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May 21, 2013

Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, ‘Halo’ TV series

Posted in: Games

xboxone ap Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Microsoft Corp.'s Don Mattrick unveils the next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system, Tuesday at an event in Redmond, Wash. It's been eight years since the launch of the Xbox 360. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

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Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft Corp.'s Interactive Entertainment Business, reveals the new Xbox One console at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash. (Microsoft / PRNewsFoto)

xboxone ap3 Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Microsoft Corp.'s Don Mattrick unveils the next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

xboxone ap2 Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Microsoft Corp.'s Don Mattrick unveils the next-generation Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

xboxone ap4 Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is shown in a video during the unveiling of the Xbox One entertainment and gaming console system Tuesday, (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

xboxsnap showing xbox skype grimm fpo3 en us Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Xbox One users will be able to watch TV while chatting with friends. (Microsoft)

xboxsnap showing xbox skype startrek fpo3 en us Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Xbox One users will be able to watch movies while chatting with friends. (Microsoft)

xboxone cod Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

A scene from the upcoming Xbox One game "Call of Duty: Ghosts." (Activision / Microsoft)

xboxone cod2 Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

A scene from the Xbox One game "Call of Duty: Ghosts." (Activision / Microsoft)

xboxone cod3 Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

A scene from the upcoming Xbox One game "Call of Duty: Ghosts." (Activision / Microsoft)

xboxone Xbox One revealed: Microsoft unveils new console, Halo TV series

Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One console Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Microsoft)

Microsoft on Tuesday is unveiling the successor to the Xbox 360 at a news event at its Redmond, Wash., campus, pulling back the curtain on its home console plans just weeks before the June Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

Hero Complex will be live blogging the news right here on this starting at 10 a.m. Updates will be posted below. We’ll be working fast, so please forgive any typos.

Microsoft is the last of the major home console makers to disclose its next generation system. Nintendo’s Wii U was released in late 2012 and Sony threw a lavish press event in February to announce its PS4, although Sony didn’t actually show the system in action. Rumors of new Xbox features have included some form of new embedded Kinect, always-on Web integration and the ability to act as a cable box.

Both the new Xbox and the PS4 are expected to be released by the end of 2013.

Since Sony revealed some of the details on the PS4, which the company described as a “supercharged PC” with a revamped, touchpad-enabled controller, there’s been plenty of speculation as to what direction Microsoft would take. Microsoft has hyped that Tuesday’s reveal will dazzle by presenting a “new generation of games, TV and entertainment,” all of which indicates the company will reveal far more than just games.

The 8 year-old Xbox 360 is going out on top. The console has now been the top-selling hardware platform in the U.S. for 21 consecutive months, based on unit sales, according to research firm the NPD Group.

10:02 a.m.: Microsoft launched its event with a video full of grand pronouncements from A-listers such as Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, as the company promised that “for the first time you and your TV are going to have a relationship.”

The new Xbox will set “your imagination free,” Spielberg said. After the video, Microsoft exec Don Mattrick took the stage and said a few words that will likely disappoint all gamers tuning in today, noting that at E3 the company will reveal what’s next for Xbox 360 when it comes to games and hinting that most of the game info on the new system won’t come until later.

Still, Mattrick said the new system will be the “ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system.” And with that Mattrick revealed that the new Xbox is titled Xbox One. It looks to have motion-sensing Kinect built straight in, and the controller looks largely unchanged. The presentation then received a massive round of applause from the gaming press assembled at the venue.

10:15 a.m.: Microsoft exec Yusuf Mehdi appeared onstage to show off how fast Xbox One supposedly is and how it responds to voice commands.

“Xbox on,” for instance, turned on the system. “Xbox game” sent the console to games. Mehdi also noted that the system will recognize universal hand gestures, such as swiping up or swiping across, using Kinect. Mehdi said the Xbox will have something called “snapmode,” which allows players to open multiple screens in Windows-like tiles. One example shown was watching a basketball game and using voice commands to bring up your fantasy league in a sidebar. It’s what Microsoft calls “interactive TV.”

10:34 a.m.: Microsoft exec Marc Whitten took the stage to unveil some of the system’s specs. Xbox One will boast 8 gigabytes of system memory, a 500 GB hard drive, a Blu-Ray drive and USB 3.0 and HDMI connections. Whitten said Xbox One will be tied to a specific user’s voice and its commands will be “conversational.”

As far as the controller, Microsoft said its new device boasts “40 design innovations,” many of them used to enhance ergonomics and control precision, such as a newly shaped D-pad. From the home office in L.A., these like look tweaks and not a complete overhaul such as for the Wii U or PS4 controllers.

For those skeptical about new Kinect abilities, Microsoft said Xbox One can recognize your heartbeat while you’re working out. He showed off “Kinect skeletal,” which was used to highlight the joints the new Kinect will recognize. Much of Xbox One’s content will live in the cloud. Users can also pause, record and rewind their game play.

10:46 a.m.: 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross announced that Steven Spielberg will be the executive producer of an original “Halo” live-action television series. “For me, the ‘Halo’ universe is an amazing opportunity for the intersection” of “mythmaking and technology,” Spielberg said via a video.

10:50 a.m.: Microsoft exec Phil Spencer said more titles were in development right now by Microsoft’s in-house game studio than at any time in Xbox history. Fifteen games are coming from Microsoft Studios in the first year of of the release of the new system, eight of which are new IPs.

10:58 a.m.: Microsoft and the NFL announced a new partnership to bring exclusive interactive content to Xbox Live, utilizing Skype and Xbox’s SmartGlass technology. It largely looks to be customized and personalized around a viewer’s favorite team(s) and fantasy leagues. SmartGlass technology automatically pairs the game console with compatible smartphones and tablets, so those portable devices can interact with the TV as a remote control.

11:04 a.m.: Among the new games shown, one of the most innovative looked to be “Quantum Break” from Remedy Entertainment, the developer behind the “Max Payne” and “Alan Wake” games. The title looks to integrate lots of live action content into its game play. A brief video was shown, in which filmed actors led players into the game world. The video shown featured a child who appeared to have the ability to sort of plug in to people’s minds. When an adult asked the young girl what makes her “so different,” she replied by saying, “Are you sure you want to know?” The video then cut to graphical images of worlds and bridges being destroyed.

Other games on display included “Forza Motorsport 5” and “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” The latter has been announced to be coming to other next-gen systems and Activision Chief Executive Eric Hirshberg showed of trailers and making-of footage. The game promises more “emotional engagement” than other “Call of Duty” titles, said Hirshberg, as well as sidekick that’s a dog. In graphical comparisons with older “Call of Duty” titles, we were able to see such details as the scar on the dog’s nose of “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” as well as more photo-realistic facial expressions. The first-person shooter will have the graphic capabilities to show lifelike hair on a human’s arm.

Unlike previous editions of the series, “Call of Duty: Ghosts” puts the players on the side of the underdog, as it begins with U.S. forces having been decimated. When it comes to downloadable content, add-ons for “Call of Duty: Ghosts” will appear first on Xbox One.

11:24 a.m.: Microsoft promised more detailed looks at the games at E3 in a couple of weeks and said the system will be released this year. No pricing information was given, following the example of Sony and Nintendo, which also withheld cost from their initial announcements.

Specifics such as backward compatibility also weren’t discussed from the stage and early interviews with Microsoft execs from those outlets on the scene in Redmond tell us it will not play Xbox 360 discs. “The system is based on a different core architecture, so back-compat doesn’t really work from that perspective,” Whitten told the Verge.

Hero Complex and Company Town will digest the above information and post more on Xbox One today. Thank you for following along.

– Todd Martens

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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