by Jennifer Tan (aka Mrs. Fett)

Microsoft released details on their newest console Xbox One this week, in response to the wide range of competition in the gaming arena. With smart phones and tablets now competing for the same money that would be spent on a console, Microsoft merged the two seamlessly. Featuring an AMD 8 core CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, blu-ray player, wifi and 1080p HDMI pass through, the console has been deemed the “All-purpose cloud-based entertainment system for gaming, music, movies, and television.” The design of the new console itself is boxy and has been hailed the “next-gen VCR.”
Key features of the new console include “Snapping” a feature that allows users to seamless flip between multiple apps open at once, using simple voice commands. HDMI pass through allows convenient switching between live television and gaming. The new Kinect 2.0 will be fitted with a 1080p HD RGB camera that works with Skype, 30 FPS in color, and will increase its field of view by 60%. Better body recognition, including fingers and a heartbeat sensor, will make fitness regimens using the Kinect much more interactive and enjoyable. The Kinect will also be a standard accessory packaged with every Xbox One Console Sold.
The new Xbox One controllers will feature 40 design innovations, including new impulse triggers, a newly designed D-pad that is more cross-shaped, an integrated battery, and a Wi-Fi Direct Radio Stack.
The new console will not be backwards compatible with xbox 360, or arcade titles! Xbox Live Vice President Marc Whitten commented, saying, “The system is based on a different core architecture, so back-compat doesn’t really work from that perspective.” Whitten also noted Microsoft will be continuing the sale of the 360 console along the new Xbox One. As a consolation, you will be able to carry your gamer score and gamertag to the new unit.
Microsoft plans on releasing 15 new titles within the first 12 months, 8 of which are new, including Forza 5, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed 5 Black Flag, and an Xbox exclusive live action series based on Halo, with director Steven Spielberg.
There are still many questions up in the air, regarding an “always online” standard, a used game fee, and 360 controller compatibility that many are hoping will be answered at E3 in June. Needless to say, it will be my first stop!