It can be argued that the Xbox One reveal last night was a lot more informative than the PS4 reveal back in February. Hell, they didn’t even show us exactly what the PS4 looks like – they only showed the controller and told us some very vague details about the specs. Last night, on the other hand, Microsoft managed to give us some very juicy details about their next-gen console. However, much was left to be said until after the event.
1. Operating System
Microsoft revealed more about the Xbox One’s specs than Sony did for the PS4. We know that the next-gen console will sport a 500GB integrated hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 slots, an HDMI port, built-in Wi-Fi, a new Kinect with a 1080p camera and 8GB of RAM.
Considering the games that were announced for the Xbox One, it looks like the console could have done with less than 8GB of RAM. On the surface, it just looks like Microsoft is trying to keep up with the PS4. However, the real reason is to accommodate the split OS.
Microsoft’s Marc Whitten revealed that the Xbox One will feature three operating systems. One that features “deep and instant access to hardware” which will power the games, another one is a Windows 8 kernel which powers the apps and the third is for multi-tasking operation.
Though were not exactly sure what the OS is, what it’s called or if it’s a modified version of an existing OS or a completely new one, Microsoft’s Phil Harrison says that it will always have an “absolute guarantee of performance.”
The split OS allocates a certain amount of memory for non-gaming apps making multi-tasking far more efficient without sacrificing any resources meant to power gaming. The Xbox One will probably allocate 5GB of memory to gaming and the rest to apps and other non-gaming features.
2. Internet sometimes-on
The best news revealed about the Xbox One is that previous rumors that claimed the console will require constant internet connection to prevent piracy and second-hand games is not true. The Xbox One will be able to play games, music and movies without internet connection. The only features that will drop out along with the internet are the ones that require it such as Skype and TV streaming.
However, it’s still all very confusing. Microsoft did say that the Xbox One wont always have to be connected shifting from internet always-on to internet sometimes-on. Microsoft have confirmed that the Xbox One will require internet connection at least once every 24 hours.
3. Used games might require a fee
Worrying about losing your game at any point because of unstable internet shouldn’t even be an issue but it’s still great to hear that console developers trust their audience enough to not incorporate that feature. Another thing that ties up with the constant internet connection issue is that it will also prevent the sale of pre-owned games.
Gamers will be able to play their games on a friend’s Xbox One. However, in order to play the game, the owner must be signed in to their Xbox Live Account with which their game is registered on. Other than that, the friend will have to pay in order to play a pre-owned game.
Microsoft is still working on other instances of selling pre-owned games such as trading them online or reselling them in retail.
4. Cloud Gaming
Sony has already revealed its interest in cloud gaming in the sense that gamers will be able to aside from stream games, play PS One, PS2 and PS3 titles.
Microsoft has previously explained the potential of cloud gaming but not in the same way as Sony. The Xbox One is more likely to use cloud tech to stream game processes from servers lightening the load on the console and increasing the quality which means that the system can actually get more powerful over time as bandwidth improves.
5. No backwards compatibility
Unfortunately, the Xbox One will not support games released on previous consoles. “If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards,” Xbox boss Don Mattrick told the Wall Street Journal. He claims that only 5% of gamers play old games on current-gen consoles making it pointless to include backwards compatibility on the Xbox One.
Aside from older games, it was also reported that the Xbox One will not support Xbox 360 peripherals. Though not surprising due to the Xbox One’s completely redesigned controller and Kinect, it won’t support other accessories either like Xbox 360 headsets.
Bonus: It will probably cost around £399 ($499)
Following the unveiling of the Xbox One, online retailer Zavvi may have accidentally leaked the next-gen consoles price by posting the pre-order page with a November 30 launch date. However, the site does state that the “release date and price [are] yet to be confirmed by Microsoft.”
Other retailers such as GAME and Amazon are also currently taking pre-orders but have not listed a price.