The Xbox One is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. Announced in May 2013, it is the successor to the Xbox 360 and the third console in the Xbox family, and was released in North America, Europe (in some countries), Australia, and Brazil in November 2013, and in Japan, China, and for other Europe countries in September 2014. It competes with Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Nintendo’s Wii U as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles. It is the first Xbox game console to be released in China, specifically in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone. Microsoft marketed the device as an “all-in-one entertainment system”, which competed against other digital media players, such as the Apple TV and Google TV platforms.
Moving away from its predecessor’s PowerPC-based architecture, the Xbox One marks a shift back to the x86 architecture used in the original Xbox; it features an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) built around the x86-64 instruction set. The console places an increased emphasis on cloud computing and the integration of entertainment applications and services, offering the ability to overlay live television programming from an existing set-top box or a digital tuner for digital terrestrial television with an enhanced program guide, split-screen multitasking of applications, and improved second-screen support. The console optionally includes a redesigned Kinect sensor, marketed as the “Kinect 2.0”, providing improved motion tracking and voice recognition for use in its graphical user interface (GUI) and games. The Xbox One offers the ability for users to record and share “clips” from gameplay or live-stream directly to Twitch, Ustream, and other streaming platforms. The console’s controller was redesigned over the Xbox 360’s, with a redesigned body, D-pad and triggers capable of delivering directional haptic feedback.
Prior to its official release, the Xbox One received mixed reviews; the entertainment-oriented features were praised, but controversy surrounded several policy changes since the Xbox 360’s release, including a proposed always-on digital rights management (DRM) system, and concerns over a mandate that the Kinect sensor be used at all times. Microsoft retracted these changes prior to the launch, and it received mostly positive reception for its refined controller design, multimedia features, and voice navigation. Xbox One’s original user interface was panned for being nonintuitive, although changes made to it and other aspects of the console’s software post-launch received positive reception.
A redesigned model known as Xbox One S was released in August 2016; it has a streamlined design, and minor hardware upgrades which add support for 4K video playback and upscaling, and HDR10 high-dynamic-range color. A future hardware revision codenamed “Project Scorpio” is scheduled for late-2017; it will feature major hardware upgrades focused on enabling 4K gameplay and support for virtual reality hardware, and will be backwards compatible with all existing Xbox One software and hardware.