Introducing: Microsoft’s new console

MICROSOFT this week announced its first new games console since the groundbreaking Xbox 360, which came out all the way back in 2005. The rumour mill has been working triple time in recent weeks. Now we finally have some hard facts on what we can expect from the Xbox One, compiled by Steve Dinneen.

When can I get it?
Microsoft didn’t announce a release date, although it did say it will be available by the end of the year, making an October release likely in order to give it a full run on the Christmas market. This will put it head-to-head with Sony’s upcoming PS4 console. It is likely to cost £399.

What games can I play on it?
The new console will not be backwards compatible, so your old Xbox games will not work. At least 15 Xbox One-exclusive games will be available this year, including eight new franchises. Returning favourites will include Fifa 14 and the latest Call of Duty title.

What’s under the hood?
The new console has 8GB of Ram, a 64-bit architecture and a 500GB onboard hard drive. Reports suggest it will have at least three times the processing power, with animation depth up to 10 times more powerful than the Xbox 360.

It’s just a games console, though, right?
No, the emphasis with the Xbox One is on being a media hub, rather than just a games console. It will have a Blu-Ray player, live TV capability and an extensive on-demand service. Microsoft hopes the new Xbox will become the centrepiece of your home entertainment system.

Does it need to be constantly connected to the internet?
Contrary to some rumours, the Xbox One does not need to be connected to the internet at all times to run. However, it will need to connect at least once a day (a measure largely aimed at combatting piracy). Games are stored in the cloud, so you will need to go online to access them.

Is there a new Kinect too?
Yes, the new Xbox Kinect is a complete overhaul of Microsoft’s record-selling movement recognition gadget. It features a camera with three times the fidelity of the old model and has a 40 per cent wider field of vision. Microsoft claims six players can now be simultaneously tracked by the sensor.

What about the control pad?
The new controller features tactile feedback on the trigger buttons, meaning you will feel it pressing back against your fingers and/or vibrating independently of the rest of the unit. It also has a precision “d-pad” and does away with the start and select buttons.

What about re-selling used games?
Early reports that Microsoft was about to call time on the used game market by restricting games to the console they are first installed on have been quashed. However, the firm may charge a fee for second owners, giving them a slice of the lucrative used game pie.

Anything else?
The launch was helped by the announcement that Steven Spielberg is to create a TV series based on the hit game Halo. The series will be available exclusively on Xbox One, putting down a marker for the firm as a content provider as well as a facilitator.