Yesterday, Microsoft introduced its new game console/living room rectangle, the Xbox One, to the world. Here are 13 really cool facts that you may have missed in the excitement.
1. To test the new controller, Microsoft presses each button on it two million times.
That’s about seven years of typical use. Also, a yellow robot arm swings the controller side to side, like a gamer throwing a fit. That depends on how angry the gamer is.
2. The D-pad is better.
Gamers hated the weird circular d-pad on the 360 controller. The designers at Microsoft took away those weird webs between the four directions and gave the d-pad its own dedicated circuit board. That means more control. Microsoft prototyped over 200 new controller types.
3. There’s no lump on the back of the new controller.
The design and prototyping teams in Redmond made over 200 prototypes for the new controller, and the most noticeable change is the removal of the bulbous battery pack from the back of the controller.
4. It also has rumbling in the triggers.
A subtle difference, maybe. But you’ll notice it. This technology was considered for the Xbox 360 but dropped. And it still has the traditional rumbling in the hand grips, so don’t you worry, rumbling fans.
5. Some of the the games will need Microsoft’s servers to run.
The 300,000 servers Microsoft will be dedicating to Xbox Live are necessary to handle all of the streaming data that will be generated by the new consoles, but it will also be a place for game designers to offload processing duties. This will free up the processor in the Xbox One to handle more tasks on its own. This one is potentially a mixed bag, though.
6. The case was designed not to clash with TV shapes.
The two main panels on the top of the console are both 16:9 rectangles, the international standard for HDTV.
7. The new Kinect is actually dumber than the first one.
Rather than handle complex processing in the Kinect itself, the new Kinect routes those computations to the console. It acts, according to John Link, a senior program manager at Microsoft, like “a traffic cop”.
8. Also, it can see more: 6 people instead of 2.
9. The Kinect can now see you in the dark.
It does this with infrared detection.
10. And it can now detect your heart rate.
It does this by combining infrared and normal camera readings of blood flow in your face.
11. And it can tell who is holding which controller.
Like, who specifically, by profile.
12. And if you’re happy or sad.
13. Skype calls received over the Xbox One will be displayed in 1080p.
So, if your internet connection can bear it, it should be a pretty big jump up from typical webcam Skype or Facetime.