Sony have had their big day, today was Microsoft's. With just 3 weeks to go until E3, Microsoft have officially announced their next generation console, the Xbox One.
Summary of Events (Liveblog):
And we're go!
- Major Nelson introduces the presentation.
- Now a trailer full of lots of people saying the word 'me', 'alive', and other similar words.
- OK, now for the actual show. Don Mattrick comes on stage (in the Microsoft tent) to deliver the obligatory PR speech.
- He introduces the Xbox One! Clearly a play on the notion of 'everything in one': entertainment, games, kinect, etc.
- Kinect built-in (as expected), and a slightly re-designed but still very familiar controller.
- They're definitely focussing on the idea of it being an entertainment box at the moment - live tv, voice commands, motion controls using Kinect, instant switching between different media, and snap-mode (the ability to use multiple programmes at once).
- A cringe-worthy Skype conversation, an ESPN live demonstration, 'intelligent tv'; I'm getting flashbacks to certain Microsoft Xbox 360 E3 conferences right now. Here's hoping we get to the game stuff soon!
- Marc Whitten takes to the stage now. He's going to talk specs it seems. 'Raw power' - 5 billion transistors, 8 GB ram, USB 3.0, Blu-Ray, 64 bit architecture, 'practically silent operation'. Three operating systems. Whitten: 'Rocket science-level stuff' (alas, the audience did not laugh at that).
- Kinect has obviously been significantly improved. More joint points recognised, ability to notice movements as minor as twisting your wrist, your weight shifting and your heart rate.
- The D-pad has been re-designed on the main controller. Feedback can be programmed directly to the analog sticks.
- Content is stored in the cloud - can access movies, game saves, and so on at any time and anywhere.
- Dedicated game DVR and game editing and sharing tools.
- Xbox live: 'Completely re-defined - bigger matches, more players, and living in persistent worlds'.
- Andrew Wilson from EA Sports now. First look at EA Sports Ignite - their new game engine. He talks about the various (no doubt exaggerated) improvements this will bring to their games.
- Exclusive content in FIFA 14 'only on Xbox'.
- Up next is Phil Spencer. 'Let's take a look at one of those blockbuster exclusive franchises now'. Forza 5 is announced.
- Remedy's next title announced: Quantum Break. Looks to be an entirely new (and intriguing) IP from the team behind Alan Wake.
- 'MS plans to release more than 15 exclusive games in the first year. 8 of these games are brand news IPs'.
- Nancy Tellem comes on stage. Aaaaand, they're back to talking about television now. But wait, she pulls it back by introducing Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries (Halo)! Announces live action Halo TV show. Steven Spielberg is involved.
- Nancy Tellem hints at a special NFL partnership - fantasy football features, SmartGlass.
- Don returns to the stage. Thanks us for joining him. Announces the Xbox One will launch worldwide 'this year' (shocker!).
- Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC will be exclusive.
- And that's your lot for today.
tl;dr: Microsoft have just announced a set-top box with voice commands and motion controls which also happens to play some games, but you'll have to wait for E3 to hear about those.
The one ray of sunshine is definitely Phil Spencer's statement that the Xbox One will have 15 exclusive titles in the first year (though a lot will depend on whether these look to be decent, of course).