Xbox One: The New Xbox
The history of video game console:
The popularity of video game medium cannot be denied. Video games do not make children violent. They are not exclusively for kids. Video games are for all age groups. It refines hand-eye coordination. It sharpens the mind. It paves the way for multi tasking. Most unused areas of the brain are utilized for strategic decision making while playing video games. Most gamers of India predominantly use PC to play games. With the advent of Android, people love to play games with their smart phones and tablets.
The first video game console for home users was released on May 24, 1972. The name of the console was “Magnavox Odyssey”. Nolan Bushnail is known as the father of video games. He had taken ideas from “Magnavox Odyssey” to create “Pong” the most user friendly video game-console. As such “Magnavox Odyssey” is the first released video game console, but home video games became popular with the release of “Atari’s Pong”.
Nintendo turned home based video games into a complete family entertainment packages. Its games transcended all ages, sexes and demographics from all across the world. It removed the tag kids from home based video games. “Atari” the market leader from 1975 to 1983, grounded vertically and its place was taken by “Nintendo”. “Sega Genesis” was the popular console during the 16bit-era. It is the most popular genre of two dimensional game platform.
Sony released its “PlayStation” in 1994-95. It had high quality graphics. It is branded as a next-generation (next-gen) gaming console. Three dimensional graphics were finally coming into the forefront. Sony introduced CDs for running games. It created differentiation factors from its competitor Nintendo which were running with cartridges. Many traditional game developers, who were with Nintendo, changed their sides to Sony “PlayStation”. Sony introduced "PlayStation 4" in 3D. It leads to creation of complex games.
In 1998, the struggling “Sega” gaming console withdrew from the market owing to huge loss. From 1998 to 2001, game developers stressed on multimedia aspects instead of graphics. The “PlayStation 2” (PS2) from Sony was released in 2000, with a huge response of 132 million sales. In 2001, Microsoft launched its premiere gaming console “Xbox” on the huge success of “Windows XP”. It was the first hardware product from Microsoft.
PS2 and “X box” engaged in an epic battle. PS2 banked on better graphics while Microsoft used better graphics and PC connectivity solutions. Having lost in the battle between two titans (Sony and Microsoft), Nintendo, decided to enter into “fun gaming” market and tried to capture another sector of family game-entertainment-industry.
Xbox One entertainment system:
On November 22, 2013, Microsoft released new “Xbox One” complete entertainment system. Originally, it is a home based gaming console. With the emergence of android, smart phones and tablets are becoming compatible with various games. Most of top games are free on “Google Play”. “Google Play” is Android application eco system. Since 2001, Microsoft had spent billions in the development of Xbox-console. It is one of top two gaming consoles in the world along with Play Station from Sony. It is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of "Xbox One". The latest version of “Xbox” series is known as “Xbox One”.
Today, gaming consoles are facing huge difficulties. Casual gamers are shifting to their phones and tablets. People want hardware that can have multi tasking. With the introduction of “Xbox One”, Microsoft is jumping into the bandwagon of multimedia hardware competitors such as “Apple TV”. Two biggest game-console manufacturers are now shifting their marketing strategies and introducing their products as multimedia-entertainment-system. The user can stream music, buy music, play games, browse web and watch multimedia by connecting to smart-TVs and computers.
A fanatic retro-futuristic look:
It is all in one music deck, music library, a movie library, inter and gaming. Microsoft released the all new-black model with an original packaging on November 22, 2013. Xbox One system includes a large main box, a single controller and a kinect sensor bar. Xbox One is heavier than predecessor “Xbox 360”. It is due to introduction of Kinect sensor. Kinect sensor is a camera and audio-based controller. Xbox One has a fantastic retro-futuristic look. This device is meant for modern home. The size of this device is similar to “Xbox 360”.
It is a completely inclusive hardware product. It would not play “Xbox 360” games. It would not be placed vertically. With the introduction of “Xbox One”, Microsoft introduced a sea change in hardware-configuration. It will give a “near-silent” operation while running game DVDs.
With the introduction of newer technologies, it is trying hard to minimize the probable mistakes by initiating situational-awareness. So far, hardware seems ok. Some third party games run a lower native resolution on "Xbox One".
Canned 24 hour online-dependence policies:
It must connect to internet once a day. It is the introduction of “canned 24 hour online-dependence” policies, which are implemented with “Windows 8” and now with “Xbox One”. It is a combination of game-console and multimedia-entertainment-system. It is a trend setter and is giving a complete overhaul perspective towards gaming. It aims at giving realistic graphics, which would be similar to actual humans. Slowly, gaming industry is maturing with plenty of advancement of graphics and multimedia additions. Now, one can shift from television to movies, to games to multimedia. It converts signals to high definition programming. It can record programs for later viewing. It is all about personalization and customization. It is a complete entertainment package aiming to cover all entertainment applications.
It aims at people from all categories of life. As such, two top gaming console developers realize that people want a complete package of entertainments. They want a nice gaming-console with brilliant music, preferably with optical output. They also want to have high-definition games which can give them a rich home-theatre-experience and, of course, they want web-browsing. They want an “all in one go” application for their entertainment. With this, satellite television connectivity and surfing the web while watching television is a possibility. They want a perfect blend of power with super performance. They want a hardware which can withstand all these multi-tasking functions.
The stunning realism with gesture control:
The stunning realism with game characters is absolutely amusing. When you compare this with arcades of yesteryears, the seemingly assured of inclusive of virtual reality animations is far reaching. It brings a new level to home game entertainment with a canny and advance game-coding. It can work online as well as offline. It gives users the ability to take their gaming consoles anywhere in the world. Earlier versions have never allowed these and for this the reach of gaming consoles becomes country-specific. Microsoft is slowly perfecting the use of “gesture controls”. After the successful experiment of “gesture control” within car music system, Microsoft installs this application in its own flagship hardware brand.
Artificial intelligence at its best:
It is built for the future. There are many smart futuristic applications like cloud-infrastructure, controller design, Xbox SmartGlass and kinect. All data are stored on a secure server and use of offline hard drive is hardly there. It provides opportunities for game creators’ ample space to develop applications with wide ranging connectivity. It can connect with Skype and you can talk with your friends while you are playing games, watching tv or listening to music. It has a state of the art gaming-console powered with Microsoft Operating System (OS). It gives power to you to run plenty of applications without hurting processor speed and accuracy.
It combines the power of CPU, GPU and ESRAM, which give us the feel of a super computer at our fingertips. As such, it reduces the lagging time of response to a minimal level. With the advent of “kinect” with controllers which powers you for additional gaming control, is realistically expanding the scope of game play to a gigantic level. It can recognize our movement and can receive commands.
It deals with deep understanding of facial tracking and human gestures. It all started with “Project Natal” from Microsoft, which would revolutionaries the entire video gaming experience, as it can see your movement and according to these gestures the movement of characters within video games occurs. It remembers our face and movement when we enter into the room, it automatically wakes up video-game-console from sleep-mode. It deals with kinetic movement of the human body as well as it connects automatically to our friends in “Skype” and “Xbox”.
Microsoft "kinect" works closely with the installed camera on devices. The camera can record the movement as well as audio, and it gives high-definition three dimensional motion pictures. The camera works on hardware as well as software. The camera does not take normal photos of individuals. It transmits an infra red invisible ray and that takes deep picture which can differentiate the picture from background color. Generally, computers find it difficult to differentiate a person from its background in normal photo shoot. It records “speed of light” and “time of flight” to know the exact identification of a person moving in its range.
The sensor does not take normal photos, so problem with ambient minimized here. It reduces the false positives. There is one “invisible sensor” which can emit light even in darkness. It is a complicated process, but all works in combination to give a sense of artificial intelligence within “Xbox Kinect”.
When you step in to its location, it knows that it you who are entering. Mother can know the foot movements of their child from a distance; it is the same sort of emotional relationships among user and “Xbox-kinect” to recognize you without any gestures. While playing a boxing game with the computer as our opponent, our mere hand-movement creates a prototype character inside the video game.
A new intelligent and damage resistive controller:
Microsoft released the best gaming controller so far with “Xbox 360”. For the first time customers experience brilliant “kinect” control systems embedded within “Xbox One”. It appears to be an impressive bit of engineering. “Xbox One” is the successor of “Xbox 360”. It is a way out of the traditional form of home video game-entertainment. It has a huge wind vent, which is meant for cooling of the CPU (central processing unit) and the GPU (General Processing Unit). It has committed to create huge dependence of cloud servers for data-mining. Most of modern operating systems (OS) are running with cloud. It is safe and secure. It creates a virtual environment.
Microsoft has promised to create a dedicated cloud server for multiplayer gaming. It will stable it and can be fast enough to act in real life situations. The controller charges with USB cables. Still, option for wired controlled could give an additional option for users. Wired controller is good for home use. The new controller has “asymmetrical stick positions”. It is smoother and works brilliant. The sensor and the movement of controller are working in a tandem. The triggers have its own rumble system, which gives additional feedback of its movement. This has been possible due to the advent of tiny yet powerful sensors for ancillary controls. The “kinect” controller seems to be most advanced and technologically sufficient. It detects creases of shirts. It is very precise and accurate in motion detection. It reads basic expression of your face and works according to it. It captures immersion details and generates motion gesture controls according to it.
A whole some media entertainment:
It is a healthy sum media entertainment. It can connect to your TV, multimedia and satellite receivers. It gives you all one in one multimedia solution at your fingertips. For the first time, in the history of gaming consoles you can find OS at work. Microsoft has incorporated. “Windows 8” in it to give the user more power of graphical user interface (GUI). All are not well with it. TV integration seems difficult and it is filled with bugs. As such, it is expected. Microsoft will soon release some critical OS patches in order to patch all these vulnerabilities. You will take time to understand the functioning of the new dashboard. Many a times, “kinect” is not working as it is expected to be. The cost is on the higher side. It costs more than its immediate competitor “Play Station4”. It is meant for premium customers. Many functions require activation of “gold membership” of “Xbox One”. It launched about full eight years to the day of the launch of the launch of its predecessor “Xbox One”.
What is in the box?
One has to use iron instrument to open “Xbox One”. A gritty blue designed cartoon sums up to its aesthetic design. There are a gaming console, power brick, kinect sensor, one controller, one chat headset and a 6-foot HDMI cable. Initially, Microsoft planned to ship kinect with gaming console. In the subsequent stages, Microsoft realizes the price increase and it is giving a sense of negativity. The hardware of “Xbox One” and “Xbox 360” are nearly same. Due to incorporation of “kinect”, “Xbox One” becomes heavier than “PlayStation4”. A good thermal part is necessary for a heavier processing-unit. The machine runs silently. On the contrary, “Xbox 360” makes jettison noise and creates distraction. In addition to it, the originally proposed “DRM restrictions” on game DVDs create a sense of negativity about “Xbox One”. If “DRM restrictions” are enabled, then “Xbox” friends will not be able to share title of games.
Proprietary ports made attaching cable incredibly easy. It is intuitive and self illustrated. External power supply takes more space in your cabinet. “Xbox One” is bulky and heavier. On the initial boot up, the system presents you with a language option and location. Disable location. Due to “Windows 8” OS, the system, immediately recognizes wireless Ethernet. The next step is to update “Xbox One”. It is a 500MB update. “Xbox Gold” account holders should sign up for data-synchronization. These accounts enable all console features to you.
The installation of Xbox One:
From beginning to the end, the installation of “Xbox One” took 27 minutes. It has a 500-gigabyte hard drive. It cannot be expandable. Sony’s “Play Station 4” provides opportunity to increase the size of hard drive. “Xbox One” does not support SD-memory-cards. It does not have support for external-hard-drives. Social media is abuzz with malfunctioning hard drives of “Xbox One”. I cannot comprehend these mistakes at all. Eight days back, Sony released “PlayStation4”. There are numerous reports of hard-drive failures. I suggest, open it and test it at the shop before purchase.
“Xbox One” is a home theatre centerpiece. This feature has similarity with recent Google TV releases. It is easier to connect with HDMI input ports with “set top boxes”. The home screen of “Xbox One” has same tile-structures of Windows 8. One needs to work for some time to set up surround home theatre system. Sound quality is high and soothing for ears. An automated connectivity of all multimedia channels can minimise user's worries. "Xbox One" is certainly a step forward towards futuristic all-in-one multimedia-application.
Live TV with live apps:
One needs a decent internet connection to enjoy rich dividends from “Xbox One” experience. You need to sign into “Xbox store” practically for every function except playing games and watching TVs. We need apps for playing multimedia, streaming videos or watching online games. It is the same technology as Windows 8.1. “Xbox One” is five to ten times costly than Apple TV and Google-TV. Customers always compare with prices and perform cost benefit analysis. Live TV from streaming is one such significant feature which is not available elsewhere. One can watch sports live and simultaneously activate the apps, to garner statistics and other form of information from web. It shows the capacity to combine various Medias in one platform. It gives ultimate entertainment considering all aspects of multimedia viewing. Every live medias is encouraging their users to show and participate live in discussions through social media applications as well as phone apps. There are prizes for answering the query. All in one live-TV combines each aspect of multimedia experiences. You can have vivid interactive stats from apps side by side with live TV. This is a different concept and it seems to be working with wonders.
Yours digital living room:
“Xbox One” aims to create a digital living room, which will combine all aspects of entertainment. It is not a flawless system, but due to attachment of OS, future updates and upgrades can nullify some mistakes, which can be felt after the first installation. When, satellite TV as connected, it will by default launch all the high definition channels. If you ask for standard channels, it will search and show high definition channels, which would be locked there. There are some tweaking needs to be done inside its settings in order to change default channel orders. It is not easy to find these settings. For this, some have used game-controllers to navigate TV channels.
The default controller “Kinect” works brilliantly with high definition channels. It is very difficult to remove these default functions, if someone wants to run standard channels. The killer feature of “Xbox One” is voice-controller (speech-recognition). It has flaws. It is difficult to catch the Indian-English. Android failed miserably with speech-recognition-software. One has to speak with a foreign accent in order to receive a positive impact from speech-recognition-software.
The all new motion and gesture control:
The default controller buttons are nice, but while watching some channels for some time, and when you want to change the channel, the controller had gone to sleep mode, this create”"s worries as one has to switched on controller again and then change the channels. In earlier version of “Xbox”, the solitary option is game-playing. With the latest incarnation of it, the principal function is distributed with various categories. Improvement with game-control and remote-control is visible. For this it is essential for Microsoft to attach one such remote controller with all the functions so that people can have hassle free television watching and without any such inopportune times. “Xbox One” is not a stand-alone gaming-console. It is a complete entertainment package. It needs a dedicated remote for multimedia functioning.
Microsoft is trying to create all in one device control with “kinect”. It is a good for the technical professional, but not for a layman. Layman will buy this device and use it. Layman always wants easier function so that he does not have to apply his mind into it. A dedicated multimedia remote-control can boost confidence of customers as they will feel at ease while performing all multimedia functions. “Xbox One” failed to recognize the remote control of “Windows Media Centre”.
All these are negatives of “Xbox One”. There are many positives attached with it. The packaging is attractive. The hardware is strong and robust. The optical drive-drive seems to be faulty; nevertheless, it is expected from Microsoft to change it without cost. The desktop environment is flawless. It is similar to Windows 8 and Windows Mobile. It is very easy and can be tweaked with some computer knowledge. “Xbox One” creates a benchmark for Google and Sony. Microsoft is way ahead with “motion and gesture control”. It is a hard time both for Sony and Google to compete with Microsoft.
Why you should buy Xbox One?
Convergence of diverse applications and turning them to unify a definite system is what people like the most. “Xbox One” is one such example. We already have a home-theatre system and I do not want a second system, which is bulky. Already, we have “Xbox 360”. Why we should invest heavily on a premium product? All the purchased games of the earlier version will only work with “Xbox 360”. It will not run with “Xbox One”. We are generally satisfied with the functions of “Xbox 360” despite several repeated failures. It will take time as we do not want to buy newer versions within a short span of two years.
We are not noteworthy change of opinion within three years, but with repeated failures of current set up, slowly we can hope for up gradation though it may be of Microsoft or from Sony. I would definitely hold Google in high esteem and is waiting for its launch of exclusive game-consoles. If not Google should seriously think about this. Android from Google, is hosting many superb games such as “Temple Run”, “Subway Surfers”, “Fruit Ninja”, “Survival Run”, “Candy Crush Saga”. All these games are running effortlessly within Android. Game play within Android is reviewed in very high esteems by technological experts.
Android as mobile gaming console:
Most games are running without any compatible issues with this mobile operating system. (Android) It is a mobile gaming console as well as all in one entertainment system. It seems Microsoft’s (Xbox One) has been inspired from Android operating system. It is all in one mobile entertainment inside your pocket. Now, some direct-to-home broadcasters are contemplating the ideas of creating a mobile-sim, which will be placed inside dual phone sim-manager, and with it they can broadcast the TVs inside a phone environment. Android device becomes home theatre system with web, multimedia, game consoles, FM radio, weather forecast, direct to home television and all the other features which will give you a complete pocket entertainment system at your fingertips. Perhaps Google will not step into the shoes of Microsoft and enter into game consoles competition. It has acquired the number one spot in the arena of mobile entertainment. It has more than 80 percentages of shares in smart-phone and tablets.
People do prefer mobile computing better than the so called desktop and television systems. It gives people a choice to play whatever, just by unlocking the device. It is a fun out here. “Xbox One” comes with the added feature such as Skype connectivity, TV integration, and sound and motion control. The software development kit (SDK) is known as “Durango”. It is user friendly and easier for developers to create multiple apps for “Xbox One”.
- Kinect: It is a voice activated with a high definition camera to interpret visual data better. The new and innovative motion controller pushes up to two-gigabytes of data at any point of time. Always on powerful microphone is connected to gaming consoles. It receives voice-commands from the user and interprets it accordingly.
- All in one media control: One can comfortably switch between TV, music and internet. All these can be done with sound and motion control or with default control.
- Default control: It is a four directional pads. There is little difference from its earlier version. Battery compartment is smaller and lighter. Rumble motors and impulse triggers give the feeling of directional vibration. This control works best with simulator games.
- Operating system: Microsoft has introduced one operating system which is integrating “Xbox One” with Windows kernel. In this way, a proper and intuitive graphic user interface is visible which is helping the user for full control of gaming console.
- Set top box: Similarly, to “Google TV”, “Xbox One” is incorporating set up box signal through “HDMI cable” and send signal to TV. It gives excellent user interface, and intuitive GUI for users and connection of “kinect” produces motion and voice control for users.
- Hardware: It has been 8-gigabytes of RAM. It has blue-ray disc drive. For the first time, blue-ray disc drive is introduced with a Xbox device. It has slip-drive. It is advisable to use fresh games and do not insert scratched game DVDs. It has non-replaceable 500-gigabytes of hard drive. It gives high-definition to video streaming and also for video viewing. It has 7.1 surround sound systems. It gives virtual outlook and moving sound. The drawback is all these features seem useless if the console is not connected with “kinect”.
- Games: It does not give backward compatibility with “Xbox 360”. The architecture and cores of both systems are different. You will need an “Xbox live” account for multiplayer-gaming. "xbox live" is a paid subscription. Even if you own the game-disc still we cannot use it except for one computer. "kinect" activation is a must for comprehensive use of "Xbox One". “Xbox One” seems a futuristic product but plenty of customizations and also it needs a proper rethink on the part of Microsoft to make it user friendly in terms of its configuration as well as a price of product.
Third party game-developers is creating newer games for “Xbox One” and many developers are still thinking many a times before venturing into new game-console from Microsoft. The major worry is the non-compatible issues with its “Xbox 360”, the predecessor game console from Microsoft.
Some interesting new features:
It has released a new version of a software development kit (SDK) for developers. It is easier than before, but sadly, new games of “Xbox One” will not work in previous version of “Xbox” (Xbox 360). It is a major cause of worry. For customers who have invested heavily in buying original games, now realize that all these discs will not be working with “Xbox One”. All are not bad with this new game console. Yours earlier game tag, achievements and game score will be transferred to "Xbox One". Many gamers are with Microsoft and are earning points. It is certainly good news for gamers.
Achievements are personal satisfactions for gamers. With “Xbox One”, users can now compare their scores with other gamers and few improvements in these scores are there. The newly introduced “game DVR” will record all your achievements and it will give you the option to share with “social media” and “Xbox Live”. It will give you an opportunity to review games which your friends have been playing and vice-versa. This feature is not there with Android. It is a welcome step from Microsoft to introduce virtual-help from community.
Is it a marketing gimmick?
In the first instance, Microsoft has sought for “always on” internet-connectivity. Thus policy is changed after pressure from loyal customers. Microsoft is seriously considering removing "digital rights management" and "backward compatibility". Now, owner cannot share their sport DVDs. All these seem to be not so friendly with loyal customers. You do not need two subscriptions at one time. They treat these situations as “potential-scenario”. They said it is aimed at benefitting for customers as they can retain their existing game DVDs and can rent these games to other “Xbox Live” account member to earn money. This is a new and innovative concept, in which customers can now rent their existing game DVDs to other members and can compensate price. It gives power to gamers to trade in and resell game-DVDs.
Lack of clear before release of this groundbreaking game-console seems to spark numerous controversies. It may be one such marketing gimmick from Microsoft. It wants to listen to people’s feedback and try to incorporate some positive points from already circulated discussion in various forums and blogs. Is it a marketing gimmick, instead of giving constructive the company is giving us confusion in order to fuse enthusiasm of the product?
The future of gaming:
According to Moor’s law, number of transistors fit in a circuit will double in two years. But, for the first time, Moore’s law seems to be falling in with this latest incarnation of the gaming console from Microsoft. It seems that technology is slowly moving towards “virtual reality” where each and every aspect of motion and gesture seem to be standing in with reverse-reengineering. Microsoft has restricted the hard disc drives and cannot be upgraded.
There is mash-up of all forms of technology with new “Xbox One”, where one could find assimilation every form of entertainment and the introduction of improved and precise “kinect” functions will add more value to existing product. Microsoft is trying hard to protect digital rights management (DRM) issues, but for sure it had to face many difficulties in keeping within its game console-environment. In terms of motion sensor movement, competitors such as Nintendo have “Wii” and Sony’s “PlayStation 4” has “Eye Toy” but they are far from reality. The future of the gaming industry will certainly depend upon progress of motion sensing mechanisms, now; it seems Microsoft has given this technology a way ahead from its immediate competitors with the introduction of “3D positional device” and “video recognition”.
Finally, the gaming console industry is slowly maturing and you have three beautiful options in this gaming console industry. “Xbox One” deal with high end hardware and this gives prudent opportunity for Microsoft to vouch for futuristic development for developers to add multiple features that can be compatible with future in mind. Generally, game consoles development is very slow, as in its 13 years of history; Microsoft has released only three game consoles. Game consoles depend heavily with third party game developers. One has to take the confidence of game developers before releasing the new versions. Now, with this third generation consoles, Microsoft has closed all the possibilities of backward compatibility. The, what is the future of gaming consoles industry. Scientists are already moving from motion and gesture controlling to brain computer interface. They are searching for measures to catch the waves of thoughts. Thought will translate into actins and allowing you to game play just by thinking about it. You will never know what is stored in the future for us.
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