Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Microsoft unveils the One: New Xbox entertainment console in works

  • Print
Microsoft Corp.'s chief production officer  of interactive  entertainment, Marc Whitten, talks about the controller of the  next-generation Xbox One Tuesday.

CP Enlarge Image

Microsoft Corp.'s chief production officer of interactive entertainment, Marc Whitten, talks about the controller of the next-generation Xbox One Tuesday.

REDMOND, Wash. -- Microsoft thinks it has the one.

The company unveiled the Xbox One, an entertainment console that wants to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies, sports and other entertainment. It will go on sale later this year for an undisclosed price.

For the past two years, Microsoft's Xbox 360 has outsold its rivals. But it's been eight years since that machine came out, and Microsoft is the last of the three major console makers to unveil a new system. In those eight years, Apple launched the iPhone and the iPad, "FarmVille" rose and fell and tablets began to threaten desktop computers, changing how people interact with games and beyond.

Now, the stakes are high as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all using their latest machines not only to draw gamers but also to command the living room. The goal is to extend their reach beyond loyal legions of hardcore gamers and to become as important to our lives at home as smartphones have become to our lives on the go.

Don Mattrick, Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment business, said the company has spent the past four years working on an "all-in-one home entertainment system."

At an hour-long unveiling at the company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters on Tuesday, Microsoft executives used voice controls to switch back and forth seamlessly between watching live TV, listening to music, playing a movie and browsing the Internet -- all while running apps for stuff like fantasy football and Skype chats on the side of the screen.

"It really extends the home entertainment experience," Gartner analyst Brian Blau said.

He said the console seems to appeal to "more than just a core gamer in the family" and should be of interest to all types of audiences, from sports players to TV viewers to those who are "social and want to share things."

The Xbox One unveiling follows Nintendo Co.'s launch of the Wii U in November and Sony Corp.'s tease in February of the upcoming PlayStation 4. Each of the new consoles has shifted away from simply serving as gaming machines, as they incorporate streaming-media apps and social-networking features.

People will be able to connect their cable or satellite set-top box and watch TV through the Xbox One. It will have its own channel guide and allow viewers to change channels by voice command.

Senior vice-president Yusuf Mehdi demonstrated how the console switched quickly between channels after saying show names such as "Mary and Martha" or commands such as "watch MTV." His voice command of "What's on HBO?" brought up the channel guide for HBO.

"No more memorizing channels or hunting for the remote control," Mehdi said.

The interface for the TV goes well beyond the functionality in the Wii U, which still requires users to press buttons to change the input source on the TV. Xbox One seamlessly flipped between games, movies and TV shows with voice commands.

In addition to the console, Microsoft unveiled a new version of its camera-based Kinect system with better motion and voice detection, including the ability to recognize faces, tell if you're smiling or talking and gauge your heart rate. In a demonstration, the new sensor detected up to seven people in front of it. Microsoft said the new Kinect will be included with the Xbox One and is deeply integrated into the system, but it won't necessarily always be watching users in their living rooms.

"There's the ability for you to manage the privacy settings so you can turn it off," Marc Whitten, Microsoft's chief product officer of interactive entertainment business, said in an interview in his office after Tuesday's presentation. "Just like the 360, the biggest thing for us is that you are in control of your privacy."

The company also introduced a more ergonomic Xbox controller, with a slightly different layout from the Xbox 360 controller and trigger buttons that vibrate. The new console will also add the ability to play Blu-ray discs.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 22, 2013 B6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google