Xbox One visits Atlanta before launch

Ryse: Son of Rome, a fighting game, puts players in the sandals of a gladiator in a Roman arena. The graphics were spectacular, though you can't tell it due to my poor photography skills. A co-op mode and online play are promised. (Photo by me)

Ryse: Son of Rome, a fighting game, puts players in the sandals of a gladiator in a Roman arena. The graphics were spectacular, though you can't tell it due to my poor photography skills. A co-op mode and online play are promised. (Photo by me)

[Photos of the Xbox One Tour event in Atlanta]

Last November, it was a battle of political heavyweights. Next month, capitalist titans Microsoft and Sony will be going toe-to-toe as they release new, highly-anticipated video game consoles.

Unlike politics and most video games, there’s expected to be two winners in the console wars.

First out of the gate will be Sony’s PlayStation 4 ($400) on Nov. 15. About 725,000 U.S. customers have already signed up for a PS4.

On Nov. 22, Microsoft’s competing Xbox One ($500) will hit store shelves. More than 525,000 units have been pre-ordered, according to Forbes.

Due to demand, it may be difficult to find either console in November.

Friday, Microsoft was in Atlanta pimping the successor to the Xbox 360, released way back in 2005. The Xbox One Tour is only visiting six U.S. cities prior to the Nov. 22 release. The event at 200 Peachtree runs through Sunday, and is open to the public, but attendees must be 18 or older.

About nine games were being demonstrated, and I played ‘Dead Rising 3′, ‘Ryse: Son of Rome,’ ‘Forza Motorsport 5,’ ‘Battlefield 4,’ ‘Kinect Sports: Rivals’ and ‘Killer Instinct.’

All of the games looked great, particularly the gladiator themed fighting game ‘Ryse: Son of Rome,’ which seemed to take the most advantage of the Xbox One’s improved hardware. ‘Forza,’ which routinely has the best looking racing game on any platform, looked stunning too.

Despite recent rumors on the Internet that the Xbox One is limited to 900p (1600 x 900) resolution, I was told all games that supported it were outputting at 1080p (1920 x 1080) during demonstrations, but that may be upscaled resolutions.

‘Dead Rising 3′ has a much more “zoomed in” third person perspective that allows greater visual detail, but I noticed a bit of lag when I ran across the demo map and the game spawned in what looked like hundreds of zombies. The camera seemed to get lost when in corridors or other tight quarters.

‘Battlefield 4′ features a subdued color palette, like most war games, but distance detail seemed improved over similar 360 titles. Sound effects seemed a bit tinny. The controls were very familiar, but I died repeatedly, which was also familiar. This game will obviously be huge online and is the second highest pre-ordered game on both new systems. ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ is the No. 1 launch title on both systems but was not being demonstrated in Atlanta.

The new Kinect motion sensing controller seemed to work pretty much like the 360 version, but I am told it is able to capture much subtler movements. I raced a personal watercraft in ‘Kinect Sports: Rivals’ and it was a workout. It takes time to adjust to the Kinect, but I feel even with the improved sensitivity it is best left for party games.

The Xbox One demonstrator said Kinect is now able to recognize faces and will be able to provide customized menus for individual players. Exercise games are planned soon after launch and Kinect can now detect a player’s pulse rate.

Unlike previous incarnations of the Xbox, the One is designed with “home entertainment” (aka streaming media) as a priority.

Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb (gamertag “Major Nelson”) was in Atlanta Friday and explained some of the Xbox One’s unique features. Unlike other consoles, the Xbox One has an HDMI input as well as output. This means cable or satellite boxes can be passed through the X1. Nelson said this would allow Xbox Live messages to appear on screen while players are watching television.

“Players can use a voice command and switch over to quickly join a friend in a game,” said Hryb.

Other consoles, such as the Xbox 360 or even a PlayStation, can also use the HDMI input, which allows the two consoles to use only one HDMI input on the TV, said Hryb.

Perhaps the coolest feature is a “second screen” experience. Microsoft is providing a free app that can be used with Android, Apple and Windows phones and tablets. The phone or tablet can then be used by video games. As an example, Hryb said Dead Rising 3 has a segment where the on-screen protagonist uses his phone to call the player.

“How meta is that!?” said Hyrb.

Madden NFL 25 and the free app, called ‘SmartGlass,’ will allow players to use their touchscreen device to select football plays, said Hyrb.

“Now the person you’re playing can’t see your play selection screen,” said Hyrb.

Voice chat sound quality is also vastly improved, said Hyrb. Microsoft owns Skype and is using their codec on the Xbox One.

Here’s a few tech specs of the Xbox One:

  • Blu-Ray/DVD
  • Game DVR (allows social uploading/sharing of gameplay)
  • 8GB DDR3 memory + 32MB eSRAM embedded memory
  • 8 Core AMD custom CPU
  • 500 GB Hard Drive
  • SmartGlass App on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8 Unlimited Cloud Storage
  • Every Xbox One includes Kinect 2 Voice Command

11 comments Add your comment

CasinoSteve

October 25th, 2013
3:59 pm

Microsoft needs to get with the times and listen to what consumers want. Xbox Box One will follow down the path of the PS3, where the high price point outweighs the gaming experience.

DawgWillHunt

October 25th, 2013
4:29 pm

@CasinoSteve

Agreed. The difference between $400 and $500 might not seem like a lot, but it makes a HUGE difference when you’re getting ready to shell out that many greenbacks. I went with a 360 based on price point alone back in 2006. My plan now is to wait, check out the reviews, check out the pros/cons, see what the bugs are in each system, then take the plunge based on the most informed decision I can make.

Bernie31

October 25th, 2013
4:50 pm

Here is hoping ALL of the Back doors have been closed too!

Billy

October 25th, 2013
5:37 pm

Price point is fine. The eyetoy with the ps4 would cost the same. Plus the kinect compliments the controller and ties in everything your tv/stereo etc. PS4 barely has any games for launch and horrible online service. People are crying over $500 when many of you have a smart phone that cost as much if not more and has functions that you probably don’t even bother with, so stop crying.

RunShoot

October 25th, 2013
6:16 pm

@Billy..right on point..funny how people don’t know that price trick being used by Sony.

UNLTD76

October 25th, 2013
7:20 pm

@Billy spot dead on it!!!!!

Carlos

October 26th, 2013
3:21 am

Funny how people are saying the Xbox One will end up like the Ps3 when a lot of people already pre ordered it.

Greg

October 26th, 2013
11:48 am

A lot of people preordered Xbox One but a lot more than that preordered PS4

Iluvnutella

October 26th, 2013
12:06 pm

Online gaming with a good mnitor and an Alienware comp puts both consoles d***ks in the dirt!

Steve

October 26th, 2013
1:30 pm

Despite a two year launch headstart and much easier to program architecture, the last time I checked the XBOX 360 was around a million units in sales ahead of the PS3(almost 80 million each).

I am not sure why ‘go the way of the PS3′ is being used in a bad connotation. If Sony had not waited around to work out all the kinks and rolled a system with more holes like the 360 they would have easily outpaced the Microsoft box.

As to the pricepoint .. here is the gist. The Kinect and Move are silly gimmicks for ‘party games’ like metioned in the article. Sony gives you the option of not buying this gimmick and saving a whole bunch of money. Sure, if you are set on having that bit of technology then it works out abotu even, but I, and many others, could certainly care less about it.

Da60CiD

October 27th, 2013
3:49 am

I hate wen PC gamers always have to put their 2 cents in with every CONSOLE discussion. Who give damn you Fu*king Nerds! Jus abou everyone one a PC nowadays, If PCs were really that much better no one would by Consoles! and Secondly Ps4 fanboys are so butthurt because the xbox one has more features, News Flash Most Gamers also like movies why have the best of both worlds? Damn….. You nerds can be such Fags