Despite all the talk about hardware and games, with the Xbox One, Microsoft is hoping to position the Xbox away from just a mere gaming console. The new features we have seen, especially Instant Switching and Snap Mode, were clearly designed for general entertainment purposes in mind. This lets users multitask as if they were using a regular PC. Additionally, Microsoft have announced tie-ups with the NFL to make watching football more interactive. However, considering we only get a handful of the entertainment channels and apps that users in the United States are be getting, these features might be of little significance to us.
For gamers, we do not have more detailed information on the hardware and it is hard to tell how the Xbox One will stack up to the PlayStation 4. That aside, the new Kinect sensor certainly sounds like a peach and one can only hope that new controller will be as good as the current one. That said, the Xbox One will be supported by a host of top game titles at launch. Forza Motorsport 5 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are reasons enough to upgrade to the next generation Xbox.
With regards to rumors of the new Xbox requiring an “always-on” Internet connection to play, well that is fortunately untrue. However, developers can create games that will require Microsoft’s Azure cloud services to play and therefore cannot be played offline, but this is not mandatory.
Details about online authentication are also hazy at the moment, but at the time of writing, there are reports suggesting that games, once installed, would not require the disc to play. It will, however, be tied to your account, and installing the game to a second account might require a small fee.
Finally, Microsoft have yet to disclose the Xbox One’s date of launch nor price, only stating that it will be launched "later this year". However, with rumors suggesting that Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released in early November, we are guessing that’s the time frame we will see the Xbox One being launched too.
All in all, the new Xbox One certainly looks interesting and promising. There is definitely an increased emphasis and focus on entertainment options other than gaming, and this will only serve to improve the new console’s attractiveness to not just gamers, but also to casual gamers and even users who just want a capable and powerful entertainment device.