My thoughts on the #XboxReveal of Xbox One

I have now watched both the #XboxReveal conference and the GameTrailers aftershow twice, and am conviced the Microsoft has built exactly the system that I wanted the next gen Xbox to be.

Of course, I'll be honest... there was little doubt that I would be excited. I own most of the fame systems out there, typically preordering them for launch day. Inhad the 360 before it was available to the general public, got to be at the launch of the Vita in NYC, and am back #2353 for the OUYA. I even used an N-Gage.

FOR ALL ENTERTAINMENT

The Xbox One is positioned not just as a gaming system, but as an entertainment system. Already we use the Xbox 360 for media more than we use our cable box... the new X1 will just further cement that. Why?

The X1 is developed to be always on, always at the center of your complete entertainment experience. You feed ypur cable box into the X1's HDMI IN port, and suddenly the X1's UI is layer on top of your tv experience. Want to pull up an app while watching tv? No problem, the screen can snap two experiences to the screen at once, just like Windows 8. Playing a fame and suddenly realized Doctor Who is on? No biggie, just say "Xbox play TV" and the screen will pause your game and switch.

The Xbox One makes gaming a normal part of your everyday home emtertainment, not something silo'd and seperate.

THE KINECT

When the first Kinect came out, I was just enamored with the technology. It was clear that Microsoft had reduced the Kinect down to its minimum viable product... but it was still awesome. (If you've never read the Wired.co.uk feature on the development of the Kinect... stop reading my silly blog and go read it. It's an incredible case study for the development of a product.) After about a week of beta testing Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures, my friends and I decided two things:

1) It really needs to be HD

2) I really wanted to say "Xbox On"

And now, both of those things are coming true.

I don't know what more to say that this is a gamer's dream come true. The true capbailites of the Kinect (a product that I have been so impressed with I even bought the Windows version to develop with) is finally being realized.

With the new Kinect, the resolution has gone from SD to full 1080p HD (which will be used for Skype calls, too). The new sensors can track 6 people, the angles of their joints, and via some magical voodoo can even tell how much pressure/weight/power you are putting on/into your movements. The Kinect can tell if you are smiling or looking away... and now can even determine your pulse by watching for color changes in your skin.

This, simply put, is going to be amazing. Since these tools are seemlessly integrated and ever XBOX One comes with the ne Kinect, developers can easily use the Kinect to augment normal gameplay with a controller or create new experiences using your whole body. I might have to buy a boxing game for the first time since Punch Out.

CLOUD GAMING

No one has any idea what this will actually mean outside of Microsoft and their partners. But, Microsoft always tends to do a live beta test with things as an actual product. The first Xbox could easily have been seen as a real life beta test for the Xbox 360. The first Kinect, in my opinion, was a live beta test for the new Kinect. So where can we look for a beta test of cloud gaming?

A game called Galactic Reign for the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

The game's graphics on my phone are very simple. Nothing special. Kinda like a turn based board game. But then you have a battle with your opponent... and you get this amazing video of the battle. All of the ships (literally thousands) have their own AI, their own flying patterns... and it's all rendered beautifully. The video gets downloaded to the app and you can watch it all unfold with graphics at an Xbox 360 level, on my phone.

That's the power of cloud gaming, today. My little Windows Phone gets the benefit of cloud gaming to create amazing graphics. Now, obviously, the Xbox One probably won't need to offload graphics to the cloud... but what else could it offload? The AI for a crowd? The stats for a weapon? The weather in a game? I have no idea... but I think this is the biggest game changer for the consoles in 5 years from now. What if in 5 years our networks are so fast that the Xbox One could offload graphics or all the logic of a game? What if the local system only had to be bothered with rendering pixels, and all the logic is done in the cloud?

Endless possibilities.

E3

And all this... before we really get to see the games. Microsoft made a great move in announcing the console, the UI, and the entertainment features ahead of E3. Now they get to focus on games, games, games. I've bought into the strategy and tech: now just deliver the gaming experiences worthy of a new console, Microsoft. Then you can take all my monies.