November 14, 2013, 6:00 AM —
For the past couple of weeks I've been doing round-ups of next gen console news on Friday mornings. This week there's so much stuff to talk about that I decided to break the round-up into two posts. Today I'll cover Xbox One stuff, and tomorrow we'll celebrate Playstation 4 Launch Day with a post devoted to PS4 news.
So let's go!
Just hours after last week's post Microsoft's Marc Whitten and Yusuf Mehdi took to YouTube to show off the Xbox One experience. The video focuses on how different users can bring up their content, how quickly moving from games to TV to the web and back works. They also touch on editing and sharing clips of gameplay at about the 8 minute mark. So here's that nicely polished video.
So that looked pretty awesome right? A little later in the day, The Verge posted their version of the same experience:
I'm guessing this video is closer to what we'll all experience when we first set up our Xbox One consoles. Hopefully the systems will 'learn' and get better at listening to us. Or we could do something crazy like pick up the controller!
Last week we learned that every Xbox One comes with six months of free Skype group calling, but only if you're an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. You'll also get 100 worldwide minutes/month for the first six months. You can use those to call anyone, anywhere; not just other Skype users. A Skype sub to call non-Skype users would normally cost you $3/month (for unlimited minutes) and Skype group calling is normally $5/month.
Way back when the Xbox One was first announced, Microsoft pitched it as a media machine more than as a games machine. So what can you do with the Xbox One at launch besides play games? Over at Xbox Wire Microsoft announced the initial list of TV & entertainment apps for the console. In the US we're getting all the usual suspects except YouTube and HBO Go, but the latter is listed as 'coming soon'. Netflix, Hulu Plus. Amazon Instant, Redbox, Vudu...even newcomers like Target Ticket are represented. All told, 18 apps will be available on launch day.
And no longer will you just be watching TV. Oh no! Now you'll be earning Media Achievements. Ars Technica has the full story but don't panic: noobs won't be able to pad their Gamerscore by watching a bunch of Netflix; these Media Achievements will be tracked separately from gaming Achievements.
Somewhere out there, someone will be bummed to learn that the Xbox One won't support 3D Blu-ray discs at launch. Engadget has the story. It's worth noting that, contrary to Engadget's headline, the PS4 doesn't support 3D Blu-ray disks at launch either.
One of the most interesting Xbox One stories this week happened last weekend when some Xbox One consoles arrived early for some happy customers. It turns out Target goofed and sent as many as 250 standard edition Xbox One packages out early.
Seizing his fifteen minutes of Internet fame, Twitter user Moonlightswami started sharing details of his experiences with the Xbox One. He even changed his Twitter name to "#1 Source 4 XBOX ONE."
This guy was so jazzed about the Xbox One that I was starting to suspect the whole situation to be a viral marketing ploy; one person on Twitter was doing a better job of marketing the Xbox One than Microsoft has managed to do so far! But then the happiness ended when Microsoft banned Swami's Xbox One console and got his unboxing video removed from YouTube.
And bam, just like that, Microsoft killed all the good-will that Swami had generated. Suddenly they were the evil corporate overlords again, oppressing the little guys! Fortunately Microsoft employs Larry Hryb, who seems to have a clue when it comes to community management. He reached out to Swami, assured him the ban wasn't permanent, and invited him to the company's gala launch event as a guest.
The bottom line is, if you get an Xbox One early somehow, you should probably leave it in the box until the 22nd. For the full saga of Moonlightswami, check out Kotaku.
Maybe you're thinking you could just set up your Xbox One and not take it online. Well unfortunately the Xbox One really needs that Day 1 Patch in order to do much of anything. The Xbox One won't even play a disc-based game until you patch it. (Moonlightswami said the patch was about 500 megs so, assuming the servers hold up, it shouldn't take very long to download it.) Engadget has more on this.
Whew, enough of the doom and gloom. Here's Need For Speed Rivals running on an Xbox One:
Looks like a good Day 1 alternative to Forza 5 for gamers who like their racers to be more towards the arcade end of the scale.
Microsoft has been pushing its Skydrive cloud storage system pretty hard lately; it's a big part of Windows 8.1. Well they haven't forgotten the Xbox One. Here's an overly-long video (over 9 minutes!) video that shows you that you can play videos and look at images that you have stashed on your Skydrive.
Towards the end of that video we get a quick look at snapping apps on the Xbox One, but if you want to learn more about snapping, there's a video devoted to just that experience as well:
So that about catches us up on Xbox One news. We've got just eight days until launch so I expect there'll be plenty more to share in the days to come. Microsoft is serious about this launch. So serious in fact that in New Zealand the first Xbox One to go on sale (well, setting aside the Target slip up) is being guarded by sharks! So silly.
Microsoft has confirmed that the launch will be televised on Spike TV, same as the PS4 launch will be (PS4 coverage is tonight, in fact). If you don't get Spike you'll be able to watch the fun streamed on Xbox Live or xbox.com (where you can find more info). The event starts at 11 PM ET on November 21st.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.