The Xbox One is now in stores, the final entrant in the latest round of the battle of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo video game consoles.
Microsoft has endured a roller coaster of hype, hate and speculation -- its much-maligned E3 debut of the Xbox One gave way to some favorable reviews for the console’s capabilities and promise.
[Updated 10:32 a.m. PST, Nov. 22: The Xbox One debuted overnight to the typical fanfare associated with a next-gen debut: The likes of Deadmau5 and Macklemore showed up for glitzy launch events in Los Angeles and New York while fans across the country lined up at retailers awaiting their midnight purchases.
But without any sales data, it’s unknown whether Microsoft was be able to top the launch of the PS4, which sold 1 million copies during its first day in stores.]
Here’s a breakdown of some things you should know about Microsoft’s latest console offering before rushing off with the launch-day crowds:
$499: The launch price of the Xbox One, $100 more than the PS4. Microsoft’s consumer pitch has largely been focused on the Xbox One’s non-gaming applications -- the revamped Kinect motion-tracking, integration with cable providers and more — with the hope of justifying the price difference.
77.2 million: The lifetime sales of the Xbox 360 as of April, when Microsoft last released sales data. It’s Microsoft’s hope that even amid the glitz and glamour of the Xbox One’s debut, 25 million additional 360s will be sold over the next five years.
One week: In another reversal between the two rivals, the Xbox One launches a week after the PS4. In the grand scheme of things, this makes little difference; the PS4’s successful opening week will likely be echoed in the Xbox One launch.
2.0: If all goes according to Microsoft’s plan, the Kinect 2.0 will be one of the Xbox One’s success stories. The second Kinect is an upgraded version of the motion-tracking device that debuted halfway through the 360’s life span, selling more than 24 million units since its 2010 release.
But the Kinect never lived up to its promise of seamless motion and voice control, having been downgraded during its development, and never receiving significant support from developers for titles not geared toward fitness or music.
With the next version, which boasts more capable tech, Microsoft is aiming to make motion and audio control of the Xbox One all but ubiquitous. It can read users’ muscles and heart rate, and can handle a significantly large repertoire of voice commands. But reviews have already noted the device remains far from perfect.
0: The number of built-in restrictions on retail titles. Microsoft kicked up an incredible amount of outrage during this year’s E3 conference for announcing that the system would require the Xbox to have been connected to the Internet within the past 24 hours for games to be played, and that disc-based games could only be given to people on your Xbox friends list for 30 days. Fans howled in protest, Sony mocked the policies and eventually Microsoft walked back all of its requirements.
But the Xbox One remains incompatible with previous Xbox, Xbox 360 disc-based and downloaded games. The PS4 launches with similarly nonexistent backwards capability, but Sony has mentioned it may provide a service to stream PS3 titles in the future.
8 GB, 1.75 GHz: The technical details of the Xbox One and PS4 have been pored over endlessly, with every nook and cranny of their graphical capabilities scrutinized. At the onset, the PS4 and Xbox have some similar hardware, though the PS4’s potential appears to be slightly beyond the Xbox’s due to a more potent graphics processor.
But beyond the back-and-forth over which console can play “Call of Duty’ at 1080p, the Xbox One’s system RAM and CPU are a sizable leap above the 360’s, a leap that will be more recognizable as both the Xbox One and PS4 shake off remnant games from the previous generation.
22: The size of the Xbox One’s launch library, which shares plenty of multiplatform titles with the PS4 -- “Call of Duty,” “Assassin’s Creed,” as well as EA’s ubiquitous sports lineup. The difference, as always, rests with the exclusive titles, and Microsoft has earned decent praise from reviewers for Forza 5, Dead Rising 3 and Killer Instinct – though the console isn’t without its launch day junk, such as Crimson Dragon or LocoCycle.
Expect that launch lineup to be swiftly deemphasized, though, as Microsoft and Electronic Arts ramp up promotion for the March release of Xbox and PC-exclusive “Titanfall”, which is aimed squarely at dethroning “Call of Duty” and pushing the Xbox One past the PS4 in the first leg of the new console generation.