Xbox One: Rumor & Reality

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By Jesse Tucker

Following Sony’s PlayStation 4 press conference in February, Miscrosoft held their own event on May 21st to announce their new console, the Xbox One.  Like with Sony, Microsoft left many holes in their presentation that Internet speculators are now trying to fill.  Here’s a handy guide to help you sort out what’s reality and what’s rumor.

Release Date

Update:  Microsoft reported in their E3 press conference that the Xbox One release is “November 2013,” but gave no specific day.

The only official word from Microsoft is “later this year,” but some investigation reveals that one of the Xbox One’s confirmed games, Call of Duty: Ghosts, is set for a November 5th release date.  This would suggest that the console will be out by then.   An online retailer, Zavvi.com, has the U.K. release date listed as November 30th; however the accuracy of this date is unknown, and it is possible the console will release in the U.S. earlier than the U.K.

Specs

From what’s known so far, the Xbox One is almost identical to the PS4 in terms of computing power.  It sports an 8-core AMD main processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, and plenty of USB 2.0 and HDMI ports.  Little is know about the GPU at this point, but it is heavily speculated that it will be very close to the AMD Radeon 7790, which is actually a bit weaker than the PS4’s GPU.  Ultimately, they’re both pretty powerful machines, and it is believed the games will look very similar on both consoles.

The 8-core processor should to be central to the Xbox One’s ability to run multiple apps simultaneously and switch between them seamlessly.

Additional Hardware

The controller sticks to the familiar design of the current generation, but with several upgrades.  Programmable trigger buttons can alter their feedback level with different games, and all fighting game fans will welcome the new, more responsive D-Pad.  Also, there is finally an integrated battery, so no more burning through those AA’s.

The new controller for the Xbox One. (Getty Images)

The new controller for the Xbox One. (Getty Images)

Every Xbox One also comes packed with a Kinect 2.0.  The camera has been upgraded with a wider range of vision, better response, and the ability to see in the dark.  It is supposedly so precise and sensitive now that it can even measure the player’s heartbeat.  In addition, enhanced voice recognition and commands will reportedly allow for complete control of the console and its functions via voice commands while performing any task.

TV Connectivity

One of the most heavily touted features at the reveal event was the console’s ability to hook up to a cable box through an HDMI cable and broadcast live TV straight through the Xbox.  This not only eliminates the need to switch between multiple different inputs for TV and games, but also allows you to run Xbox One apps alongside your TV shows and control your shows with the Kinect’s voice and motion commands. 

Price

Update:  The E3 press conference confirmed the price will be $499.

Microsoft has not yet confirmed a price for the Xbox One, but online U.K. Retailer Zavvi.com lists a hefty £399.99 price tag.  That’s a little over $600.  However, GameStop chief financial officer Rob Lloyd believes the console will retail far less than that, and even less than the Xbox 360 at launch, which was $300/$400, depending on the hard drive size you wanted.  Since Microsoft has already announced the Xbox One’s hard drive at 500GB, it seems less likely there will be different versions of the Xbox One at launch, and thus only one price.

Games

Update:  Microsoft has outlined several new rules for how games function on the new console.  Follow the link for the official list.

There are too many unconfirmed Xbox One games to list here, but check out IGN’s convenient, constantly updating guide for both confirmed and rumored Xbox One games.

What I can list, however, is the all of the Xbox 360 games that will be playable on Xbox One.  That is to say, there won’t be any.  It is confirmed that the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with any of your 360 discs or Xbox Live Arcade games.  Your Gamertag and Gamerscore, however, will transfer.

Used Games

Update:  Microsoft has confirmed that selling and buying of preowned games will not be limited by the Xbox One in any way; however, individual publishers may choose to disallow this option for their games or charge a fee for it.  It was also confirmed that the console will need to connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours to play games, or once every hour if playing your games on a different Xbox One.  Live TV, DVD, and Blu-ray watching will not be subjected to this requirement.

How the console will handle used games is currently a heavily speculated issue with little definitive evidence from Microsoft.  The company has stated that their new console is definitely “designed to support the trade in and resale of games,” but any information beyond this is purely rumor.  It was originally rumored there would be an activation fee to play secondhand games, but new sources state there will be no such fee and that the console will simply require an Internet connection to regularly confirm the authenticity of games.  Other sources state that used games will only function if bought from an approved retailer which must give a portion of the sales to the game developers and Microsoft.  There is so much varying speculation at this point, so I would suggest ignoring anything that doesn’t come straight from Microsoft.

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