Let the rumors and speculation fall by the wayside. Microsoft officially took off the wraps on its next-generation system Tuesday, revealing the name and form factor (but regrettably no price) — and also a major focus on replacing your cable box.
Let’s start with the name: Xbox One. Microsoft threw a bit of a curveball here, with the rumor mill churning out numerous naming conventions but not foreseeing this one.
Microsoft then unveiled the system itself. The box’s footprint looked bigger than the Xbox 360, looking similar in size to a cable box. Xbox One, which will launch later this year, will come with 8 gigabytes of RAM, USB 3.0 inputs and a Blu-Ray drive — all upgrades over the current-gen system.
But Microsoft spent a majority of the press conference demonstrating how Xbox One could revolutionize the way we watch TV. Instead of switch between multiple boxes (cable and video game console), Microsoft is touting the Xbox One as an all-in-one system. Microsoft showcased how the Xbox One will be able to play live TV (but did not mention cable providers or service cost) and switch to playing a game without turning on a different system or change the video source on your TV.
The speed and simplicity of the demonstration was the real breakthrough feature. The ability to flip between live TV, gaming and the numerous applications on Xbox Live streamlines a process that has become cumbersome with numerous TV controllers cluttering the living room. Even the sometimes arduous task of remembering what network is on what channel has also been addressed. Simply by saying the TV network or the show will alert the Xbox One to search for that particular channel and make the appropriate change.
This is all powered by Kinect 2.0, Microsoft’s take on motion tracking. Kinect 2.0, which will be bundled with each Xbox One and will be necessary for the Xbox One to function, will play a central role for this next-generation system. Much like the 360, you can control the…