With the Xbox media briefing the 2013 E3 conference is in full swing. This morning we saw Microsoft reveal its launch lineup for the Xbox One, new features coming to Xbox Live, and more. Full recap after the break.
Xbox 360 isn’t dead yet
While 95% of the Xbox media briefing was focused on the future, there was a small portion at the beginning dedicated to the Xbox that is currently in your living room – the Xbox 360. In fact, Microsoft surprised everyone by announcing a new, smaller version of the Xbox 360 that is available starting today. This slimmer Xbox 360 features a hardware design that’s similar to the Xbox One with duo-tone liquid black. Microsoft is still committed to supporting the console and expects hundreds of new games over the new few years. Pricing is the exact same too, with $199 being the price for the 4GB version and $299 for the 250GB edition or 4GB Kinect bundle. Anybody picking up this new Xbox 360?
Xbox Live gets even better and has new perks for Gold members
Microsoft is going to make your Xbox Live Gold subscription even better. Like the Sony PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live Gold members can look forward to two free games a month. The first in that lineup are Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3. You can also look forward to a game that is coming to consoles for the first time – World of Tanks. This fun game comes from the PC world and is an online multiplayer game that pits players against one another in tanks.
Microsoft is also making some drastic (and needed) changes to Xbox Live as a whole. Some of the big changes include:
- Payment support for local currency (no more Microsoft points)
- Unlimited friends list
- Twitch.TV streaming
- Upload studio
- Improved SmartGlass experience
- Xbox Live Gold sharing
Microsoft is dropping their loathed Points system on Xbox Live. You can now purchase games with your regions local currency – Dollars or Euros, it won’t matter. Your limit of 100 friends on Xbox Live has been dropped in order to allow you as many friends as you want. No word on any sort of management system, but we’ll find out this week if you can group friends and set different privacy settings.
A new feature of the Xbox One and Xbox Live is Upload Studio. It’s a feature that allows your Xbox One to automatically save the last few moments of gameplay and allow you to edit it for sharing on various social networks. Speaking of social networks, Twitch.TV is working with Microsoft and allowing games to be streamed to the popular gaming service. It should help fans and players in the professional gaming scene to easily interact.
A move that will make Xbox Live Gold even more appealing is the ability to share. Up to 10 family members can get the perks of one Xbox Live Gold member. For example you could have Xbox Live Gold and your sister with a Silver account could still access Netflix and HBO GO.
Games, games, and some more games
Microsoft stressed that E3 would be about games and they weren’t kidding. We’ve got a full lineup of exclusive titles coming to the Xbox One at launch and in the year ahead. Here’s a big list of games that we’re announced this morning and coming to an Xbox One near you. It’s a mix of games coming right at launch and others that won’t be available until 2014 – like Halo 5. A few aren’t necessarily exclusive to the Xbox One, but will have exclusive content coming first to the Xbox ecosystem - like the Second Assault DLC in Battlefield 4.
- Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain
- Ryse: Son of Rome
- Forza 5
- Kinect Sports Rivals
- Project Spark
- Killer Instinct
- Sunset Overdrive
- Crimson Dragon
- Battlefield 4
- Dead Rising 3
- Halo 5
We’ll be doing a full story on the launch titles later today and get hands on with them over the next few days at E3. Sound off below on which games you’re most looking forward to playing. And maybe the games you really want us to get a hands on.
The future of Xbox
The Xbox One will launch this November in 21 countries. It is priced at $499 in the United States, but don't forget that includes the Xbox One console and a Kinect sensor. Something that clearly adds to the price of $499 at launch vs. the $399 for the Xbox 360 in 2005. You can reserve your special "Edition One" version of the Xbox One today.
While most gaming journalist, hardcore and casual gamers have been waiting for the end of E3 to make the final call on the Xbox One I’m not so sure. We have a better picture of Microsoft vision for the future of your living room and gaming. But I don’t think we have the full picture, that’s something that should become even clearer after Build in two weeks. That’s where smaller, independent developers can learn about their future making games and experiences for three screens and a cloud.
What they learn at Build will impact gamers as we start the next generation console wars.
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