Microsoft Explains How Xbox One Features Actually Work in Games
Record and Stream Everything
While the panel also discussed elements like graphics and games interfacing with other devices like mobile tablets, another big element was the ability to create videos from gameplay sessions. Lobb explained that your Xbox One is continually storing your play sessions.
“Upload is part of the platform,” Lobb said. “Everything you play is being recorded locally all the time. … Let’s say I’m playing in the middle of a multiplayer match. I can’t bring up some app, I can’t do something else — I’m playing. So I just say ‘Xbox, record.’ Saves the last 30 seconds so I can do something with it later.”
Lobb also gave a quick presentation showing a video he’d made from Killer Instinct, saving a match between two players and adding things like intro and outro slides. You’ll also be able to pull up the uploader app without actually doing any uploading, he said, so that you can make edits and mess with your footage at your leisure. Recording gameplay is going to be a system-wide feature, and Microsoft intends to make it as quick and easy as possible to create and share things, it seems.
Speedy Loading, Speedy Gameplay
Something Microsoft pushed hard at its reveal event was its “instant switching” capability for the Xbox One, which allows the device to go quickly from one application to another, or to wake from a sleeping or powered-down state extremely quickly. Lobb said “instant” was one of the console’s most important features when it was being developed.
“So we’ve been talking about instant for the last few years,” he said. “One of my creative directors, he said ‘instant is the new blank,’ whatever the new thing is. Instant is one of the most important things about the platform. What’s happened for the last several years … when you want to play for three or four minutes, you don’t play on a console. You play on a phone or on a tablet, and you play something more casual.”
That won’t have to be the case with the Xbox One, he said, because Microsoft is pushing for the platform to support faster booting up, quicker transitions to get you into your games, and the ability to pick up where you left off as quickly as possible. If you were to walk off to dinner, he said, you’d pause your game and shut down your Xbox One — but when you get back, you’ll be able to resume play right where you were.
“When you come back, what you see is the shell with the game paused. It comes on significantly faster than your TV — one second,” he said. Microsoft is looking at loading up games in as little as 20 seconds or less — and sometimes 10, Lobb said.
The panel also suggested that Microsoft is not alone in recognizing some gamers have less time to dedicate to play. Ryse Producer Justin Robey suggested Crytek also is thinking about how to accommodate the gaming habits of adults who don’t have as much time to dedicate to long play sessions.
“We have features in Ryse that are significantly built around time,” Robey said. “We have things for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes. Just enough time before your next television show? Yeah, we think about that stuff. We have things like that.”
“We don’t like wasting time any more than you do,” Hyrb joked.
It’s true that a lot of questions persist with the Xbox One. Players have heard a little bit about the console’s use of cloud computing for features such as Forza 5′s “Driveatar,” which will use artificial intelligence to study the way players race and then copy them while they’re away, but how cloud computing will affect larger gameplay mechanics remains up in the air. Privacy concerns about how the Kinect 2.0 works and how it identifies players persist, and there are no real details about self publishing or many other features.
But the new technology in the Xbox One will clearly convey some very cool, potentially very next-gen benefits to players, as well. One must wonder how much more smoothly the Xbox One reveal and following months would have gone if Microsoft had been better about explaining the upsides to its technological additions sooner.