Xbox One console with its controller and Kinect motion sensing peripheral
|Type||Home video game console|
|Units sold||3 million (as of December 31, 2013)|
|Units shipped||10 million (as of October 31, 2014)[better source needed]|
|Media||Blu-ray, DVD, CD|
|Operating system||Xbox One system software|
|CPU||Custom 1.75 GHz AMD 8 core APU (2 Quad-Core Jaguar modules)|
|Memory||8 GB DDR3 (5 GB available to games)|
|Storage||500 GB internal hard drive|
|Display||4K, 1080p, and 720p|
|Graphics||853 MHz AMD Radeon GCN architecture (inside of APU)|
|Sound||7.1 surround sound|
|Controller input||Xbox One controller, Kinect for Xbox One, SmartGlass, Xbox One Media Remote|
|Camera||1080p Kinect camera|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11n, Ethernet, 3× USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4 in/out, S/PDIF out, IR-out, Kinect port|
|Online services||Xbox Live|
Xbox One is a home video game console developed and marketed by Microsoft. Announced on May 21, 2013, it is the successor to the Xbox 360 and is the third console in the Xbox family. It directly competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles. Xbox One was released across North America, several European markets, Australia, and New Zealand on November 22, 2013, and later in 26 other markets, including Japan, the remaining European markets, and the Middle East, in September 2014. It is also the first Xbox game console to be released in China, specifically in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone. Microsoft and various publications have classified the device as an "all-in-one entertainment system", making it a competitor to other digital media players such as the Apple TV and the Google TV platforms.
Moving away from the Xbox 360's PowerPC-based architecture and back into the x86 architecture used in the first Xbox, the console features an AMD processor built around the x86-64 instruction set. Xbox One places an increased emphasis on cloud computing and entertainment integration, offering the ability to overlay live television programming from an existing set-top box with an enhanced program guide, split-screen multitasking of applications, and improved second screen support. The console optionally includes an upgraded Kinect sensor, providing richer motion tracking and voice recognition for use in the its user interface and games. The Xbox One also offers the ability for users to record and share highlights from or live stream gameplay. The console's controller was refined over that of the Xbox 360, with a redesigned D-pad, and triggers capable of delivering directional force feedback.
Prior to its official release, the Xbox One received mixed reviews; the entertainment-oriented features were praised, but there was controversy surrounding several policy changes since the Xbox 360, including a proposed always-on digital rights management system, and privacy concerns over a mandate for Kinect to be used at all times. Microsoft retracted these changes prior to the console's eventual launch, and the console received mixed, but mostly positive reception for its refined controller design, multimedia features, user interface, and voice navigation (albeit inconsistent in its performance).
- 1 History
- 2 Hardware
- 3 Software and services
- 4 Games
- 5 Reception
- 6 Retail configurations
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Xbox One is the successor to Xbox 360, Microsoft's previous video game console, which was introduced in 2005 as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. As of June 2013, it remains in production by Microsoft, having received a number of small hardware revisions to reduce the unit's size and improve its reliability. In 2010, Microsoft's Chris Lewis stated that the 360 was about "halfway" through its lifecycle; this was aided by the introduction of the Kinect device that year which Lewis stated would extend the lifecycle by five years.
Initial hardware for the 360's successor, commonly referred to by the industry as the "Xbox 720", was reportedly in hands of developers as early as May 2011. The official developer kit was codenamed Durango, and appeared to be available to developers by mid-2012. Leaked documents suggested that the new console would include an improved Kinect device, cloud access to games and media, integration with phone and tablet devices, and technology to provide players heads-up displays on glasses worn by the player, codenamed "Fortaleza"; Microsoft did not comment on these reported features. Similar, leaked design documents also suggested that Microsoft was seeking to eliminate the ability to play used games, though Microsoft later clarified they were still reviewing the design and were "thinking about what is next and how we can push the boundaries of technology like we did with Kinect", but did not comment on the validity of the information.
The console was publicly unveiled under the name Xbox One on May 21, 2013 in a press conference designed to cover the unit's broad multimedia and social capabilities. A second press event for the console was held during E3 on June 10, 2013, focusing on its video game-oriented functionality. At that time, Microsoft announced that the console would be released in 21 different markets at launch, but this was later amended down to 13. The change, which pushed the release date for the other 8 markets to 2014, was attributed to unforeseen complexity in localizing the device's voice recognition capabilities.
Xbox One's exterior casing consists of a two-tone "liquid black" finish; with half finished in a matte grey, and the other in a glossier black. The matte side of the top of the console consists of a large air vent. The design was intended to evoke a more entertainment-oriented and simplified look than previous iterations of the console; among other changes, the LED rings used by Xbox 360 are replaced by a glowing white Xbox logo used to communicate the system's status to the user.
It is powered by an AMD "Jaguar" Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) with two quad-core modules totaling eight x86-64 cores clocked at 1.75 GHz, and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM with a memory bandwidth of 68.3 GB/s. The memory subsystem also features an additional 32 MB of "embedded static" RAM, or ESRAM, with a memory bandwidth of 109 GB/s. Eurogamer has been told that for simultaneous read and write operations the ESRAM is capable of a theoretical memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s and that a memory bandwidth of 133 GB/s has been achieved with operations that involved alpha transparency blending. The system includes a 500 GB non-replaceable hard drive, and a Blu-ray Disc optical drive. About 362 GB of hard drive space is available for the storage of games; support for external drives was added in June 2014.
It was reported that 3 GB of RAM would be reserved for the operating system and utility software, leaving 5 GB for games. The graphics processing unit (GPU) is based on an AMD GCN architecture with 12 compute units, which have a total of 768 cores, running at 853 MHz providing an estimated peak theoretical power of 1.31 TFLOPS. For networking, Xbox One supports Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, and Wi-Fi Direct.
Xbox One supports 4K resolution (3840×2160) (2160p) video output and 7.1 surround sound. Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy for Microsoft, has stated that there is no hardware restriction that would prevent games from running at 4K resolution. Unlike the Xbox 360, the Xbox One does not support 1080i and other interlaced resolutions. Xbox One supports HDMI 1.4 for both input and output, and does not support composite or component video.
The console can monitor its internal temperature and adjust accordingly to prevent overheating; alongside increasing fan speed, additional measures can be taken, including forcing the hardware to run in a lower power state—a feature that was not present on Xbox 360. Restricting power consumption lowers maximum performance, but the setting would be intended as a last resort to prevent permanent hardware damage.
Xbox One's controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360's design. The directional pad has been changed to a four-way design, and the battery compartment is slimmer. Menu and View buttons have replaced the Start and Back buttons. Each trigger features independent rumble motors called "Impulse Triggers", which allows developers to program directional vibration. One trigger can be made to vibrate when firing a gun, or both can work together to create feedback that indicates the direction of an incoming hit. The controller also contains light emitters that allow it to be tracked and paired using Kinect, and to detect when it's not being held to automatically enter a low-power state. Microsoft invested over $100 million into refining the controller design for the Xbox One. The Xbox One controller includes a micro USB port: when attached via a USB cable, the controller can operate without battery power, and can be used on computers running Windows 7 or higher with downloadable drivers.
An updated version of the Kinect natural user interface sensor was also created to provide motion tracking and voice recognition for Xbox One; the new Kinect sensor uses a 1080p wide-angle time-of-flight camera (in comparison to the VGA resolution of the Xbox 360 version), and processes 2 gigabits of data per second to read its environment. The new Kinect has greater accuracy over its predecessor, can track up to 6 skeletons at once, perform heart rate tracking, track gestures performed with an Xbox One controller, and scan QR codes to redeem Xbox gift cards. By default, voice recognition is active at all times, so the console can receive voice commands from the user when needed, even when the console is in sleep mode (so it can be awakened with a command), although settings are available to change which Kinect functions are active.
All Xbox One consoles were initially shipped with the Kinect sensor included. On June 9, 2014, cheaper Xbox One bundles which exclude Kinect were introduced. Microsoft stated the decision to offer Xbox One bundles without Kinect was to "[offer] a choice to people that would allow people to buy an Xbox One and then ramp up to Kinect when they can afford to", while also allowing games to use processing power that was previously reserved for Kinect. An updated Xbox Development Kit issued in June 2014 allows developers to explicitly disable Kinect motion tracking functionality in games, allowing access to additional system resources that represent about 10% of the GPU processing power. These resources were previously reserved for Kinect skeletal tracking, regardless of whether the Kinect sensor was attached or in use.
A Windows-compatible version of the new Kinect was released on July 15, 2014. A standalone version of Kinect for Xbox One was released in October 2014; it is bundled with a digital copy of Dance Central Spotlight.
Software and services
Xbox One runs two operating systems within a hypervisor; games run within one operating system, while apps and the user interface run within a stripped-down variant of Windows 8. This architecture allows resources to be allocated specifically to different aspects of the console's functions, including multitasking and Kinect processing, ensuring an "absolute guarantee of performance" for games.
Xbox One's user interface is modeled on Metro design language. Similarly to Windows 8, its dashboard consists of a tile-based interface sorted into categories, including "Pinned" apps and games, a "Home" section for currently active, and recently used software, a "Friends" tab showing recent activity, online users, and a Gamerscore leaderboard, and a "Store" page serves as a consolidated portal to the games, movies, music, and app marketplaces. Apps can be snapped to the side of the screen as a form of multitasking. Users can go back to the Home screen while using games or apps using either a voice command or the Xbox button on their controller; up to four apps can run (either actively or in the background) at once, but only one game can run at a time. The "Xbox Guide" pop-up menu was removed in favor of apps and snapping.
Use of Kinect enables motion controls and the ability to control the console via voice commands. Xbox One's voice control capabilities are similar to, albeit richer than that of Xbox 360. Xbox SmartGlass provides extended functionality on Xbox One, allowing devices running Windows Phone, Windows 8, iOS and Android to be used as a companion device for Xbox One features, such as a remote control, accessing messages and the Activity Feed, purchasing content, and providing integration with certain games and content.
In January 2015, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One system software would be updated to use a Windows 10-based platform later in the year. The console will gain support for Universal apps that can be compatible across Xbox One, PC, and Windows 10 for mobile devices. and support locally streaming games to personal computers and tablets running Windows 10.
Xbox One provides the ability to feed live television by serving as an HDMI pass-through for an existing television provider's set-top box or an optional Digital TV Tuner accessory that allows use of digital terrestrial television. The console provides its own electronic program guide known as OneGuide, augmenting the set-top box's existing functionality to provide show recommendations based on viewing history, integrated access to "App Channels" corresponding to online video services, and voice control via Kinect. The set-top box and television are controlled by OneGuide using an IR blaster. Xbox One does not integrate with DVR functionality for recording television programs: executive Yusuf Mehdi indicated that Xbox One would "work in tandem" with existing television services, but that Microsoft would need to work with them directly to provide extended functionality, such as DVR integration. Users in European countries can buy an optional Digital TV Tuner which allows them to watch, pause and rewind live TV for 30 minutes.
The Xbox Live service has been scaled up to use 300,000 servers for Xbox One users. Cloud storage is available to save music, films, games and saved content, and developers are able to use Live servers (along with the Windows Azure cloud computing platform) to offer dynamic in-game content and other functionality.
An Activity Feed allows users to view their friends' in-game activities, videos, and post status updates. Users can "like" and comment on other users' status updates. Users can have up to 1,000 friends.
Players can use the Upload Studio app to edit and share clips from the last five minutes of gameplay footage that is automatically recorded by the console. Games can also be developed so that recording can automatically be triggered in response to notable events, such as achievements. Xbox One also integrates with the live streaming platform Twitch; users can use voice commands to immediately begin streaming footage of their current game directly to the service, and use Kinect's camera and microphone to record video and audio narration. Users can feature recorded clips on their Xbox Live profile page in a "Showcase" section.
As with Xbox 360, premium online features such as multiplayer, voice communication, live streaming and Upload Studio require an Xbox Live Gold subscription to use. As of June 2014, apps (such as Skype and Internet Explorer) and multimedia services (such as Netflix) no longer require an additional subscription to use beyond what may be necessary to use the service. Unlike Xbox 360, a user's Xbox Live Gold subscription benefits apply to all other users of their designated "home" console as well, rather than requiring a separate subscription for each user.
Xbox One games are distributed at retail on Blu-ray Disc, and digitally as downloads through Xbox Games Store. All Xbox One games must be installed on the console's storage: users can begin to play portions of a game (such as opening levels) once the installation or download reaches a specific point, while the remainder of the game is downloaded or installed in the background. Updates to games and system software are also downloaded in the background and while in standby. If the game is installed from physical media, the disc is still required to play. If the game is installed on another console, and that console owner no longer has access to the disc, the owner has the option of unlocking the install on their hard drive by purchasing it through Xbox Live; the installed game then acts as a game installed on the hard drive. An active internet connection may be required for some games, particularly those that integrate cloud computing.
Xbox One does not have native backward compatibility with original Xbox or Xbox 360 games. Xbox Live director of programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb did state that users could theoretically use the HDMI-in port on the console to pass an Xbox 360 (or, alternatively, any other device that supports HDMI output, including competing consoles) through Xbox One. This process does generate a small amount of unnoticeable display lag.
After the official unveiling of Xbox One in May 2013, the editorial staff of Game Informer offered both praise and criticism for the console. Matt Helgeson described the console as Microsoft's intent to "control the living room". He called Xbox One's instant switching features "impressive", and that the console was "a step in the right direction" with regards to TV entertainment, especially the prospect of avoiding the usage of non-intuitive user interfaces often found on cable set-top boxes. Jeff Cork said that Microsoft had "some great ideas" for the console, but that it failed to properly communicate them.
DRM controversy, E3 2013
Microsoft initially announced a different game licensing scheme for Xbox One than what was used upon its release: all games would be bound to the user's Xbox Live account. Users could access their purchased games from any other Xbox One console, play games without their disc once installed, and allow users to "share" their games with up to ten designated "family" members. Users would trade games at "participating retailers", and could also transfer a game directly to any Xbox Live friend on their list for at least 30 days, but only once. To synchronize licenses, the console would be required to connect to the internet once every 24 hours; if the console could not connect, all games would be disabled until the console was connected again.
Reaction to this digital rights management scheme was largely negative. Critics felt that the changes would infringe on consumers' first-sale rights for games purchased on physical media, as games would only be licensed to users rather than sold, and the disc itself would only be used to install the game and not confer ownership of its license or permission to resell. Microsoft also stated that publishers could impose restrictions or activation fees on second-hand copies of games. Xbox Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Yusuf Mehdi explained that the system was built with digital distribution in mind, but that Microsoft wanted to maintain the availability of games on physical media. He also noted that Microsoft was not "giving in" to publishers' objections to used games, but rather trying to balance the needs of consumers and the industry, and that the trading and sharing abilities of the platform added a level of flexibility not seen on other online distribution platforms at the time.
Microsoft's E3 press conference on June 10, 2013 was also criticized for focusing too much on games that, beyond increased graphical capabilities, provided experiences that were otherwise similar to previous-generation games—giving existing Xbox 360 owners little incentive for spending $499 on the new console. After Sony's E3 press conference later that evening, GameSpot editor Tom Mcshea went on to say that Microsoft had become anti-consumerist, trying to "punish their loyal customers" with strict restrictions, and that "by saying no to the used game restrictions and always-online that Microsoft is so happily implementing on the Xbox One, Sony has elevated the PlayStation 4 as the console to grab this holiday season." Rafi Mohammed, author of "The Art of Pricing" felt that Microsoft priced Xbox One "too high", and the $100 premium over its competitor could "derail" the system during the 2013 holiday season.
Response from Microsoft
On June 19, 2013, Microsoft announced, in response to the negative reaction, that it would reverse its changes to Xbox One's DRM and game licensing model. As with Xbox 360, users would be able to share and resell physical games without restrictions, and beyond a mandatory software update upon the console's initial setup process, and to enable playback of Blu-ray and DVD video, the console would not require a permanent internet connection to operate. These changes required the family sharing features, along with the ability to play games without their disc after installation, to be dropped. Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten stated that the family sharing feature may return in the future, but could not be implemented on launch due to time restraints. Don Mattrick, the then president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, stated that the licensing changes were in response to the negative public reaction. Other analysts believed that the change was in direct response of Sony's aggressive position during its E3 press conference. Mattrick, who had been a leader in Xbox One development, announced his departure from Microsoft on July 1, 2013, to become CEO of Zynga. Analysts speculated that his departure was predicated on the poor response and subsequent reversal of the plans for Xbox One.
In its launch review, Polygon gave the Xbox One an 8 out of 10. Describing its design as "inoffensive" but noting its larger size, the console's quieter and cooler operation was considered a sign that its hardware may be more reliable than the Xbox 360 was on-launch. The controller was praised for its battery life and "premium" design, but some members of the site's staff felt that its shoulder buttons were stiffer than that of previous designs. The design of Xbox One's interface received mixed reviews: noting that it carried over the design language of Windows 8, the interface was panned for hiding functions under the controller's menu button, and for being awkward to use with a controller or motion gestures, seemingly encouraging users to use voice navigation instead. While praised for having more "robust" voice navigation than Xbox 360, it was felt that voice navigation still had a "learning curve in understanding what works and what doesn't." Although noting its user following, Smart Match, and improved voice chat features, Xbox Live was panned for not offering the ability on-launch to use one's real name (as on PlayStation 4). Despite a regression in local and network multimedia functionality in comparison to Xbox 360, and how OneGuide interacted with outside set-top boxes (drawing comparisons to the operations of TiVo DVRs), Polygon felt the Xbox One's overall multimedia experience "feels like a major step forward in set-top boxes and makes the Xbox One the obvious center of any living room that has one."
Engadget was similarly modest on-launch, describing the Xbox One's design as a "1993 artist's rendering of 2013's technology". Acknowledging that while its controller was a mere refinement of the "ubiquit[ous]" Xbox 360 controller, the Xbox One's controller was praised for its improved D-pad and quieter triggers, but shared criticism over its stiff shoulder buttons. Kinect received positive reviews for its face recognition login and improved motion tracking, but that whilst "magical", "every false positive or unrecognized [voice] command had us reaching for the controller." The overall interface was also considered to be more intuitive and flexible than that of PlayStation 4, but panned its game library view for consisting of "jumbled, sadly unfilterable rows of every owned piece of software", and knowingly listing games that require their disc to run alongside those which don't. The console was also panned for missing certain promised features on-launch, such as Upload Studio, game streaming, and certain apps/services.
Later on, critics felt that the Xbox One's functionality had matured over the year following its launch; CNET acknowledged improvements to Xbox One's software since its original release, but that its user interface was still unintuitive in comparison to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4, explaining that "navigating the interface seems to be much more problematic than it rightfully should be, and there's simply not enough transparency in the logic within it. There are oddities peppered throughout, which is the root for countless headaches and frustrations." Xbox One's in-game performance was mixed, with some games showing losses in performance over PS4, but some multi-platform games performing better on Xbox One than PS4. The console was praised for providing a better lineup of multimedia services and apps over PS4, free cloud-synced save data for all users (PS4 requires PlayStation Plus for such functionality), support for high-speed USB 3.0 as secondary storage, and for having a "slightly better" lineup of upcoming exclusives, concluding that "While the PS4 had a clear advantage at launch, that edge is slowly evaporating as Microsoft has worked feverishly to undo most of the Xbox One's original missteps."
TechRadar similarly felt that Xbox One "[felt] more like a media titan today than it did 12 months ago," citing OneGuide, Upload Studio, and Microsoft's decision to drop the Xbox Live Gold requirement for multimedia streaming apps, and that "there's still a lot of potential locked away inside the hardware of the system that developers are just beginning to figure out. So while PlayStation might have the upper hand for now when it comes to certain third-party titles, it may not always remain that way. Just how Microsoft will get it to that point, though, is still a mystery." However, the console was panned for its dependence on a subscription for most of its functionality, Kinect's voice recognition, and because some games do not run at full 1080p resolution.
On launch, Xbox One was available in a single retail configuration, which included the console, one controller, and Kinect sensor. In the United States, it retailed for US$499. On June 9, 2014, Microsoft released a new Xbox One retail configuration that excludes the Kinect sensor, costing US$100 less than models with it. A standalone Kinect sensor for Xbox One for use with these models was released in October 2014, retailing at US$150.
Those who pre-ordered Xbox One for its release received a special "Day One Edition", which featured "DAY ONE 2013" inscriptions on the console and controller, and a free one-year Xbox Live Gold subscription. A white "Launch Team" edition was given exclusively to Microsoft staff members, featuring the inscription "I made this, LAUNCH TEAM 2013" on the console and controller, and was bundled with Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Zoo Tycoon. A similar limited edition was gifted to Respawn Entertainment employees following the release of Titanfall, with a black, white, and orange color scheme and a similarly-styled controller inspired by the game (the controller itself would be released publicly as a tie-in).
Xbox One consoles bundled with digital copies of specific games have also been released, including Titanfall and Forza Motorsport 5. In October 2014, a non-Kinect bundle featuring a white Xbox One and a coupon for a digital copy of Sunset Overdrive was released, marking the first public availability of white Xbox One models. In November 2014, a limited edition bundle was released for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, featuring a 1 terabyte hard drive, a dark grey and gold hardware and controller design inspired by the aesthetics of the in-game Sentinel Task Force, a coupon for a digital copy of Advanced Warfare 's "Day Zero" edition, and special in-game items. Bundles featuring coupons for digital copies of both Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag were released in November 2014: the Kinect-equipped version also includes a coupon for a digital copy of Dance Central Spotlight.
On November 22, 2013, Microsoft confirmed that it had sold one million Xbox One consoles within its first 24 hours of being available. Based on approximately 102,000 shopping receipts tracked by InfoScout, 1,500 of which included a purchase of either a video game or a video game console, the Xbox One was the highest-selling console during the Black Friday sales period in the United States.
On December 11, 2013, Microsoft announced that it had sold approximately 2 million units in its first 18 days on sale. On December 12, 2013, Microsoft announced it was the fastest selling console in the United States based on NPD Group figures, however the NPD report clarified, "PlayStation 4 sales included an additional week within the November data month compared to Xbox One. When looking at sales on an average per-week basis, Xbox One led PS4. Keep in mind, however, that supply typically becomes constrained in the second week after launch."
On January 6, 2014, Microsoft announced that approximately 3 million consoles had been sold worldwide in 2013. In their Q2 2014 earnings report on January 23, 2014, Microsoft announced that 3.9 million Xbox One units had been shipped worldwide.
On November 12, 2014, Microsoft announced they had shipped almost 10 million units to retailers worldwide. The company also revealed that a price cut had tripled U.S. sales of the console over the previous week. On December 11, 2014, Microsoft announced, based on NPD Group figures, that Xbox One was the best-selling console in November 2014.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Xbox One.|
- Official website
- John Sell, Patrick O'Connor (Microsoft), "Xbox One: Main SoC and Xbox one Kinect", presented at the Hot Chips Symposium 25, 2013