UPDATE: Xbox One Revealed: Confused, Conflicted Talk About DRM

A Total Entertainment Box?

The biggest take-away from today’s presentation is that Microsoft is going all-in on the idea of a total entertainment device. “For the first time, your TV and you are going to have a relationship,” Microsoft’s Don Mattrick said. This pretentious descriptor may have players insisting they would like to just be friends, but it ably explains a device designed, so we were told, to create a nearly seamless interaction between the consumer’s various media.

Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Online Audience Business, demonstrated how Xbox One makes heavy use of Kinect technology. Voice commands like “Xbox On”, “Xbox, Go To TV”, “Xbox, Game”, “watch movie”, “watch TV”, allow the user to access various functions of the device rather quickly. This is assuming the presentation showed the device in action of course. Several slight delays during Medhi’s time on stage led some of us at Game Front to conclude that the system’s voice activated features were actually managed remotely via a Microsoft technician. We will look forward to testing these features ourselves at E3.

Whether the all-in-one entertainment box concept comes at the expense of core gaming was unclear. Electronic Arts and Activision were on hand to show off some of what they have planned for Xbox One, but overall the presentation was defined by a paucity of actual gaming. The focus throughout was on what Microsoft staffers continuously called “intelligent TV’, by which they mean full integration of cable TV and Internet, the ability to make phone calls via Skype, the voice command system and so on.

Perhaps the biggest reveal from the presentation was the announcement of a live-action Halo TV series, produced in partnership between 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg. Details about the show were not revealed, though it was stated it will be a “premium television series”. Almost certainly, this means viewers will purchase it on Xbox Live. Either way, I stand corrected: It seems the fate of Trion Worlds may not serve as cautionary tale after all.

At first glance it would seem this is a device less for gamers and more for people who are sick of relying on remote controls to use their television sets. Ok, we kid, but given how little the presentation actually focused on play as a component of the Xbox One experience, it does look like Microsoft believes its future lies with people who don’t necessarily enjoy video games. We’ll be playing close attention to whatever comes out of the company’s E3 show.

Hardware, Peripherals, Specs

Microsoft was bullish about the tech, but upon closer inspection Xbox One has some familiar-sounding specs: An 8-core CPU, 8 GB of RAM, Blu-ray, and USB 3.0. Sounds a lot like the PlayStation 4, no? While the RAM type and speed might be different, we’re betting the CPU and its five billion transistors are similar to its Sony rival. To put the transistor number in perspective: Both the AMD FX-8350 and the Intel Core i7-3770K have 1.2 billion transistors. The system will come built with 500 GB of storage, but the bulk of that will surely be wasted storing installed games.

As for continuing your 360 experience, this will be a mixed bag. Microsoft has confirmed the system will not be backwards compatible with 360 games. In fact, their answer suggests 360 games might never be available for download. (In addition, they will continue to produce new games for 360 well into the One era.) However, you will be able to keep your current Xbox Live profile, including all achievements and Gamerscore. Weak tea, but at least you won’t have to start over from scratch on everything.

Xbox One will also have more than 300,000 servers for the latest version of Xbox Live, and it was clear from the presentation that this is meant to support a vastly larger cloud save environment. There will be a dedicated gaming DVR, editing tools, and what they called “dynamic” achievements which will be more personally tailored to individual player behavior. The device will also allow use of features simultaneously; while waiting for multiplayer matchmaking, for instance, you can watch a movie. Even if you’re a skeptic, this is definitely an improvement over 360′s one-thing-at-a-time functionality.

As for peripherals, as has been known for some time, Kinect is built into the system on massive level, so much it’s difficult to even call it a peripheral anymore. But at least some things will remain familiar. For instance, here’s a look at the new controller:

For more, see Devin Connors’ fuller look at Xbox One’s hardware.

So, It Still Plays Games, Right?

So, ok, we’re hard on Microsoft. This presentation was a disaster, devoted mainly to the presentation of the console’s general entertainment functions, and managing to obscure some rather contentious issues. Even so, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least acknowledge that Xbox One does, in fact, actually use the video games the kids like so much. So far, there hasn’t been a next generation killer app game reveal; presumably, Microsoft plans on more than just popular sequels at launch, and we expect to see more at E3.

We do know, however, that Destiny, Assassin’s Creed 4, and Battlefield 4. Are confirmed. We can also assume that publishers are looking forward to milking the system’s online functionality to the fullest. Electronic Arts presented some of what it has planned for Xbox One. In short: A ton of DLC-heavy sports games. Activision was also on hand to show off their first public Call of Duty: Ghosts presentation (see our coverage for more.) They promised exclusive content for Xbox One.

Two exclusive titles were revealed – Forza Motorsport Five from developer Turn Ten Studios, and Quantum Break from developer Remedy – but Microsoft confirmed that there will be fifteen exclusive titles within the first year after launch. For a full accounting of today’s revealed titles, see Ian Miles Cheong’s breakdown.

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19 Comments on UPDATE: Xbox One Revealed: Confused, Conflicted Talk About DRM

Lee

On May 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

After the show, Game Trailers ask about the all online rumor. Guess what, you can play games offline.

Swcloud99

On May 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Am I in some sort of bizaro world where Playstation’s marketing is good and Xbox’s completely misguided?

lol

On May 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm

“I’m not going to lie: This is functionally nonsense”

But it works for Steam right? lolol.

Huntsman06

On May 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Giving that there is no “xbox” button on the new controller, it seems safe to say that Microsoft is going for the same touchpad idea that sony came up with.

Also, props to microsoft for actually showing WHAT the console looks like.

Headdesk

On May 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Oh dear, lol. Resorting to saying your ‘name’ twice in order to try and “win” something you clearly don’t understand properly. Please, crawl back to Kotaku.

Ross Lincoln

On May 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Sorry Lol, I meant microsoft’s response. I’ve corrected for clarity.

R.J.

On May 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

@Swcloud

I think that might be the case. At least so far Sony hasn’t said anything that makes me say, “Wait a minute.”

Michael

On May 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm

There is a slight mistake at the end of this article: Microsoft said that there would be 15 exclusive titles WITHIN the first year of its launch, not at the time it comes out.

Anyways, this presentation really didn’t do anything for me. Sony is looking much better this time around in my opinion.

Michael

On May 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

@michael
15 exclusive mean sports games and kinect games mostly.

Xbox Toaster
Xbox Blender
Xbox Toilet
Xbox Coffee
XBox games-?
X-box…Games-Catastrophic Failure

Matt

On May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Wow, I guess im gonna have to switch back to Sony, how can Microsoft be this stupid?

Axetwin

On May 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

I got up about 20 minutes ago and this was practically my first stop because I wanted to know all about the Xbox reveal. I seriously cannot believe Microsoft is going to shoot themselves in the foot like this. This is a MASSIVE mistake.

Now, off to IGN to see how they spin all this as if MS is doing us a favor and all these features are the greatest thing ever.

R.J.

On May 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Note to MS: if you don’t have actual details on a specific aspect of your machine to share, don’t discuss them at all. Potential scenario or not, there is now a decent amount of rather bad sounding information floating out there, and having to do damage control for an executive on announcement day just makes things look worse. It’s not like there wouldn’t have been time to rehearse what was going to be discussed and what was not. People might get frustrated about a lack of information, but saying, “We’re not ready to talk about that” is a lot better than saying something and then trying to take it back.

tinaesmith@teleworm.us

On May 22, 2013 at 12:14 am

LOL…that first guy is screwed, dropping a bomb like that, hope he’s got an updated resume! They aren’t going to say it if they can help it. It sounds like PC DRM, the disk is just the install medium, a key will be tied to an account, the account can move to any device. The real question is how screwed is Gamestop’s business? Microsoft is just the messenger, its the dev/publishers that want this. Will they try and implement some kind of online auth/deauth of keys with fees to make the used game market work? Who takes the hit…gamestop, lol! I can see how trading a game with your buddy works, but $5 or $10 off a used game at Gamestop isn’t going to cut it with activation fees.

jlkawaii

On May 22, 2013 at 2:33 am

WARNING! A “potential” scenario just mean that the feature exist and will (surely) depend of the publisher side. We all already knows the decision from EA….
What we’ll see, i think, is that beetween game wich won’t need the “one by day connection” and those who’ll need “always on connection”, the consumer ‘ll need to be really attentive (just a microscopic line on the box ?)…

jlkawaii

On May 22, 2013 at 2:38 am

Oh and i forgot : with all this, it’s sure i won’t be buying a xbox one. at all. Even if it’s offer to me, i’ll resell it asap.
so in the future console :
.Ps4? i’m waiting at least one year after launch to see where it’ll be gone (remember the discripancy beetween PS3 at launch, and PS3 now…)
.Steam Box ? I already have a pc (midly one) so no.
.Other ? mmmm….

Children of Ben

On May 22, 2013 at 4:05 am

@Ross – why are you apologising to lol the troll? Have you somehow missed his infinite body of other comments that play devil’s advocate for the sake of attention-seeking and winding people up? He’s not a legitimate commenter. I appreciate you’re trying to be diplomatic but all you’re doing is giving him more incentive to continue spamming the site with BS. You should be actively looking to remove his invalid contributions from the site instead of reinforcing them like this.

Matt

On May 22, 2013 at 7:20 am

Whoever’s leading the Xbox One project at Microsoft needs to issue an immediate gag order, and make sure no one (and I mean no one, regardless of their position in the company) speaks to the press or the public about the system until they actually know what they’re talking about. Because otherwise you get situations like this, where Microsoft now has to devote resources to damage control rather than pumping up their new system in the lead up to E3, because even they have no idea what their new system can and cannot do. After twelve years in the home console market, this level of ineptitude is inexcusable.

quicktooth

On May 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Gamefront, I salute your Journalism. THIS is the high quality hard hitting conveying of truths I come here for. I won’t insult myself by commenting on Microsoft any further, though. And why do it! You all are saying everything I could possibly add! I wish every news site was like Gamefront :) .

Dratkin124

On May 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I have always been a huge fan of Microsoft, Xbox, Windows, the whole nine yards. I still to this day play my original Xbox. I am playing Knights of the Old Republic right now. That said I just cannot see me buying this system. It breaks my heart to say this but I am unlikely at least in the near future to buy this thing.
It is funny. I use my 360 almost exclusively for games and the PS3 for entertainment and some games.
This generation they are going to flip flop. PS4 mostly games Xbox One mostly TV.
Don’t get me wrong the “ONE” is cool for controlling all of your TV channels but a console for me should be centered at least 90% around games and games only. I think that to me the PS2/Original Xbox generation are and will likely always be the greatest Console generation of all time.