Microsoft Unveils the Xbox One

Xbox One is shown during a press event unveiling by Microsoft in Redmond

After four years of development and dozens of rumors about the new gaming console , Microsoft Corp. has unveiled the Xbox One entertainment console, touting it as an all-in-one solution for playing games, watching TV and doing everything in between. Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be central to your living room and packed the new Xbox with such features as the ability to change TV channels through voice commands.

At an hour-long presentation at the company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters on Tuesday, Microsoft executives used voice controls to seamlessly switch back and forth between watching live TV, listening to music, playing a movie and browsing the Internet — all while running apps for fantasy football and chats. It showed how users could watch live sports on TV while getting updates on their fantasy leagues on a split screen.

Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft said, “Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device.”

Xbox One is the third entry in the latest round of the “console wars.” It follows Nintendo Co.’s launch of the Wii U in November and Sony Corp.’s tease in February for the upcoming PlayStation 4. Each of the next-generation consoles have shifted away from simply serving as gaming machines, as they incorporate streaming media apps and social networking features.

Among the games previewed for Xbox One were the military shooter Call of Duty: Ghosts from Activision Blizzard Inc., the soccer extravaganza FIFA 14 from Electronic Arts Inc. and the racing simulator Forza Motorsport 5 and time bender Quantum Break, both from Microsoft Game Studios. Microsoft said more games will be shown at next month’s E3 video game conference in Los Angeles.

The company said there will be more than 15 games available exclusively on the Xbox One in the first year after it launches, eight of them new franchises.

In addition to the amazing lineup of games coming to Xbox One, Microsoft unveiled exclusive content partnerships with some of the top names in TV, sports and entertainment. They included:

“Halo” television series based on its Halo video game franchise, which will be produced by Steven Spielberg.

National Football League (NFL) – A multiyear, landmark partnership will deliver the ultimate interactive NFL television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One and leverage Microsoft devices and services to evolve both in-game and on the sideline. The NFL on Xbox will redefine broadcast experiences through innovations around Skype, Xbox SmartGlass and player-worn technology; add an all-new fantasy football solution for the biggest screen in the house; and create a personalized NFL destination only available on Xbox One.

Microsoft didn’t directly address whether Xbox One will be able to play used games bought from other players or games designed for the existing Xbox 360 system. It also didn’t say whether it requires a constant connection to the internet.

Xbox One will launch in markets around the world later this year. Visit the new Xbox Wire blog at http://news.xbox.com for in-depth features on the new system, including photos and videos from the unveiling event and new and rotating content from Xbox.

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