“The beginning of truly intelligent TV”…
“A huge day for all entertainment”…
These are some of the memorable quotes from today’s Microsoft Xbox announcement presentation, which included two female media executives sharing the stage, military dogs in the next Call of Duty game, Steven Spielberg, exclusive sport partnerships, and, mostly importantly, the “All in One” Xbox One system – technology that will step behind the curtain and let you take center stage.
I felt this presentation was about smart media integration and expanding consumer offerings more than actual information beyond improved computer power/processing. The big hardware setup innovation was having HDMI cables from the TV to the Xbox One (releasing “later this year”) and the cable box to the Xbox One, which will eliminate the manual switching and hardware headaches. Other hardware specs included USB 3.0, 8-core processors, WiFi Direct and 8 gigabytes of RAM.
The presentation began on the Xbox One home screen including trending, games TV/movies, music. Users could access all areas and “switch like a TV flip” on the system. All presenters were able to change inputs to watch live TV and instantly switch among different areas using voice commands beginning with “watch”, and “show”. Universal gestures like grab & pan and swipe up were also used. Multi-taskers were treated with the Snap mode (multiple windows), Skype group video call options, and interactive TV options for award shows, political debates and more.
ESPN and the NFL presented exclusive content features including fantasy team integration. Users can customize favorites to create their own personal channel, while the Xbox One Guide helps users find what to watch and keep up with it. The trending area includes live TV and video-on-demand.
The Xbox One system includes a console with a revamped Kinect, redesigned controller and Google Smart Glass plus the XBox LIVE service (reinvented by cloud), which will eventually expand to (gulp) over 300,000 servers. The console will have a Blu-ray drive and Xbox One Architecture to power to Xbox One system for “lag free instant and complete experience” where developers can create “bigger matches with more players.” “Your experience. Your way”, and creating a “personal story of how you play” were other common themes.
Electronic Arts announced Xbox One exclusive game releases for FIFA, Madden, NBA Live, and UFC using the new EA Sports Ignite game engine while Microsoft Studios promised more new games than ever before with games like Forza Motorsport LIVE at launch. Other games included a mystery/sci-fi game called Quantum Break. MS Studios also promised more than 15 exclusive games in the first year with eight new franchises.
Nancy Tellem, head Xbox Entertainment Studios, presented new opportunities to “jump into action whenever you desire”and consider the role of creator, viewer, community and industry. Then she introduced 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross, who announced a live action Halo television series collaboration with Steven Spielberg where “technology and mythmaking meet”.
The presentation ended with the world premiere preview of Call of Duty: Ghosts, featuring military dogs and story from Oscar® winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan plus dynamic maps and expanded customization. Microsoft promised another “chapter” in this story at next month’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo).
How do you think Microsoft will top this presentation?