2013 will be known as they year that next-generation gaming finally entered our living rooms. But, what does this actually mean? Just what is the definition of next-gen gaming? The answer is simple: the Xbox One.
Microsoft's latest games console is one that pushes the boundaries of gaming like never before. Offering a complete home-entertainment solution – whether watching television or playing games – the Xbox One is packed with innovation that makes the machine the most-advanced console around.
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Not only is the Xbox One stuffed with computing architecture that gives games a cinematic spin, it is truly a console for the digital age – making great use of the power of the cloud, second screen technology and hands-free gaming.
The Xbox One marks the spot for the future of gaming, so here are some of the innovations that make this console the true definition of high definition...
You can't be a next-gen console without the horsepower to back this fact up. It's lucky then that at the core of the Xbox One is, well, eight cores. An 8-core x86 processor lets you switch seamlessly between any game that you happen to be playing and your favourite entertainment apps with ease.
Alongside this there is a whopping 8GB of RAM, as well as a 500GB hard drive. This means that you have plenty of memory for all your downloads – whether it be games, demos, movies, apps or music.
And the Xbox One isn't just about downloads, either. It also comes equipped with a Blu-ray drive so you can watch all your favourite disc-based movies through the console as well.
No more switching
The Xbox One has been perfectly designed so that it becomes the centre of your living room experience. This is all because of something called HDMI pass-thru. This feature that is housed in Xbox One enables you to watch TV through your Xbox without the need to switch inputs. Essentially, you can connect your compatible cable or satellite box to your Xbox One and then effortlessly watch television through the console.
A Windows of opportunity
As the Xbox One has been created by Microsoft, this means that the console can tap into the Windows ecosystem and take advantage of some fantastic features.
The Xbox One has been fused with Windows OS, so you can run a whole load of apps on the console alongside your games and even have them working on the same screen at the same time. Top of the picks is Skype in Full HD – the video service is baked into the Xbox One so you can use contact people from your console. You can pin your favourite apps, such as Xbox Music, to the home screen and also search the internet straight from the console too.
There are two fantastic ways to control gaming through the Xbox One: Kinect and a new innovative controller. Kinect has been re-engineered for the Xbox One. Kinect Real Vision technology means that the controller's field of view has been dramatically expanded. Real Motion means that tiny hand gestures are now recognised and you can now use your voice to launch any Xbox One experience from anywhere in the system. From the moment you say "Xbox on" Kinect will spring to life.
As for the Xbox One controller. Microsoft has added 40 innovations to the controller, including redesigned thumbsticks, a new shape that fits more hands and Trigger Impulses which mean you will feel every nuance of the games you play.
Away from the console, Microsoft is also redefining apps with its SmartGlass technology. This is something that truly defines the next generation. Offering a unique cross-screen experience that taps into a multitude of games and entertainment services, the app is available for Windows 8, Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Downloading the app means that you can use your tablet or phone to extend, enhance and control what's playing on your Xbox One.
You can't truly be next-gen unless you have the games to back it up – and the Xbox One has. Because of the unique architecture found in the Xbox One this allows creators to build fantastically realistic, cinematic experiences that look superb in Full HD.
The facts speak for themselves: the Xbox One won over 100 awards for its exclusive games at gaming expo E3 and there are a mountain of exclusives to choose from. From unique content found in FIFA 14, to a new Halo and Kinect Sports Rivals there is something for everyone with graphical prowess that will impress all.
Then there's multiplayer. Innovations such as Smart Match, a new reputation system and Game DVR, where you can record your greatest gaming moments, push multi-player gaming to the absolute max on the Xbox One. And with 300,000 servers powering things behind the scenes, this is what next-gen gaming looks like and it looks fantastic.