In Depth

Microsoft's Xbox One isn't pretty but it's powerful

Gaming console may 'change entertainment' by letting users flip bewteen games, live TV, films and music

MICROSOFT has fired the latest salvo in the games console wars, launching its hotly anticipated Xbox One to mixed reviews.

The latest version of the Xbox – which has reportedly sold more than 77 million units – is a voice- and motion-controlled device that integrates games, live TV, films and music. Its launch, at Microsoft's US headquarters in Redmond, Washington, follows the unveiling of new gaming machines from key rivals Nintendo and Sony.

The Xbox One is a "sleek black console" powered by an eight-core processor and 8GB of memory. It is fitted with a new Kinect camera sensor and game pad which allow it to "better analyse body movements", and it can even read a user's heartbeat when exercising, says the London Evening Standard.

Microsoft has also added add a Blu-ray drive and Skype functionality to the console and says 15 "exclusive" games, including eight new franchises, will be available within the first year of its release. The Xbox One can "switch instantaneously" between games, films, television and the web, rent films, or play and record live television using an interactive TV guide.

The BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones says Microsoft risks alienating hardcore gamers by trying to please the broadest group of consumers with an "all-in-one entertainment system for your living room".

He went on: "If my Twitter stream is anything to go by, many [gamers] were not impressed. My guess is that the Xbox reveal will be universally slated."

Alex Simmons, UK editor-in-chief of games website IGN, agrees, telling the Standard that Microsoft's plans for an all-in-one entertainment system were "ambitious". Xbox One will face stiff competition from "new, cheaper games available on tablets and smartphones", he said.

GQ.com said the Xbox One's "hulking box" was "not pretty, but powerful". The ability to "instantly flick" between playing a game such as Call Of Duty, watching TV, listening to music, or browsing the internet and apps, "might just change the entertainment industry".

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