; if you imported a console into a country where you couldn't officially buy it, the DRM would make sure it wouldn't function.
After widespread ridicule
from all sides (including a couple of scathing burns from Sony during its E3 2013 presentation), Microsoft eventually reversed its policy on DRM.
The system no longer requires daily check-ins, used game fees, or region coding
— but only after downloading a patch to disable those "features"
, which requires an Internet connection when setting the system up for the first time (everyone without Internet access or with slow Internet speeds gets shafted). The backtrack forced Microsoft to drop several features that its original DRM scheme would've enabled, such as loading games installed to the hard drive without the disc inserted and the ability to loan out digital copies of games.note
On August 12, 2013, Microsoft also retracted the "always-plugged-in" requirement for the Kinect
. Furthermore, on May 13, 2014, Microsoft announced that it was introducing a Kinect-less SKU for $399, €399, or £349, matching the PlayStation 4
, though the Kinect bundle will still be sold at $499.
Originally, a second-generation Kinect came with every Xbox One, but it is now a secondary purchase at a to-be-determined price. While the Xbox 360's Kinect relied on basic skeletal tracking, the new version improves on this by using a full 1080p sensor to read more precise details and subtle motions such as wrist rotation, musculature, and even a user's heart rate. It can now recognize six people at once instead of two, all in a smaller areanote
, and with virtually no latency. Voice commands have similarly improved and now come nearly universally implemented in the system. The console can even boot up from hibernation by saying "Xbox On".
The Xbox One has deeper integration with Skype, which will take over for the existing chat system and integration with the now-defunct Windows Live Messenger that the 360 featured. An updated version of SmartGlass will be available for smartphones and tablets, which (like Kinect 2.0) will hopefully fulfill its original vision, as it will be natively included with the Xbox One (rather than added-on later as it was on the 360). The use of WiFi Direct will allow it to bypass a router and thus improve its performance. The controller will also use WFD note
Speaking of the controller: Microsoft made a more evolved version of its 360 predecessor with refinements to ergonomics and "impulse triggers" (which contain their own vibration motors for feedback, such as recoil from a gun trigger). Whereas previous generations assigned controllers to virtual "ports", the Xbox One's optional Kinect sensor will identify each individual controller by a built-in infrared LED array. This will allow for, among other things, players to switch out controllers seamlessly and split-screen games to automatically align teams/controllers based on where the players are sitting.
- AMD "Jaguar" Accelerated Processing Unit (a CPU & GPU on a single chip)
- The CPU has eight x86-64 cores running at 1.75 GHz each.
- The "Durango" GPU contains 768 GPU shaders, running at 853 MHz, with performance rated at 1.31 TFLOPS
- 8 GB DDR3-2133 system memory with a total bandwidth of 68.3GB/s
- 5 GB is available for games.
- 3 GB for Operating System & Kinect.
- The GPU has 32MB of eDRAM with a bandwidth of 102GB/s
- 500 GB internal, non-removable Hard Drive
- Blu-ray drive
- 1080p output standard.
- Direct X 11.1 API support.
- Reported performance is 12.8 gigapixels per second and 38.4 gigatexels per second.
- 1 HDMI in port; 1 HDMI out port; 1 optical audio out port
- 3 USB 3.0 ports
- 802.11n Wireless with Wi-fi Direct; 1 Ethernet 10/100/1000 port