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Microsoft unveils Xbox One, the successor to the Xbox 360

Nextbox. Durango. Infinity.

Throughout the last year, these names have all been tied to Microsoft’s next gaming console, whether it was by fans or developers. On Tuesday morning, the Xbox One was unveiled at an event in Redmond, Wash., and although no release date was set for the machine, Microsoft said it would be available by the year’s end. Rather than live-tweet and live-blog the occasion as it happened, we present you the following: Everything you need to know about the Xbox One in one handy post.

The hardware

The next Xbox looks pretty bulky. It’s definitely a departure from the sleek, streamlined design of the current Xbox 360 Slim —@@[email protected]@ but it’s definitely going to pack a greater punch. While the new console features a Blu-ray@@ optical drive, the games won’t run off the discs themselves. Instead, they’ll be downloaded directly onto the One’s hard drive. An always-on Internet connection won’t necessarily be required, but games will be tied to an Xbox LIVE account.@@[email protected]@

Xbox One Console

The box will also ship with an upgraded version of Kinect (2.0) featuring a 1080p camera and can capture RGB video at 30 frames per second. Here’s the rest of the tech specs that were revealed:

– USB 3.0
– 500 GB hard drive
– 8 GB RAM
– 64-bit architecture

Infinity Ward also showed off what the hardware did for its next Call of Duty game.@@sic. link [email protected]@@ More on that later.

The controller

Although there’s no integrated touch interface like the WiiU’s or the Playstation 4’s, the Xbox One controller features more than 40 design tweaks from the 360’s — most notably in button placement and aesthetic. The unit will also feature what Microsoft is calling HD rumble.

Xbox One Controller

The user interface

Snap mode is the new interface that will guide Xbox users through the new system. Most notably, the UI will allow for multiple applications to run at once. With a simple voice command, users will be able to switch between apps through the Kinect sensor. When Microsoft debuted Twitter and Facebook on the 360, they required players to exit whatever game they were playing to post about it on social media.

A new achievements system was also mentioned, although details remain scarce. Microsoft did, however, say achievements will be cross-platform, which will allow tasks performed on smart phones and the Internet to affect your[email protected]@ Most importantly, developers will be allowed to release downloadable content without piling on another set of achievements on the player.

The games

The success of any given console depends largely on the library of games it hosts, and the Xbox One event was rife with new software. The event promised 15 Xbox One exclusive titles within the first year of launch, eight of those being new franchises. One such title revealed at the event was Quantum Break, developed by Remedy.@@ The game was said to be a mix of traditional gameplay and cinematic storytelling, but the only footage shown was one prerendered video that featured a short, live-action scene between a mother and daughter and a CGI shipwreck.

Electronic Arts announced FIFA, Madden, NBA and UFC games, developed on the new Ignite engine, which promised for a more dynamic experience across the four franchises.

After the initial announcement of Call of Duty: Ghosts earlier this month, Infinity Ward followed up with trailers, screenshots and more. Like the protagonists in Fable and Fallout, Call of Duty players will finally get a four-legged companion to help them along. Few details regarding other features were revealed.

Microsoft Studios, one of the company’s first-party publishers, also revealed Forza Motorsport 5, which featured more detailed graphics than its predecessor and an improved engine. You can check out the trailer here.

The other media

As with the 360, Microsoft is using its next console to deliver a multimedia experience. The event announced a live-action Halo TV series headed by Steven Spielberg,@@[email protected]@ who dabbled in game production when he backed Boom Blox on the Wii in 2007. Nothing much was revealed regarding the series, other than the fact that it will someday air on Xbox One.

Microsoft also also announced a partnership with the NFL, a move that makes sense given Microsoft’s current partnership with ESPN to live-stream games and matches across several sports.

The next Xbox will also allow users to use it as a set-top cable box, allowing users to watch live television through the console.

Skype is slated to return, so it’s likely safe to assume Netflix and Hulu (in addition to ESPN) streaming will also appear on the Xbox One.

Although Microsoft revealed quite a bit about its new console during Tuesday’s event, there will be another press briefing prior to E3 on June 10.

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Eder Campuzano

Eder Campuzano

Eder is the Emerald's director of audience engagement. His work has appeared in The Oregonian, The Statesman Journal and the News-Register in McMinnville. He was also a founding member of the University of Oregon's competitive Pokémon league.