Xbox One Is More Than Just a Game Console

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft's director of programming for Xbox Live, Larry Hryb (better known as "Major Nelson") says the soon-to-be-released Xbox One is more than another video game console.

Instead, it's a central media hub that allows users to access social media and media streaming services with voice-activated controls.

The Xbox One ships this Friday -- November 22, 2013. It's Microsoft's third video game console, following the original Xbox (released in 2001) and the Xbox 360 (released in 2005).

It's designed to help Microsoft keep up in the competitive video game race with major rival Sony, which just released the PlayStation 4 last week.

Microsoft: Go Ahead, Ditch the Remote

The key difference between the Xbox One and the PS4: Microsoft's console is designed to do a lot more than just play games.

The Xbox One effectively integrates the Kinect 2.0 peripheral, which includes voice recognition technology. That means you can ditch the old remote control and access your downloaded applications just by saying "Xbox: Netflix," or "Xbox: Hulu".

Early reviews suggest the technology works quite well, meaning users can switch between video, music, and games in just a few seconds without reaching for a game controller or remote.

Hryb adds that the Xbox One is also "the only next generation game console that has HDMI in, so that means it will work with your existing satellite or cable box." (Source:

That means you don't have to switch inputs in order to access satellite or cable programming.

The Xbox One is also extremely fast: simply say the words "Xbox: On" and the system boots up in just thirteen seconds. That's a faster bootup than most top-end PCs.

And unlike the Xbox 360, the Xbox One comes with a Blu-ray drive installed.

Facial Recognition Technology A Concern For Some

As for Kinect, it also includes a camera that allows for motion-sensitive gameplay. Unlike the original Kinect, Kinect 2.0 is highly refined, meaning every single physical action can be tracked.

That also means the Xbox One's Kinect 2.0 can be used to recognize its users and immediately sign them in without having to be prompted.

For some, that will be convenient. However, it's already raising some concerns about privacy. For its part, Microsoft says that any information gathered using the Kinect hardware won't be shared with others.

"No one could look at the [data] and know they represent you," the firm said. (Source:

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