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Xbox One is a 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.[1] It directly competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles.[2][3] Xbox One was released across North America, several European markets, Australia, and New Zealand on November 22, 2013,[4] and is scheduled for release in Japan and the remaining European markets in 2014.[5] Microsoft and various publications have classified the device as an "all-in-one entertainment system",[6][7] making it a competitor to other home media devices such as the Apple TV and the Google TV platforms.[8][9][10]

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 entertainment integration, offering the ability to overlay live television programming from an existing set-top box, split-screen multitasking of applications, and improved second screen support. The console includes a newly upgraded Kinect motion sensing peripheral, previously an optional attachment for the Xbox 360. Microsoft is emphasizing the Kinect's integration with Xbox One through features such as a built-in Skype client for videoconferencing, user recognition and tracking, and the ability to use voice commands and gestures to navigate the console's user interface. New gaming functionality includes an expanded Xbox Live service, improved Kinect functionality, cloud computing, the ability to automatically record and share video highlights from gameplay, and support for live streaming gameplay online.

The console's initial policies surrounding online connectivity requirements, mandatory integration with Kinect, ambiguous restrictions on the resale and sharing of used games, and the higher price than its direct competitors led to mostly mixed reviews and concerns after the console's reveal. In response to these criticisms, Microsoft announced they would be dropping these restrictions.[11][12][13]

HistoryEdit

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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.[14]

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.[15] The official developer kit was codenamed Durango,[16] and appeared to be available to developers by mid-2012.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] A second press event for the console was held during E3 on June 10, 2013, focusing on its video game-oriented functionality.[21] At that time, Microsoft announced that the console would release in 21 different markets at launch, but this was later amended down to 13.[22] The change, which pushed the release date for the other 8 markets to 2014, was attributed to unforeseen complexity in localizing the new Kinect peripheral.[23]

HardwareEdit

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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 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.[24]

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,[25][26] and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM with a memory bandwidth of 68.3 GB/s.[25][27] The memory subsystem also features an additional 32 MB of "embedded static" RAM, or ESRAM, with a memory bandwidth of 109 GB/s.[28] 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.[29] The system includes a 500 GB non-replaceable hard drive,[30] and a Blu-ray Disc optical drive.[20][31][32] About 362 GB of hard drive space is available for the storage of games; support for external drives will be added in a future update.[33]

It was reported that 3 GB of RAM would be reserved for the operating system and apps, leaving 5 GB for games.[34][35][36][37] The graphics processing unit (GPU) is based on an AMD GCN architecture with 12 compute units, which have a total of 768 cores,[27] running at 853 MHz providing an estimated peak theoretical power of 1.31 TFLOPS.[38] For networking, Xbox One supports Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, and Wi-Fi Direct.Template:Citation needed Template:Quote box Xbox One supports 4K resolution (3840×2160) (2160p) video output and 7.1 surround sound.[31][39][40] 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.[39] 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.[20][31][41]

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.[42]

ControllerEdit

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.[43] 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.[44] Pre-ordered Xbox One Day One Edition controllers have the words "Day One 2013" engraved in the center.[45] Microsoft invested over $100 million into refining the controller design for the Xbox One.[46]

KinectEdit

Template:Further2 Xbox One ships with an updated version of Kinect for motion tracking and voice recognition; the new Kinect uses a 1080p wide-angle time-of-flight camera (in comparison to the VGA resolution of the previous 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 Live gift cards. The Kinect microphone remains active at all times by default so it 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).[47][48][49]

As was the case on the Xbox 360, Kinect usage is optional, and privacy settings are available for adjusting how the sensor operates.[50]

A Windows-compatible version of the new Kinect will be released in 2014.[51]

Software and servicesEdit

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Media inter-connectivityEdit

Similarly to Windows 8, Xbox One can snap applications (such as music, video, Skype, and Internet Explorer) to the side of the screen as a form of multitasking. Xbox One can also serve as a pass-through for an existing television set-top box over HDMI. This functionality allows users to watch live TV from their existing provider through the console, and access features such as show recommendations, an electronic program guide (branded as OneGuide), and voice commands. The set-top box is controlled by the console by either using an IR blaster in the Kinect sensor, or the HDMI-CEC protocol.[52][53][54] On launch, OneGuide is only compatible with television providers in the United States.[55]

Voice controlEdit

The console features a similar, albeit richer set of voice control abilities than those found in the first generation Kinect, allowing the user to control Xbox functions via voice command. Users can also initiate conversations through Skype.[56]

Operating systemEdit

The device reportedly runs three operating systems: Xbox OS,Template:Citation needed an OS based on the Windows kernel, and another OS that allows the other two operating systems to communicate by virtualisation (as a hypervisor). This integration allows features like snapped Skype calls while in game.[57]

The Windows kernel on the Xbox is not compatible with standard Windows apps, though developers will be able to port them over with little effort.[58]

Xbox LiveEdit

Microsoft have stated that the Xbox Live service has been scaled up to use 300,000 servers for Xbox One users, but have not stated how many of the servers are physical and how many are virtual.[59] 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 changes to players within their game.[60] The service is still be subscription-based. The friends list has been expanded to 1,000 friends.[61][62][63][64]

SmartGlassEdit

Xbox SmartGlass provides extended functionality on Xbox One, allowing devices running Windows Phone, Windows 8, iOS and Android to be used as a "second screen." A demo during the E3 press conference demonstrated its use for setting up a multiplayer match in another game in the background on a tablet while playing another game on the television.[21]

Recording and streamingEdit

Xbox Live Gold subscribers 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.[65] Integration with the live streaming platform Twitch will be provided in 2014; users will be able to use voice commands to immediately begin streaming footage of their current game directly to the service, and use the Kinect microphone for commentary and voiceovers.[66][67] Despite the ability to record gameplay, Xbox One does not include DVR functionality for recording television programs; executive Yusuf Mehdi indicated that Xbox One would "work in tandem" with existing TV providers, but that Microsoft may need to work with them directly to provide extended functionality such as DVR integration.[68][69]

GamesEdit

Template:See also Microsoft presented several first-party and third-party titles for Xbox One at its E3 2013 news conference, some of which are exclusive to the console.[70] First-party titles unveiled for Xbox One include Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, a revival of Killer Instinct, Project Spark and a teaser for an upcoming Halo game.[70]

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Xbox One games are distributed on Blu-ray Disc and digitally through Xbox Games Store.[63][64] All Xbox One games, whether digitally or physically purchased, must be cached on the console's hard drive. In the case of disc-based games, the disc will still be required to play.[71] However, 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 digital download.[71] Single-player games that take advantage of cloud computing require an internet connection.[71]

Xbox One does not have native backward compatibility with original Xbox or Xbox 360 games.[72][73] 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 through Xbox One.[74][75][76] In an interview, Senior director Albert Penello revealed the possibility that Microsoft could offer backwards compatibility with older titles through a cloud gaming system in the future.[77][78]

ReceptionEdit

Pre-release Edit

After the official reveal in May 2013, the editorial staff of Game Informer offered both praise and criticism for the console.[79] Matt Helgeson described the console as Microsoft's intent to "control the living room".[79] 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.[79] Jeff Cork said that Microsoft had "some great ideas" for the console, but that it failed to properly communicate them.[79]

Following Microsoft's E3 press conference on June 10, 2013, perceptions of Xbox One by critics changed. Multiple GameSpot writers were critical of the new console; Mark Walton considered Xbox One's launch lineup as portrayed by the conference to be "uninspired", "lackluster" and plagued by "old men in suits, a stream of buzzwords, and superficial games that valued visuals over innovation" (as opposed to the "new generation of gaming" that Microsoft had promised to present during the event, by contrast to its previous television-oriented presentation) alongside strict digital rights management (DRM) practices,[80] while editor Tom McShea noted that despite the increased capabilities and cloud-oriented nature of Xbox One, the presentation consisted only of "pretty games that didn't offer any noticeable change to the core experience we've already been playing [on the Xbox 360]", providing existing owners with little reason for spending $499 on the new console.[81] Journalists and consumers jokingly named the console the "Xbone", believing that Microsoft's decisions for the systems were in poor judgement.[82][83][84] After Sony's E3 press conference later that evening, 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."[85]

Rafi Mohammed, author of "The Art of Pricing" said on Bloomberg TV that Microsoft priced Xbox One "too high" and the $100 premium over competitor could "derail" the system this holiday.[86][87]

Sales Edit

On November 22, 2013, Microsoft confirmed that it had sold one million Xbox One consoles within its first 24 hours of availability.[88] Based on approximately 102,000 shopping receipts tracked by InfoScout, 1500 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.[89][90]

On December 11, 2013, Microsoft announced that it had sold approximately 2 million units in its first 18 days.[91] 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."[92][93]

On January 6, 2014, Microsoft announced that they had sold approximately 3 million consoles worldwide in 2013. [94]

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