Well what can I say, I have seen the live press event from Microsoft for the new XBOX, it is called XBOX One. I am surprised, pleasantly but also surprised not so. The architecture is similar to the PS4, though they were talking more about transistors than anything. The x64 architecture seems to be going in the right direction, will this be an Intel chip will this be an AMD chip.
Hardware, all that was mentioned and briefly I might add was, 8 Core CPU (x64 most likely since they spoke of 64bit), 8GB RAM (nothing on the type), 500GB HDD, Blu-ray drive (finally), WiFi (hoping there is an RJ45 connection for gigabit), HDMI In/Out (this looks very much like the way things are going to be controlled by the system and USB 3.0. So there is nothing earth shattering, like the PS4 conference, the specs are what they are, they are pretty much like a decent PC spec.
Though interestingly is the XBOX One going down the APU route (casting CPU and GPU onto the same die, which improves the bus speeds between the two processors) or is there a separate GPU. There was no mention on the GPU, the Sony press event, did mention a GPU that has the ability for compute processing, including demonstrating the Havoc physics engine running. No Bluetooth on the new XBOX, though there was no mention of it, they were talking more of Wi-Fi Direct which is a wireless technology capable of connecting like devices directly together but using the Wi-Fi network stack. But the headsets, there are a lot of people with Bluetooth headsets that they connect to their phone, these can be used on the PS4 but interesting we don’t know about the One.
The TV “Experience” seemed to be the main thing that they wanted to point out, how it is placed into the lounge room and connected to the TV and how to operate the TV. The interesting element I am interested in is the switching between TV and all other elements on the XBOX at the command of your voice, but they never mentioned about how the TV is connected, is there a tuner in the console or is it using the HDMI connection abilities and the control it can offer, not sure, not much was said.
To understand something they missed with this event, the main people watching this press event, other than the MS people in the crowd are the “core” gamers. These will be the people who will be looking at getting the console at launch, dropping the big bucks to have that experience. So telling these “core” gamers they can improve their interactivity with their TVs isn’t really going to sell more systems.
The Controller looks very very similar to the original 360 controller, but the D-Pad seems to be improved which is one of the things that I hated about all of the previous controllers for XBOX. Force feedback on the triggers is a nice touch but nothing terrible innovative.
There is talk of the improved responsiveness with Kinect and the controller, Kinect has been improved from memory 2 frames faster than the original, nothing much improved there,m and a 15% increase in latency on the controller, well I am not thinking it will be noticeable, since the level for most people to notice is about 70ms.
3 Operating System, mmm. This sounds like marketing spin to me. It looks like it is running Windows 8, with DirectX 11 (possibly), WinRT (which is the main UI which gives us that switching back in, wven the snapping was very much ripped from Windows 8 and then the one that combines them all. This is what I believe it is, DirectX (won’t say which version), WinRT all with Windows 8 kernel under the hood. Why not, it makes sense the WinRT platform offers that modern streamlined approach which is what you see in the UI, why not build it into the One. Windows 8 is already a great performer when it comes to games, especially DirectX 11 games, why not utilise that. If it is running 3 operating systems as they mention seems a little bloated, 8GB of System Memory, Windows 8 will utilise a good chunk of 1.5GB to 2GB of RAM so you need something that is light weight and most OSes aren’t.
The games, what games were there, Remedy teased a game that was similar to the new Quantic Dream game Beyond: Two Souls. A new Forza game, surprisingly named Forza 5. A Halo game but also, Steven Spielberg is possibly going to be the EP on a Halo live action TV show, which is to be leading the way in the “immersion” of using Kinect, SmartGlass and XBOX One console.
Call of Duty: Ghosts, looks nice, but is looks very much like Crysis running on a top end PC. But since this isn’t an exclusive game and since the architectures are going to so similar to (PS4 and One) the game will be almost identical. Dogs, there is a dog in this game that we are meant to care about. I think I remember Peter Molyneux spoke about having a Dog AI in the game of Fable 2, one that we would care about one that we want to share the game experience with. Can’t say it is a good thing or bad thing.
They also mentioned about the sub-division of polygons. This isn’t a new technology feature, what this means is when a model with a 3D polygon mesh is zoomed in the polygon that makes up that mode divides again, and again so the surface will be more defined, the reason this is possible is due to the number of polygons that need to be rendered on screen reduces as the scene is getting tigher and tigher and these polygons can then be used to make what is seen better.
We also so no games running live at the event, we did see, 2 games running “in-engine” but in reality until we see someone up there with a controller, controller what we see this is going to be a tough pill to swallow. I am sure many people remember the E3 Sony press event when Guerrilla games showing off Killzone 2 and their CG trailer touted as “in-game”.
Forza 5, launch game, all EA games will be released within 12 months, nothing slated for release window. Call of Duty: Ghosts, I am not sure they mentioned the date on that. The Remedy game, Quantum Break from the look of it, possibly not a launch game. They also touted the 15 games that were exclusives, possibly more of Rare underutilising their talents in creating more Kinect mini-games.
I didn’t do a post on the Sony PS4 reveal press event, because it was in the afternoon here, I had come home from work and then it was dinner time with my kids, when it was fresh in my mind I forgot to write. My opinion with the XBOX One, the name, is reminiscent of the WiiU, It is about you, about your experiences, but this is the One box, to control them all, your TV and all your “content”.
NFL integration, interesting and I like the 49ers but not of interest in Australia, and from my understanding the rest of the world. Had they announced a partnership with FIFA (not the game but the controlling body of Soccer in the world) and how the “experience” can be connected and integrated right into the system.
They have a lot of interesting concepts, which is what we saw at this event today. Readying the twitter sphere is seems that the main players of the industry are also wanting more details, since they might have dev machines, but these dev machines will be PCs, running close to the final specs. Companies will often ship preliminary dev kits close to final specs and as they specs get nailed down they ship the proper kits.
One thing that I wanted to know from both the PS4 and the XBOX One announcements is independent development. Sony mentioned about self publishing, which is a huge boon, but nothing about the openness of their platform for independent developers, main dev kits are pricey, 10K, 20K it depends on the company.
There was a lot of talk also about integrating with your XBOX friends, but I don’t have that many XBOX friends, the PS4 at least has the connection to Facebook where I have a couple of hundred (I am not sure it is that high) friends. So, it has me disappointment and wanting more, especially from the games side. I can hit a button, get my TV on and click the remote to change the channel, so having it become the DVR so to speak of not just games but all content then it will be worth it.
Microsoft – All regions you are releasing this console in at launch, make sure you launch all features to all regions at the same time. In Australia Kinect didn’t have voice recognition in a lot of regions due to regional dialects and accents, well they need to get this right not just with Kinect but also, TV integration and the TV guide. This feature, which was one of their major points in this event will be useless if not released in all regions at launch.
I give Microsoft a wait 19 days and see if they can wow me more come E3. Surprise not so, I found it underwhelming mostly, interesting feature set and interesting direction but certainly it isn’t saying me, buy me day one.