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Microsoft thinks it has the one.
The company revealed the Xbox One, its next-generation entertainment console, during a presentation Tuesday at its headquarters in Redmond.
Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s president of interactive entertainment business, called it an “all-in-one home entertainment system.” He said the company has spent the past four years working on the next-generation Xbox.
The console was demonstrated using voice control to switch back and forth between watching live TV, listening to music and browsing the Internet, as well as simultaneously running apps.
Senior vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, Yusuf Mehdi, turned on the system by requesting “Xbox On.” He then used a feature that eliminates inputs and allows the user to switch between mediums: “Game,” “Watch TV,” “Go to Internet Explorer,” “Watch movie,” “Listen to music.” And with that, Xbox switched back and forth.
Xbox One can be used as a replacement for the set-top box from your cable provider.
“This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV,” said Mehdi.
If you get interrupted, Xbox One will remember what you were last doing and call up your movie, website, song list, etc. you were immersed in.
It also has a snap mode so that programs can run simultaneously, allowing you to make a seamless transition. You can watch a movie while searching for trailers or buy movie tickets.
Mehdi also showed off the Skype feature on Xbox One.
The company is seeking to stay ahead of rivals in announcing that new content that can be downloaded for the popular “Call of Duty” game will launch first on Xbox One.
It’s been eight years since the launch of the Xbox 360. The original Xbox debuted in 2001, and its high-definition successor premiered in 2005.
For the past two years, Microsoft has led the gaming industry in console sales with the Xbox 360. But Microsoft knows what’s at stake. More and more people are turning to mobile devices for their game playing, and consoles that don’t offer more are struggling.
GeekWire’s Todd Bishop said this is a critical launch for Microsoft. “I would say it’s almost on the level of the Windows 8 launch, even though that might be against popular opinion,” he said. “This is so important for Microsoft to come out of the gate strong and to prove that it can stay relevant in the world of consumer entertainment.”
The Xbox is really the only Microsoft hardware product that has ever been successful, and it has been very successful. So much so, it hasn’t had a significant update since 2005 when the 360 was launched, though it did get a bump when it introduced the Kinect.
“This is in the context of a very tepid launch for Windows 8,” said Bishop. “The Windows phone is still in single-digits. A lot of the rest of Microsoft’s business right now, in the consumer end, is struggling. It is key for the company to see a success with the next generation of the Xbox.”
Microsoft says more games will be shown at next month’s E3 video game conference in Los Angeles.
The company says the Xbox One, its next-generation entertainment console, will go on sale later this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.