Commentary
12:30 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Your Move: Xbox One

Credit Dekuwa / Flickr

A few months ago, I spoke about the upcoming PlayStation 4 console. I think there is a law about giving equal time to all sides, so this week I’m going to talk about the Xbox One, Microsoft's new console. It was unveiled Tuesday.

While the PlayStation 4’s focus is on games and the way we play them with our friends, Microsoft’s new console is firmly rooted in the living room and bills itself as the hub for all of your living room entertainment.

Not only will the Xbox One be able to play games, but it will also be able to control your TV and cable box, all without a controller. If you want to watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey, you can say “Xbox, watch Downton Abbey,” and it will turn on your cable and switch over to PBS.

This is enabled by the next-generation Kinect sensor, which can recognize who you are by your voice and face, and show you all your favorites before you even ask for them. You’ll also be able to watch movies, either using Microsoft’s rental service, or using the built-in Blu-ray drive.

Microsoft is also developing exclusive TV shows to be broadcast by the new Xbox, the first of which is a series based on the Halo game franchise, which will be executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

As far as games, Microsoft showed off some of the games that will launch with the system – Forza Motorsport 5, the new Madden and NBA games, and Call of Duty: Ghosts – which they demonstrated at length. While the graphics are much improved, the gameplay doesn’t look significantly different from the dozen Call of Duty games that were on the Xbox 360. And if you were planning on playing your old 360 games on the new console, you’ll be disappointed – Microsoft has said there is no backwards compatibility built-in for older games.

From a pure hardware perspective, the Xbox One looks to be about on par with the PlayStation 4. So, this time around, the question is, do you want the PlayStation 4’s emphasis on sharing and mobility, or do you want Xbox’s total living room takeover?

I’d put my money on the PlayStation 4. But, to be honest, I’ll probably end up getting both of them.