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It’s ‘game on’ for video gaming’s two giants
Video games » Microsoft and Sony prepare to launch their new next-generation consoles.


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Specifications » The console also will run on an AMD core processor and graphics processor very similar in speed and power to the PS4’s. It, too, will have 8 gigabytes of system memory, though slightly slower RAM than the PlayStation’s. It also will have a 500-gigabyte harddrive to store games, Wi-Fi connectivity, USB ports and support 4K resolution. It will not support Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

Controllers » The new Xbox One controller will be similar in look and feel to the older Xbox 360 controller. But this new version will now have trigger buttons with built-in force feedback so that you will feel resistance while pulling them for additional realism.

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The big change here, however, is in the new Kinect 2 motion controller and camera. The Kinect 2 is a bar that will sit in front of the television that reads your body movement. It also has a microphone to listen to voice commands.

While the first Kinect camera for the Xbox 360 adequately did the job of tracking movement, think of the new controller as the original Kinect on steroids. It now sports a much higher-resolution camera for more detailed tracking, and it’s much more accurate, even capable of reading your heartbeat. It also can listen to your voice constantly, including when it’s in sleep mode so you can turn the console on with a vocal command.

Services and features » The Xbox One will be capable of multitasking, such as playing a game and pausing it to go to a television show. Or you can watch a show and then call up the Internet on one side of the screen. You also can hook up the console to your cable or satellite box and completely operate your TV viewing via voice command. Since Microsoft now owns Skype, you will also be able to conduct video conversations with others through the console.

It also will allow gamers to record their play sessions and upload the video to a network for others to watch. And there will be integration with Microsoft’s Smart Glass technology, which allows gamers to use a tablet or smartphone’s screen for additional game play features.

Microsoft will continue to use its robust Xbox Live network for multiplayer gaming and for purchasing digital games. It also will require a paid membership for online gaming.

The new console will not be able to play older Xbox 360 games.

Pros » Microsoft’s plan is to make the Xbox One an all-in-one entertainment machine for the living room, so it will have much more functionality than just gaming, emphasizing television and movie watching and voice commands to navigate through the interface.

When it comes to multiplayer gaming, Microsoft may have the edge over Sony because more players tend to play online games such as "Call of Duty" on Xbox machines. That means they may move over to Microsoft’s console more readily, and multiplayer gaming is only as good as which console your friends are using.


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Cons » Reports are the Xbox One will be slightly less powerful than the PS4 despite their similar architectures. Proof is that the new "Call of Duty: Ghosts" for both consoles will run at a full 1,080 lines of horizontal resolution on the PS4 while it will run at 720 lines on the Xbox One and then upscaled to a faux 1,080 lines. It’s a tiny difference, but Xbox fans are already noticing and complaining.

While the Kinect 2 will be good for navigating through the system either using your voice or hand gestures, it has yet to prove itself as a valuable gaming tool. We’ll see if that changes with the new camera.

Major exclusive games at launch » "Dead Rising 3" (horror), "Ryse: Son of Rome" (third-person action), "Forza Motorsport 5" (racing), "Killer Instinct" (fighting).

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech



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