Much has been made about Microsoft’s new gaming console, the XBOX One, and rightfully so. The 360 was the first of the newest generation of consoles, premiering 8 years ago ahead of Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3, and it will be the last of the big three to enter into this new era of gaming after the recently announced PS4 and the recently released Wii U. Microsoft is banking on its third XBOX becoming a revolutionary piece of tech, and having it set the standard for console gaming for the foreseeable future by rolling a whole new set of bells and whistles to entice the gaming consumers. Will these new features take the gaming world by storm, or simply become little used, or glitch ridden, un-needed addendum’s? Lets look at some of the new changes and speculate some benefits and challenges.
Going more the route of the PS4, rather than the Wii U, the new XBOX has left their controller relatively unchanged, when something works, you dont mess with it much. Although they say that they have added "40 technological innovations", including new force feedback triggers and automatic Kinect detection, the form factor remains the same. Another thing that says mainly the same is the Kinect itself. Although the engineers at Microsoft deconstructed the old Kinect in an effort to improve it, the only real change in the hardware appears to be an improved cameras and case, most of the rest of the changes are in the software.
It is in the software and the console architecture where the major changes, and major risk, are involved. Quite possibly the most fascinating aspect of the new system is that the console effectively runs two virtual machines at the same time, one which handles the gaming responsibilities, and the other runs a series of XBOX specific apps. This enables a gamer to be running background applications while playing a game, or switch seamlessly between game play and app management. Also, Microsoft is moving some of the processing responsibility from the console to the cloud. Some background task could be done by the XBOX cloud servers instead of the machine itself, with the hope that games can run smoother and updates and changes can take place quicker and more seamlessly.
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