Xbox Family Expecting two new siblings!
I managed to catch up with the Microsoft Xbox E3 press conference yesterday evening and I must admit I was surprised to see that they started with the announcement of the Xbox One S - arriving in August! Then again they probably cottoned on to the notion that the news had been leaked weeks before, so it was just confirming the rumour off the bat.
Either way the Xbox One (S)lim offers more than just a crash diet in dimensions (40% smaller than the current Xbox One) as it packs in some subtle updates alongside a lower starting price point that could make it a tempting proposition for those looking to jump on the Xbox bandwagon.
Starting at £249 for the 500GB version, which is a giant leap from the consoles original £429 price tag. Of course the Kinect was the culprit for the higher price point originally but with the S model you won’t even find the Kinect port anymore, instead you can apply for a free adaptor if you decide to upgrade which will allow you to use the accessory.
In fact all Xbox One accessories will be compatible with the new console which means you won’t need to re-purchase any new controllers, Chatpad’s, headsets etc.
With the S model you will also find the newly designed controller which offers some useful upgrades. For example cosmetically a textured grip has been introduced to improve handling and the streamlined design is in white to match the console's exterior.
Microsoft also added a Bluetooth radio which will allow you to connect the controller to Windows 10 PCs and tablets.
You can even grab the new Xbox Wireless Controller separately starting in August for $59.99/49.99 pounds/59.99 euros.
Back to the design for a moment the slim white body of the S also incorporates the power supply; which will provide a lot more room for the console under your TV. Additionally it can be used upright as it can be placed on a stand to sit to the side of the TV instead.
The S model will also support 4K Ultra HD for Blu-ray movies and content streamed from partners like Netflix and Amazon Video.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for video and gaming is also in place which will allow developers to improve the visual quality of games. I believe Gears of War 4 (which was also showcased at E3) supports the new HDR option. Note: A co-op gameplay video of the latter can be seen at the base of the article.
Storage options are also expanded with the 500GB Xbox One S model being joined by a 1TB Xbox One S which will cost $349 USD / £299 GBP / €349 EUR and a limited launch edition 2TB Xbox One S will be available in select markets for $399 USD / £349 GBP / €399 EUR.
Some would say the new slimmer model follows on from previous Xbox consoles released from the manufacturer and this is great for those sitting on the fence as it offers a cheaper/smaller profile model to get into Xbox gaming.
However we all know Sony is releasing a more powerful version of the PS4 code-named Neo, but they decided to confirm the rumours before E3.
Possibly the reason being that Sony were keen to promote their PlayStation VR tech which comes out in October or it could be that they did not want their console overshadowed by rumours of another console from Microsoft that was going to be released and one that this time was more powerful....
Anyway the news was confirmed to be true at the end of the Microsoft press conference and it was called the Xbox Project Scorpio.
By the sounds of it Microsoft have made up for the mistakes they made with the launch of the original Xbox One, which let’s face it was under-powered from the get go and was constantly being slammed in the press that it could not achieve Full HD as often as the PS4.
This time around the Xbox One Scorpio will have the upper hand as the Scorpio is going to be more powerful than the PS4 Neo; so we can look forward to more talks of resolution and frame-rates -ed.
Joking aside the Scorpio, which will arrive next year (before Xmas we think) sounds on paper that it will kick ass! While we have not seen the design, we do know that the CPU is an up-to-date 8-Core variant and the GPU (which was the original Xbox One’s achilles heel) is capable of delivering 6 teraflops for 4K gaming and high fidelity virtual reality support (for Oculus rift).
Note: Digital Foundry (which has a useful article on the potential of the spec) also mentions that the memory offered is rumoured to be 12GB DDR5 memory.
Project Scorpio will also support all the accessories that you can get on the Xbox One and more importantly all the games you run on the Xbox One or S model will work on the Scorpio.
You can find out more info and all the cool games arriving on the Xbox One family over at Xbox Wire. The latter also discusses a few new Xbox Live features arriving including Cross Play support so Windows 10 PC’s can play against Xbox One players and vice versa (Gears of War 4 supports this – ed), plus some snippets of news about the Gears 4 Elite controller.
On the whole the Xbox Family is going to grow and I’m really looking forward to getting hold of the consoles (especially the Scorpio) to see what they can deliver!