Xbox One First Impression: More Entertainment, Less Gaming

By Randell Suba , May 23, 2013 07:47 AM EDT

Eight years after unveiling the Xbox 360, Microsoft unveiled, Tuesday, the Xbox One that is being positioned to take over our living rooms. The new console is built to integrate with the TV, access the Internet, tap into media libraries and be controlled by voice. And, before we forget, it is also built for gaming.

The Xbox One is a big glossy box with some mean hardware under its black panels. The One has an eight-core AMD CPU, 8GB of RAM, 500GB hard disk drive, a Blu-ray drive, and three USB ports. It also comes with a new Kinect equipped with a wide-angle 1080p camera and an upgraded sensor that improves detection of the user's movements.

While it seems to have all the potential to be a great gaming console, Microsoft is positioning it as an all-in-one entertainment system. Gamers will enjoy it but so will grandma and grandpa.

The creators of Xbox One went beyond gaming. Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be the go-to device of consumers whether they want to watch TV or do some computing.

Adopting to the New Technology

"Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device," said Don Mattrick, Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment business, during a press interview.

"Our unique modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment,"  Mattrick added.

Say "Turn on" and the Xbox One will wake up to life. Say "Xbox, Go Home" and the system will rush to the homescreen. The new Microsoft gaming console has a microphone and consumers can use it to access the advanced voice control features of the system to switch from TV, music, browser, or games.

Consumers can also make most of a snap mode, a feature lifted from the Windows 8. Users can "snap" one app to the side of the screen while playing a game, watching a movie or live TV.  It is a perfect setup for an entertainment system where you can browse for other movies while watching one. People can also use Skype while doing other things. The system even has its own TV guide that can be controlled by voice.

Clearly, the Xbox One is trying to change how people watch television. Instead of just clicking the remote and browsing channels, the One can suggest programs users might like. Microsoft is also planning to inject some social experience to TV viewing. The technology giant is also sealing a deal with NFL for some video content and director Steven Spielberg for a Halo series on TV.

Of course there are games, too! Gamers can expect titles from EA Sports ranging from FIFA, MMA, NBA, and MMA. Microsoft Game said that it will have the "Forza Motorsport 5" ready for the official Xbox One launch. Industry experts say that there might be around 15 games ready for the official roll out of the new Microsoft gaming console.

Can Xbox One Really Conquer the Living Room?

The Xbox 360 was and is still is successful in that field. According to Microsoft, consumers spent more time watching TV than playing games when logged on to Xbox live. This will still be the direction Microsoft wants to take. With the new features, it will be no problem to enjoy the "Game of Thrones" while killing enemies on "Call of Duty."

However, Ewan Spence of Forbes sees one big problem for Microsoft. Xbox One has smartphones and tablets as competition. In his article, Spence noted that people today turn to these gadgets for their entertainment. If the trend continues, there might be no need for a game console to rule all services in the living room. Xbox one is designed to be a game changer but a lot about it says it is a gamble for Microsoft.

As for gamers, who would want a gaming console where you cannot exchange and trade games with fellow gamers? With Microsoft locking the games to a single Xbox Live account, somehow it alienates the customer base that really made its gaming consoles click.

We are pretty sure the Xbox will soon evolve to control any part of the home but that might still take some time to become a reality.

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