Leak/Rumor: Blogger Leaks Xbox Game Announcements at E3 in L.A.

On June 9th in Los Angeles, Microsoft is set to announce a number of upcoming Xbox One games at its annual E3 2014 event. Microsoft does its best to keep this type of information secret to build up excitement, but today, a person who claims to have inside information on the event has revealed for us the details on what Microsoft has in store for us at theirE3 conference.

According to blogger “TheCutAndDry” at http://thecutanddry.blogspot.co.uk whose one and only post is the leak itself, the following announcements will be made on June 9th in Los Angeles:

– Halo 5 release date will be announced and also 343 Industries will unveil Halo 2: Anniversary. “This is a full (multiplayer included) visual makeover of Halo 2, it will also include the same options as Halo Anniversary (Including both visual modes) skulls etc. It will include the E3 2003 mission as a bonus unlockable and the maps from the PC version.”

– Ryse 2 is in the works and is set to be announced at the show “in a real-time in-game trailer. Gone is the Roman period, enter the medieval setting. The game will offer more freedom of exploration and a refined combat system. The main character is a sell-sword of sorts with a greater destiny. This game looks beyond belief. No release date (possibly late 2016)”.

– Forza Horizon 2 will be announced for release in October 2014 via Playground Games. It will once again be open world and set in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Arkansas. Full day/night cycle, real time weather. Estimated 80 hour single player.

– Epic will be there to unveil their new game base on the Samaritan demo from 2012. This will be XBOX ONE EXCLUSIVE as Microsoft is the publisher. Possibly the best looking game of this generation.

– Good Science Studios will unveil their Kinect Only game “EchoBlack” – The game is controlled via the use of Kinect and the player plots through an adventure game drawn as by echolocation. The vibrancy of the world depicted alters depending on the pitch, loudness and location of the players voice. No release date.

– Twisted Pixel will reveal their next digital game which is set in a sci-fantasy planet of Dekelsus. Possibly a 2.5D platformer.

– Black Tusk will have a CGI trailer for Gears of War : Lazurus which will show the direction the series is heading.

– Lionhead will have a brief gameplay of Fable Legends and bow out with a teaser of their next project which is set in a post-cataclysmic Earth decimated by egg shaped objects (possibly aliens)

– Phantom Dust : Sacrifice is being worked on by Grounding Inc and will be a prequel to the original. The game will be episodic in nature.

– Quantum Break will be out November 2014 – There is a multiplayer mode – Part 1 of a trilogy. The game has had a significant graphical upgrade since last year.

– Sunset Overdrive is aiming for release on the last weeks of August/Early September. Graphically it looks like the CG trailer and the Parkour element of the game is a mix of Sonic, Jet Set Radio and Ratchet and Clank.

– Leap Experience Pioneers will announce their game which looks like a TPS/RPG hybrid set in a Sci-fi universe. Looks very Mass Effect inspired. COMING 2015

– Games With Gold will be announced for Xbox One starting immediately. The aim is that it will be 1 retail game a month, 1 digital game per month of a choice of 2. This will evolve as time goes on.

– Microsoft will announce the date when retail units can be activated as development kits, it will be before October 2014.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is Xbox One's Best-Selling Game in Q1

codghosts2In the first quarter of 2014, Activision reported “better-than-expected performance [which] was driven by record digital sales in Blizzard Entertainment’s franchises” according to Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer, Activision Blizzard in the Activision Blizzard Q1 Financial Results earnings report.

The iconic franchise outperformed its first-shooter competition on both the Xbox One and PS4 gaming consoles, however exact sales figures are still not available. According to Wesley Yin-Poole’s EG report:

Infinity Ward’s first-person shooter Call of Duty: Ghosts is the best-selling PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game, Activision has said.

It beat out competition from the likes of EA’s Battlefield 4 and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 4, which also launched on both consoles last year.

Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg called it “an important achievement as we establish Call of Duty as the first person action game of choice for the next-gen”.

Ghosts was the second best-selling game across Europe and North America during the first quarter of 2014, too. Number one was Skylanders Swap Force.

Activision officials hailed the success of Call of Duty: Ghosts in a financial call last night, but failed to reveal exact sales figures. It is believed sales of Ghosts came in under previous games in the series, including Black Ops 2 and Modern Warfare 3.

E3 Xbox press event to air June 9th on Spike Xbox Live and Windows Phone

xboxIt’s that time again. E3 is just around the corner being only a few weeks away. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the annual trade show for the tech and video game industry and is an exclusive, industry-only event. Which is what makes it the best place to be to get the latest on Xbox and console gaming if you get the opportunity to attend.

Major Nelson just reported that Microsoft’s Xbox E3 press briefing will take place Monday, June 9th beginning at 9:30AM PDT.  A live stream will be available via Xbox Live and Windows Phone globally.  A live stream will also air on Spike TV in the US and Canada.

We expect to hear more news as we get closer to E3 regarding AAA titles and long awaited games such as Halo to be presented. We are also expecting many of the long awaited Xbox Originals to be shown and release dates to be announced.  Stay tuned and follow us for more information.

 

Halo drama series to air on Showtime

halomovieWith the recent announcements of Xbox Originals and two major Halo titles in the works, one of them being a movie series directed by Rydley Scott while the other is a Steven Spielberg TV drama series. It seems that Spielberg’s adaptation of Halo is planned to air on Showtime. It has been said that Microsoft is very close to finalizing the deal to bringing Spielberg’s Halo series to their broader audience in addition to existing 48 million Xbox Live subscribers.

According to Variety, the negotiations between Microsoft and Showtime have been prolonged as both parties are trying to work out the details of this new business venture. Halo is of great importance to Microsoft, and they intend to see this project succeed. This can be a major catalyst to the success of its newly planned original programming and greatly enhance the Xbox brand overall. It appears that Halo episodes will first air on Showtime, then follow on Xbox which will include interactive content. Stuart Beattie is one of the executive producers who will be working with Spielberg. He is best known for his writing and directing of movies such as “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” and many other titles.

This project is rumored to start airing in June after the announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on June 10th, 2014. Halo has a deep and vast universe of stories to tell, we look forward to finally seeing some of these stories come to life in form of a TV series.

Microsoft goes toe to toe with Netflix

Xbox Originals LogoMicrosoft’s vision of its Xbox One is becoming apparent to the public as the company recently announced it would be making original shows exclusively to its customers.  HBO started this trend with shows like The Sopranos and Sex & the City, Netflix has been doing this for quite some time and it has proven to be a very successful formula for them, with hit shows like House of Cards, now Microsoft aims to take it a step beyond with big budget shows like Halo and interactivity through Kinect.

We are developing premium, original content for the Xbox community which is an audience we are incredibly respectful of,” said Nancy Tellem, president of Xbox Entertainment Studios. “We believe Xbox Originals should embrace the way our fans think about traditional TV.” Tellem’s creative vision involves year-round, high-quality programs based on subjects gamers care about, with interactive features tailored to each show.

There are 12 different projects in the works and we expect so see some of these unveiled at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the most notable of these productions is Halo. There will be two separate scripted projects on the “Halo” Franchise.  Halo is arguably the game that made the Xbox brand what it is today, Xbox Live exploded with users because of Halo in the original Xbox era.  Halo has built has such a massive following through games, and its popular books that have seen regular releases since 2001, that it has become a multi-billion dollar franchise of its own.  Halo games alone have sold over 50 million copies and have grossed almost $3.4billion.  There are over 15 Halo novels written by world renowned authors such as Greg Bear. The Halo universe is vast and has many stories to tell, it is of a dark toned nature, and with the recent announcement that Ridley Scott will be producing this series, Halo fans can rest assured that their beloved franchise is in good hands.

“I know full well from my years spent at traditional TV networks that creating a lineup of hit shows isn’t easy. It’s the beginning of a long journey, but we’re incredibly excited to be on our way,” Tellem said.

There are over 80 Million Xbox’s 360’s sold worldwide, 5 million Xbox Ones and roughly 250 million Windows 8 users – this is a massive reach Microsoft has with its audience, we still don’t know how they will use this new service to deliver all these projects, will they be available on all Microsoft powered devices and operating systems running the Xbox Video app? Will they require some sort of subscription? Is it only free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers? Maybe it will require an even more premium Xbox subscription, Xbox Live Gold is about $60/year currenty.  Either way Microsoft seems to have a big audience they can work with, in comparison Netflix has just surpassed 35 million paying subscribers.

What Microsoft needs now is an Apple TV/Roku/Amazon Fire TV competitor – an Xbox version that doesn’t play games, an Xbox that costs $99-$150 and does everything else today’s Xbox One does but with a Kinect included.  There have been rumors of Microsoft planning to subsidize the Xbox One through cable companies and internet service providers, this could be a momentous achievement as it can open the door to not just the 80 million customers its predecessor achieved in 8 years, but potentially hundreds of Millions of customers.

It seems the original content is the way to go these days as even more companies are getting into this space – Amazon is going at it full force recently announcing deal with HBO.  Amazon Studios has already produced hit shows like Alpha House in 2013, and just a few months ago was renewed for a second season, more shows are on their way.

The battle for original content has just begun, Netflix has started something that’s proven to work, and it may be the secret sauce Microsoft needs to crack the TV market and drive more consumers to the Microsoft Cloud, we look forward to E3 this June as some of these shows are set to be unveiled.

Xbox Coming to China

xbox-one-china

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that the Xbox One will begin selling its Xbox One entertainment console in China this September – they will work with a Chinese  firm called BesTV, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media Group New Media to bring not only game content, but over-the-top television content.

Consoles in China have been banned since the early 2000’s but the ban was recently lifted in September of 2013 and Microsoft is preparing to launch the Xbox One in China this September.

Due to China’s rather large middle class that can afford $500+ for a gaming console, Microsoft is eager to enter such a market as it may gain the competitive edge by entering the market first, with no major competition.   According to Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s VP of Marketing,”The culture of games and entertainment is rapidly growing in China, with nearly half a billion people playing games – roughly a third of the country’s population and more than the entire population of North America.”

The biggest challenge will likely be converting a culture of piracy and “free to play gaming” mind-set that is rampant in China and try to make people pay for something they are used to getting for free. The wide-spread piracy is also a concern for Microsoft as it will be the target of hackers and pirates who are looking to counterfeit their products and content.  To combat this, Microsoft will need to work closely with the Chinese government.

Microsoft’s Xbox sales are at about 5 Million while Sony’s PlayStation 4 has surpassed 7 million. As this console war rages on, Microsoft looks to increase its sales figures by being the first console to launch in China.  Sony launched its console in over 54 markets while the Xbox One is available in 13, but the surprise comes as the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One in its strongest market, the US.  Although it is only a very slight lead, last generation the Xbox 360 handily outsold its rival.  The PS4 is $100 cheaper than the Xbox which comes with a Kinect sensor.  However the Xbox 360 was a complete failure in Japan last generation, it’s almost as if purchasing an Xbox was considered a sin in Japan.  China may tell a different story as Sony is not a Chinese brand, but we will follow the trend and watch how Microsoft plays in the Chinese market.

YouTube: Xbox One Coming to China (Microsoft)

Xbox One Review – The Future Is Here!

Microsoft’s approach with its 3rd iteration gaming console is a very ambitious one, as it aspires to be the center of all of your living room entertainment and revolutionize gaming.  Xbox One offers a slick user interface that is easy to navigate through and consume content on.  It is designed to watch TV on, make Skype calls, consume media and as a gateway drug into Microsoft’s giant ecosystem of services.  It is built on the foundation of Windows and shares the same core as Windows 8, and Windows Phone.  Xbox one is built around Kinect this times around, and it is an integral part of overall the experience.  Kinect listens to your voice commands and guides you on a journey of discovering your favorite music, TV shows, movies and your digital library on OneDrive.  With a voice command Kinect powers on your Xbox and TV so you no longer need to use the controller when you don’t want to play games.

Design

WP_20140302_13_01_37_ProXbox One is big, chunky, and some say ugly, but its modern lines, heat dissipating edges, half matte and half glossy body giving it strong distinct look, it is designed to blend in  with other components of your home entertainment center , since it heavily resembles an audio receiver.  It is taller, wider, and longer than Sony’s PlayStation 4, it also comes with a massive power brick, while its competitor managed to not have one.  The Xbox one is designed to be always powered on, unlike its predecessor the Xbox 360 which suffered from overeating problems in its first few years after launch and cost Microsoft billions of dollars to repair under warranty.  They definitely do not want to repeat something like that again.   Because of the Xbox Ones large size, it has one giant cooling fan inside which doesn’t have to turn fast in order to cool the system, it also helps with reducing fan noise, keeping it near silent.

WP_20140302_13_00_51_ProOn the front of Xbox One, there is a bright white “Xbox Logo” button which serves as a capacitive on/off button, while to the far left of it, sits a slot loading Blu-ray drive.  On the left side of the Xbox one there is single USB 3.0 port, but when you focus on the back of the console, you will notice a plethora of ports.  All of the standard commonly used ports are here, HDMI out, HDMI input, power, S/PDIF for Optical audio output, dual USB 3.0 ports and an IR output, there is also a proprietary port used for plugging in the Kinect sensor.  The HDMI input is used for the systems televisions capabilities, you are also able to plug in your Xbox 360 or any other digital box to use with the Xbox One.  We tested plugging in the Xbox 360 which you can access by saying “Xbox go to TV” from there you can pick up the Xbox 360’s controller and dive back in to the previous generation.  However we did find a slight lag when playing games on the Xbox 360 when it passes through the Xbox One’s HDMI input port, I would no competitive multiplayer on the Xbox 360 this way, the lag would be too hindering to your performance.

Specs

Inside the Xbox one lies an eight-core x86 processor with an 853MHz GPU, it packs 8GB of DDR3 ram, with another 32MB of eSRAM.  It comes with a 500GB non removable HDD, it also provides wireless networking capability through a 802.11 wireless radio with built in Wi-Fi support.

Controller

WP_20140302_12_56_09_ProThe Xbox 360’s controller was touted as the best controller of the previous console generation, it was the gold standard for an optimal gaming experience and ergonomic feel, while having a dependable wireless connection.  The Xbox One’s controller very closely resembles its predecessor, but has a few extra innovations that are not obvious at first until you get some hands on with it.   It also improves on the Xbox 360’s controller’s only notable issue, the gimmicky D-pad.  It manages to feel more premium with its combination of gloss and matte finish, comfortable feeling texture, while the left and right triggers have a more distinct look.

WP_20140302_12_52_37_ProThe Xbox button is the most obvious visual change on the Xbox One’s slightly new design, it sits higher up, closer to the top of the controller rather than the middle.  The D-pad, which was the Xbox 360 controller’s only blunder, is much more responsive this time around and feels accurate.   The start and back buttons are replaced with a menu and view buttons The X,Y,B and A buttons do not protrude as much, giving them a shorter travel when pressed.  The thumb sticks have a slightly tighter, and a more precise feel, the new textured ridge around the pad offers extra grip, it is definitely a great addition for FPS games.  The Bumpers are much larger this time, the result is an even more ergonomic (natural) feel under the fingers.  The reason for the larger triggers is due to the inclusion of what Microsoft calls “Impulse trigger motors”, this will enable the triggers to now rumble and shudder under your fingers in certain parts of a game. With every trigger pull and explosion in “Call of Duty” or when pressing the accelerator and braking in Forza 5.  Developers will be able to adjust the rumble to be different depending on which gun you are shooting with in a game, making each weapon feel even more immersive.   The Xbox 360’s controller was known for having great battery life, the Xbox One’s takes that a good step further, and it works in coordination with Kinect.  The Kinect monitors its use, it gives it the ability to put the controller in a low power state mode when you are watching a movie and not using it.

Overall the Xbox Ones controller may not look very different than its predecessor, but it certainly feels different in a more immersive way, making a near perfect controller even better in ways no one expected.

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User Interface

Xbox One’s user interface is slightly different than that of its predecessor, the Xbox 360, as it shares the same design principles of Windows 8 and Windows Phone.   It is divided into 3 sections, the centre section being your home screen, this screen displays your most recent activities and shows and a giant tile of the last app or game you were using.  To the left is a section where your pinned apps sit, made for easy access, while to the right is the store, where you would find games, movies music and apps, there is also some featured content from the store in form of larger tiles.  The giant tile shows you where you left off in the game or app you were using, and it can also be a display of a game or even a TV program.  However, content is not as easy to find as it was on the Xbox 360, as many things are buried under the menu button of the Xbox One’s controller.  This may be partly because the user interface is very new or it may be because Microsoft wants you to use the voice commands on Kinect to find things more quickly.

Snap

A unique feature to the Xbox One is the ability to do something Microsoft calls “Snapping”, this is the ability to run two apps at once.  Snapping is achieved with the controller or by saying Xbox Snap”. Another app will then appear to the right of the one you are presently using, this feature allows a 3rd of the screen to be used by the snapped app.  To switch between the snapped app and the main app, you can say “Xbox switch” or use the controller.  However, not all apps can be snapped, Skype being the major one, playing a game and trying to snap Skype will not work, Microsoft says this feature will be available in a future update, but for now Skype is relegated to using the full screen for video chat. Skype is able in the background of another app if you chose to not use video chat and just want the audio chat experience.  When used in full screen, Skype will adjust the picture size automatically on how many people are in the room or where they are standing

Overall the UI is impressive, with its design and the ability to personalize it with your own apps and games, snapping can be a useful feature but with the snapped app using only a 3rd of the screen, it feels a little cramped sometimes, depending on what app you’ve snapped.  Some people love to listen to custom soundtracks while playing a game, this was a feature available on the Xbox 360, but in order to do so on the Xbox One, you will need to use Xbox music to achieve this.   However, you are forced to have it snapped to the side, leaving you with a smaller screen and distracting your gaming experience, since Xbox music will not run in the background.  Hopefully Microsoft addresses this problem in a future update, it is hard to imagine it not available when it worked so well on the Xbox 360.

Kinect

WP_20140302_13_02_44_ProKinect 2.0 is a revelation compared to the first generation Kinect on the Xbox 360, it does everything it is advertised to do this time around, and it does it surprisingly well, it actually feels like the start of a revolution.  Kinect not only sees you and hears you, but it also interacts with your TV and other appliances, it is also fantastic Skype tool and camera.  Kinect also has the capability to monitor your heart rate and muscle density with certain Kinect fitness apps and games. Up to four players can use Kinect this time around compared to two on the Xbox 360, and its facial recognition technology can differentiate between peoples flawlessly.

Signing into your profile when you turn on the Xbox One is a seamless experience this time around, no need to select your avatar and manually sign in, Kinect recognizes your face instantly and does it for you.  Kinect says hello and signs you in, it feels welcoming and adds a sense of ownership to the experience.

While navigating with the controller is easy, Kinect is the most efficient way to navigate through the menus, and find things.  You are able to use hand gestures or speech, by saying things such as “Xbox go to OneDrive”, will launch OneDrive, from there you can still use the app with voice commands or take over with the controller.  Say “Xbox, Bing”, and then saying “Batman” and it will pull all media associated with Batman such as movies, games and music.  You are also able tell Internet Explorer which website to browse to by saying “Xbox browse to…and then the website.”  There are so many commands you can say, and speaking them feels natural and sometimes mesmerizing when things Kinect works flawlessly.  Once you become used to it using voice commands for virtually everything, you might find yourself talking to other TV’s in the household without Xbox One’s connected to them, but you will be disappointed.  Kinect works about 9 out of 10 times when calibrated correctly, I recommend increasing the volume to ear decimating levels while calibrating.  You will be surprised when Kinect hears through a loud movie when saying “Xbox Pause” to pause the movie, even in a loud scene with explosions.  When you say Xbox, a green circle pops up in the top right corner, it notifies you that Kinect is listening for a voice command, from there you would say the command of your choice and it should work flawlessly, you may have to repeat yourself in some occasions, but even when the green circle is present and Kinect is listening, when saying the word “Xbox” again with the voice command following right after, Kinect is able to execute commands much more accurately.

Overall Kinect still needs updating, but for an out of the box experience, it is a very impressive device, the future of Kinect is very bright as Microsoft updates it frequently, for now Kinect only responds to the set commands that it is programmed with, it is not able to interpret the way people normally speak and know what you want it to do, if you do not say the given commands Kinect will not do any guessing, you would have to get used to saying the full name of the games as well.  Saying “Xbox resume Ryse” you’ll have to say Ryse: Son Of Rome, or Fifa 2014 instead of just saying Fifa.  With rumored plans of Microsoft working on an A.I. personal assistant which is set to work across its entire software ecosystem, there is not telling what the future of Kinect could bring to the living room and integration with Windows.

What’s it’s the Box

WP_20140302_13_11_34_ProThe Xbox One comes with pretty much the same things as the non-Xbox 360 arcade models came with.  An Xbox one Purchase gets you, the console and a Kinect, it comes with one controller with batteries, a headset and headset adapter, and a power brick.  Microsoft also includes a 14-day free trial of Xbox Live.

Xbox Live

Xbox Live became a gold standard for a complete gaming experience last generation.  Microsoft looks to go beyond the Xbox live experience the Xbox 360 provided, by including an integrated cloud experience, a social gaming network, and place to upload and share your recorded game content.  Microsoft says there are 300 000 servers  dedicated to computational assistance, supporting cloud based saves, offering dedicated server support for online matches and much more, with the embracing of the cloud.

If you are an existing Xbox live Gold subscriber, your membership will transition over to the Xbox One, while still retaining your Xbox 360 membership.

Xbox Live now supports up to 1000 friends, it has been raised from the previous limit of 100, the PS4 however allows for 2000 friends.  A great new feature of Xbox Live, is the ability to follow friends as they journey across their favorite games, apps and other media related capabilities of the Xbox, uploaded game clips are here as well.    This new feature of following a gamers profile feels like twitter, but for gaming related content.  It gives you a feeling of being more connected to other gamers and friends you care to follow.

Voice chat has been significantly improved with its higher bit rate, you are able to use Skype or regular Xbox live chat to communicate while gaming.

Smart match is a feature Microsoft says will improve the way matchmaking works on Xbox live.  With its new advanced algorithms smart match is able to pair players based on things like, reputation, skill, language, and even a specific gameplay style.  We noticed when our friends start an online match, and you happened to be in a party chat with them, an automatic game invite gets sent to you as well, it’s a welcome feature which be useful at times.

Parental Controls

Xbox One offers the ability to set up parental controls for your kids, it being the entertainment centre piece of your living room can make this feature feel important.  You are able to set limits to what your child can access, whether its websites they can view or material on the Xbox One Guide.  Settings this up will require your children to have a Microsoft Account, which is best to set up prior to the restricted accounts on the Xbox One.  The best way to use this feature is to enable the Kinect based sign in, kids enter the living room Kinect will automatically sign them in.  Using this option works better since it ensures that the child is signed in, otherwise they could skip that process and have full access to all of the content using someone else’s account.

Game DVR is a fantastic new addition which gives you the ability to save your favorite in game moments and upload to share with friends.  Saying “Xbox record that” records the last 30sec of your game play, which you can later edit in the Upload Studio app and add narration through Kinect,  For recording longer clips up to 5min long you would have to launch the Upload Studio app.

Once finished with editing you have the ability to share it with your friends and/or upload it to OneDrive, or manually upload to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

Smartglass

Smartglass is Microsoft’s second screen experience of the Xbox One, this second screen experience is designed to further enhance the information displayed by the Xbox one and to provide control and navigation of through devices like a tablet, phone, Laptop, or a desktop PC.  The Xbox ones version of smartglass is a much better overall experience from the first version on the Xbox 360.  Singing in is instant, it is very responsive and provides the user with better controls and a much better UI.  Launching apps from Smartglass is easy while several games have companion apps for it as well.  The most useful function of smartglass is the ability to use the keyboard, which is much better experience than using the consoles keyboard and manually navigating letter by letter.  It is a great way to respond to messages and use the integrated Bing search.  Using Smartglass to operate the browser is efficient as well, its keyboard functionality and using it to navigate through the web page is a very useful tool.  This feature hold a lot of promise with the even more interactive abilities coming in the future, but for now, you are able to get a good glimpse into the future of how interacting with your Xbox will work from another device.

TV/Xbox One Guide

Microsoft’s intention is to make Xbox One be the centerpiece of your living room, With Kinect’s voice recognition technology and gesture support the Xbox One guide truly breathes new life into the television experience.  The Xbox one is the first system that truly make the TV experience feel smarter in almost every way.

By plugging in your existing set-top-box, into the HDMI input port in the back of the consoles, and completing the brief setup process, allows the service to work through the Xbox one.  Xbox One Guide is Microsoft’s version of a TV guide which not only shows you what is on TV but is able to save your favorite TV shows, Movies, channels and integrates with other apps  (e.g. OneDrive and Hulu plus).  Saying “Xbox watch TV” instantly takes you into the Xbox One guide

The Xbox One guide can be operated with voice via Kinect, by saying “Xbox watch CNN” instantly tunes into CNN, you can also say things such as “Xbox, what on HBO?” it will pull up the guide and show you what’s currently on HBO with whatever you were watching still running in a smaller screen and not being interrupted.  A feeling of awe first washes over you when you see the instant switching between channels, apps and games, through voice command, it feels like the TV has finally been done right.  Kinect is also supports universal remotes for those who prefer to use a remote thanks to its inclusion of an IR blaster.

Launch Titles

The Xbox One Launched with a decent amount of first party launch Titles, more than its competitor the Sony PS4. These titles include, Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, and Dead Rising 3, which are fun games but not AAA status games.  TitanFall is the game to get now on the Xbox One and I would say that this is the official start to the next generation of gaming.

Verdict

The Xbox One feels like a product from the future with its Kinect based voice recognition capabilities and powerful services.  Walking into the living room and saying “Xbox on” and having your TV and Xbox turn on automatically really feels like something from a sci-fi movie.  It makes you feel like everything should work this way, just saying “Xbox pause” or “Xbox play” while watching a movie gives you a sense of awe sometimes. This times around, Kinect makes using and navigating through the Xbox feel natural and an essential part of the overall experience.

Microsoft Services such as OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) Bing, Xbox Music and Xbox Video are fantastic services that really make this console stand out and feel complete with high quality offerings.  There are many great apps like Netflix, YouTube and Twitch which also add to the experience.