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Microsoft reveals more versatile Xbox One designed for mainstream users

Microsoft unveiled its new video game console, the Xbox One, on Tuesday. The device will go on sale later this year. Dedicated gamers will have to wait until next month for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, for many of the details, Hayley Tsukayama writes:

There are still plenty of unanswered questions. Chief among those: Microsoft hasn’t said how much the thing will cost, or when you’ll be able to buy it.

The company also only showed just a fraction of a promised 15 exclusive titles coming in the year after launch: the racing game Forza 5 and Quantum Break, a title that will blend a television show and video game by letting each influence the other. With a promised eight completely new exclusive titles, gamers will have a lot to listen for once E3 rolls around. (Continue reading here.)

One improvement over the previous iteration of the Xbox is the console’s Kinect system. The Associated Press reports that the system allows games to recognize users’ gestures and faces and interpret voice commands:

The new version of the Xbox’s camera-based Kinect system comes with better motion and voice detection, including the ability to recognize faces, tell if you’re smiling or talking and gauge your heart rate. It appears as sexy as the Xbox console, but has been overhauled under the hood. It’s three times more sensitive and has a larger, 60-degree field of view. In a demo, the doodad’s high-definition camera easily displayed crystal-clear 1080p video and could detect up to seven people, though it lagged as more folks stood in front of it. The basic motion detection appears vastly improved, but the voice detection feature wasn’t made available to try out, adding to the list of unknowns. (Read more here.)

Instead of focusing on these details of the device’s capabilities, Microsoft emphasized the Xbox One’s versatility. Users will be able to make calls, watch movies, browse the Internet, and change television channels using voice commands, in addition to playing games, according to the AP. Tsukayama writes that given the competition from other corporations’ entertainment products, this approach might prove profitable:

Microsoft portrayed the third-generation Xbox as a device that could take a central position in the entertainment lives of consumers. That space has become intensely competitive with similar consoles unveiled recently by traditional gamemakers Nintendo and Sony as well as an array of games, movies and other content from, Netflix, Google and Apple that can be displayed on the living-room TV. . .

Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities, said this may be the first console that non-gamers could want for their homes.

“They were pretty strategic about pandering to the mainstream audience today,” he said. (Continue reading here.)

Max Ehrenfreund writes for Wonkblog and compiles Wonkbook, a daily policy newsletter. You can subscribe here. Before joining The Washington Post, Ehrenfreund wrote for the Washington Monthly and The Sacramento Bee.



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