Introducing: XBOX One

After months of speculation, rumors, fan-made images, “leaked photos”, and more; Microsoft has finally followed through and has announced its new console: XBOX One (yes, project “Durango” was not actually named the XBOX 720).  However, the tough questions are still being asked: is it worth the wait and cost?

The hardware specifications of the XBOX One do sound appealing:

500GB hard drive

8-core x86 AMD CPU

GPU similar to the Radeon 7790

8GB of DDR3 RAM (shared between the CPU and GPU)

32MB of SRAM on the graphics die

200GB of memory bandwidth

Kinect 2.0 (standard and essential)

Blu-ray drive

802.11n WiFi (with WiFi Direct)

HDMI in and out

Gigabit Ethernet

USB 3.0.

Based upon these specs, the XBOX One sounds very impressive! Video demos of games also were impressive; however, when taking a neutral stance we must remember that convention releases are reliable but not definite (Microsoft especially knows this).  It does appear that we are looking at a worthy next-gen console but there is concern that Microsoft may be pushing overall entertainment value instead of reaching out to gamers specifically.

Game reviewer, artist, and gamer extraordinaire Melonie Mac was kind enough to offer us her views of the new console:

I’m concerned that Microsoft has lost focus with the Xbox One. Finding ways to make gaming more intuitive, immersive, and gratifying should be of utmost importance, but I feel that focusing on becoming an all-in-one entertainment platform is losing sight of the hardcore gamer and catering to more of a casual market. I hope this does not encourage games to continue becoming easier as we’ve been seeing over time.

However, I must admit the 15 Xbox One exclusive titles do sound appealing. Let’s just hope they’re not casual, interactive story games.

As a gamer, I cannot agree more.  After reviewing both press conferences I would personally hand the edge to Sony currently (and no, this is not a Sony fanboy bias).  Both systems are trying to push the boundaries of gaming but it was felt that Sony went to lengths to acknowledge their faithful followers in gaming and strived to cater to them while pushing graphics, gameplay, and entertainment boundaries.  Microsoft must remember that with XBOX, gamers are still the main buyers and they are not reinventing the PC with this console.  Making the decision to have fifteen XBOX One exclusive titles is a nod to gamers but I feel that the gamers should hold XBOX to this since the gaming community will make or break the console sales.  We do not want to get our hopes up just to have them broken (red ring of death memories fill my mind).

XBOX One will solidify itself as a next-gen console but whether or not it will be a game changer or best seller will only be determined with time.  As we wait and save our money (rumors circulate that it may be $299 with XBOX live subscription or $400-500 without it), gamers will monitor Microsoft carefully.  Pushing the boundaries of entertainment is wonderful but it cannot be forgotten that this is still a gaming console and greater gaming experiences are what we want

-Dan Lee

Special thanks to Melonie Mac for her feedback and courtesy!  Check her out on YouTube and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share her videos!