Xbox One – A non-gamers guide to what Microsoft just launched

We’re not gamers at Fly Digital but we don’t mind a new technology launch, so it was still a big deal when Microsoft presented their new Xbox One earlier today.

To help like-minded non-gaming tech fans, here’s a quick cheat sheet on the Xbox One.

What is the XBox One?

It’s the latest version of the Microsoft Xbox released 8 years after the Xbox 360. Rumours had it that this version would be called Xbox Infinity, but it seems Microsoft went the other end of the scale and started from step one again trying to create a completely new gaming experience rather than an upgrade to Xbox 360.

What cool things can it do?

Lots of voice control. You can turn it on by saying “XBox On” for a start which will wake up the device and return you to where you last left off. Or say “Xbox watch TV” to swap to a live TV feed. Plus you can even jump into a Skype call whilst playing a game (useful for taunting opponents).

Also using Windows 8′s snap feature you can ‘snap’ an app to one side of the screen whilst using the other side for something else. This has plenty of cool uses like snapping a twitter feed next to a live TV show, or playing a game with the walkthrough snapped to the other side.

What about Kinect?

The motion control add-on is still there but for Xbox One it’s been completely redeveloped. According to the demo earlier today, Microsoft claim Kinect “picks up motion at 13 billionths of a second, the time it takes light photons to bounce off of you and make it back for the sensors.” Now I’m no particle physicist¬†but that sounds pretty darn responsive, am I right? This thing can apparently detect your heartbeat when exercising and Microsoft even claim it can register movements even in complete darkness (not sure if that’s important though, perhaps useful for the adult games market?)

Any demos I can watch?

Yep, check out the Call Of Duty : Ghosts video here: Check out the detail in the way the plants move when the helicopter flies past, or the reality of the German Shepherd (you get a dog in this new version, nice). Impressive stuff.

When can I get one?

Patience… Microsoft said the Xbox One will be available later in the year. I’d say based on previous releases assume around 4-6 months. But no doubt this is going to be a very popular Christmas gift for 2013.