Microsoft's Xbox One home entertainment console. (image: Microsoft)
Late Tuesday morning, Microsoft debuted its Xbox One to the world. The company answered many questions about the Xbox 360 successor with the announcement, yet a number still remain and several new ones have emerged.
More information is expected to come to light in mid-June during E3. Until then, there are ten things gamers should know in regards to this newly-revealed device.
Xbox One is not a gaming system.
No, that is not a typo. Microsoft is positioning Xbox One as an all-in-one home entertainment machine. It's being designed so that owners shouldn't need any other media device other than a television set. As was stressed during the reveal announcement, the console has a variety of entertainment options including live television, movies (both streaming and Blu-Ray/DVD), and streaming videos on the web. Gaming is just one of the entertainment options Xbox One will offer.
Your cable/satellite provider might not be in on the action.
Microsoft is doing what they can to ensure that every cable and satellite company is on board in terms of allowing their signals to be recognized by Xbox One. That stated, it's far from a certainty at this point that your provider will play nice with Microsoft. As stated by the company, " The delivery of TV is complex and we are working through the many technologies and policies around the world to make live TV available where Xbox One is available."
Xbox One is always listening. Always.
When Microsoft released Kinect for Xbox 360, there was enough of a concern about the add-on spying on its users. So much so, in fact, that a third-party security cover was created to prevent consoles from "spying" on its users. Well, with Xbox One, there won't be any getting around it. Even when the console is powered off, the microphone in its required Kinect peripheral is still on and listening. Microsoft states this is so users can turn the system on by barking certain commands rather than pressing the power button and that there should be no concerns about invasions of privacy. 1984, anyone?
Xbox One does not have to be "always online" unless you want what you paid for.
Contrary to many the many rumors that have been swirling around in cyberspace over the past few months, Xbox One will not require owners to have a constant Internet connection provided to the console in order to use it. According to Microsoft, users will be able to play games and watch movies regardless the status of the console's Internet access. Of course if you want to use all of the features you've paid for (ie: streaming movies and cloud capabilities) when you bought the console, then Internet access is all but completely required.
Xbox One's hard drive is non-removable.
One feature that's turned out quite handy for the Xbox 360 is its removable hard drive. Did you run out of HDD space? Well, just go to the store and grab yourself a larger drive and swap it out. It was very PC-like and a first for home gaming consoles. That will no longer be possible with Xbox One, which has a permanently-installed 500GB internal hard drive. Not all is lost for those fearing running out of space, however, as Engadget has confirmed that the upcoming console will support external hard drives via its USB 3.0 ports.
Your Xbox LIVE account will transfer over.
More specifically and importantly, your Xbox LIVE Gold account will transfer over. That's good news for those concerned that they've wasted money dropping $60 per year on the service. The bad news, of course, is that full online capabilities still aren't free as they are on Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U - something Xbox LIVE subscribers have been asking for since day one of the service. Microsoft has not provided any information in regards to the online capabilities of un-paying Xbox LIVE Silver subscribers.
Your GamerScore is safe.
This should be a relief to those who have worked hard to build up their GamerScore, which is a tally of arbitrary points given to players for accomplishing various tasks and feats in games. The only odd thing is that Xbox One users will have achievements listed from previous-generation games because...
Your Xbox 360 games are not.
Unlike the Xbox 360 (which could play original Xbox games), Xbox One will lack the capability of playing Xbox 360 game disks. This lack of backwards-capability extends to digital game purchases via the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Microsoft states this is because they "designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games."
Playing used/rented games on Xbox One is TBD.
Almost immediately following Xbox One's reveal came the news that the console is not very consumer friendly in terms of allowing used and rented games to be played. Since then, Larry Hyrb, Xbox's Director of Programming, has partially clarified the issue by stating "we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail." He also stated that the company is not currently providing any specifics as to what that actually means in black-and-white terms.
Xbox One is due out by the end of the year.
Microsoft has not yet provided an actual date for when the Xbox One can be claimed from retailers, but the company mentioned that the console will be released in late 2013 to compete with rival Sony's PlayStation 4 launch. Like the PS4, Xbox One's MSRP is still under wraps and likely will be until E3 at the earliest. Best practice is to begin saving your pennies now, because it's likely to cost quite a few once it finally hits store shelves.