When Microsoft jumped the gun and announced its next-generation Xbox console last month in Redmond, Wash., it left out two of the most important details — when and how much?
On Monday, at its Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) keynote speech, Microsoft let the cat out of the bag: The Xbox One will grace 21 markets this year, retailing for $499 in the U.S, 499€ in Europe and £429 in the U.K. The new console will launch in the U.S. this November, just in time for the holidays (surprise!).
Paying For Everything And The Kitchen Sink
The $500 price tag is already freaking out gamers on Facebook and Twitter, which is a bit understandable considering that Microsoft's "premium" Xbox 360 launched for $100 less back in 2005. But the last console wasn't nearly as packed with features — consider the Xbox One really, really future-proofed. Powered by an 8-core CPU and packing Kinect 2.0, a Blu-ray drive, 500GB of hard drive storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi Direct), HDMI in and out, gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0, this console is designed to withstand the test of time.
The NES launch price, adjusted for inflation, would be over $625. If you don't like it, launch-day gaming isn't for you.— Mike Wehner (@MikeWehner) June 10, 2013
What About The Games?
Beyond price and availability, Microsoft also answered a lot of questions about upcoming gaming content for the Xbox One. At the Xbox One's launch event, Microsoft placed a heavy emphasis on the console's robust interactive TV and home entertainment features, but at E3 the name of the game is, well, games. Microsoft intends to deliver a flotilla of exclusive launch titles including Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, Sunset Overdrive and Killer Instinct designed to show off the next-gen hardware's considerable oomph.
Privacy And The All-Seeing Eye Of Kinect
Even as the long-awaited console remains on track for the holiday retail season, some concerns remain. The Xbox One ships with a built-in Kinect motion-sensing camera, which isn't everyone's cup of tea — especially now that the sensor is not only capable of seeing and hearing you but taking a peek at your heartbeat too. If having a quasi-sentient multisensor entity at the epicenter of your home doesn't unsettle you, then perhaps you'll be up in arms about the Xbox One's connectivity habits or its utter disregard for your existing collection of games?
(See also Microsoft Wants To Turn Kinect Into Big Brother.)
Finally, despite the anticipation surrounding the Xbox One, it could be merely setting the stage for Sony to unveil the successor to the PlayStation 3, which is expected to happen Monday night at E3. The Xbox One is an extremely powerful home entertainment hub, but Microsoft's console may not have the price advantage this time around. Sony's PlayStation 4 is expected to undercut the price of the Xbox One, but as for the rest, we'll just have to wait and see.
Photo by Taylor Hatmaker.