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Xbox One unveiled — sort of

By: 22 May 2013 2 Comments

Xbox logoMicrosoft, on Tuesday, mentioned a thing or two about its new console but left a lot of unanswered questions.

Here’s what is known about the new console. It is to be released this year and it is designed to integrate all of our television-related entertainment into one box. That aim gave rise to the name for the console — the Xbox One. We also know the thing is considerably larger than the current Xbox 360, comes bundled with an improved Kinect Sensor and it comes with some impressive specs — an 8-core CPU, 500GB hard drive and 8GB of RAM. In terms of hardware, then, the Xbox One is right on par with the upcoming Sony Playstation 4.

Oh, and it seems the Xbox One will not be backward-compatible with the Xbox 360. That should come as no surprise seeing how the 360 is only kinda-sorta-maybe compatible with the original Xbox.

For more information about the new system, click here for Microsoft’s “reveal” site or here for the always-entertaining Twitter feed.

There are, however, a few questions that were not answered on Tuesday.

1. When will the Xbox One be released? We know it will be later this year, but that’s about it.

2. How much will it cost? That’s an important detail, isn’t it? That question will likely be answered at the same time as the first item on this list.

3. What’s this about no used games? There’s been some speculation that the old days of heading over to Game Stop and picking up some used games are numbered. The notion is that physical discs will be active only for the original purchaser and worthless to anyone else. With a 500GB hard drive, however, it’s not hard to imagine that Microsoft may put more emphasize on purchasing games through Xbox Live and storing them on the hard drive. Sort of the “apps model” rather than the traditional, physical software model. We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

4. Will Microsoft encourage more users to sign up for the paid version of Xbox Live? If you have an Xbox 360, you know for a fact that what you can do online is limited if you don’t pay $60 a year for Xbox Live Gold. If you have Netflix, you can’t stream movies on your 360 without a Gold subscription. Online gaming is limited and most of the services offered on Live are simply not available through the crummy old Silver subscription. The trend toward “convincing” people to buy a Gold subscription is already there and will the pressure to pay for the service only increase in the future?

5. Will the Xbox One replace my cable box? So, Microsoft points to Comcast as a partner in the attempt to allow Xbox One owner to ditch their cable boxes and watch TV through a console. What other providers are on board? What about satellite?

It should be fascinating, indeed, to watch how the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Wii U fare in the months and years to come. As the New York Times pointed out, retail sales of consoles and gaming software fell 25 percent in April to $495.2 million from $657.5 million in the same month last year.

The culprit, it seems, is the advent of mobile devices. It seems Junior spends a lot of time playing games on smartphones and tablets and things appear to be shifting in that direction.

That makes a lot of sense, really. Any parent of a sulking, slouching teen knows that its easy to find Junior playing games on an HDTV set in the living room, but not so simple to put a stop to his game playing when he’s hiding in his room and pecking away at an iPhone.

It’s starting to look like the mid-1980s all over again. People were predicting the demise of gaming consoles back then, too, but a little company called Nintendo showed up with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and silenced all that doomy talk in a hurry.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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