New Details abound at Microsoft's E3 press conference today about the Xbox One Console.
The big news announced was that we now have a launch month and price point. The Xbox One will launch in 21 territories in November 2013, at a price point of $499 in the US. The slide presented at the press conference suggested that viewers reserve their 'Day One' edition Xbox One now. That could include new perks, or it just could be a standard bundle. We'll update more on that front as we hear it.
Microsoft also announced a newer, slimmer, and smaller Xbox 360. It is officially available today, although no mention of price was made. No word yet whether this is the rumored $99 360, although since no price was mentioned, don't expect that to be the price point. (UPDATE: It has been announced in 3 SKUs: $200 for the 4GB edition, $300 for 250GB, and $300 for 4GB plus a Kinect sensor).
Xbox Smartglass was featured during portions of the press conference for a selection of the games demoed today, including Project Spark, Dead Rising 3, and Ryse: Son of Rome. These applications of the tablet and phone feature showed abilities such as sculpting the terrain of a level (in Project Spark), viewing your progress in a level (Ryse), and ordering an artillery strike (Dead Rising 3). These portions of the press conference seemed to underwhelm the crowd, but the feature could still be interesting for the Xbox One in the future.
Also demoed today was the ability to work with gaming videos, clips, and streaming on the console. During a sample match of Killer Instinct, the executive producer for Killer Instinct demonstrated the ability to use the game DVR features of the Xbox One to cut together a clip of the match, add commentary, or add some flourish to clips with Upload Studio. These clips can then be shared with friends to show off your favorite moments in game.
Another feature shown during the Killer Instinct demo was the ability to immediately start streaming on Twitch by simply saying "Xbox Broadcast." Twitch then appears as a multitask app on the side of the screen where chat can be viewed by the player from the Twitch channel.
Other quick hits announced today for the Xbox One:
- The 100 friend list limit for Xbox Live has been removed, which was a big source of frustration for many.
- The proprietary Xbox currency Microsoft Points have been removed, in favor of the local currency of the player
- If you happen to have Xbox Live Gold, that gold account can be shared across your home console, enabling other players on the console to play online without their own Gold account.
- Speaking of Xbox Live Gold, announced today was the perk of Gold to receive 2 free games per month. For the first month of this program, players will receive Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed 2 for free. No word yet if this will function much like Playstation Plus's Instant Games Library, where users accumulate all the free games as long as they're still subscribers.
That $500 price might be really hard to swallow for many potential Xbox One owners. We'll see how Sony reacts later today.