Xbox One Coming This Year

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The wait is finally over. Microsoft has announced the successor to the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, this morning at a live briefing in Redmond, Washington. The new system will act as a home media solution, with both HDMI in and out ports, 8GB of RAM, WiFi capabilities, a Blu-Ray drive (which is apparently super quiet), Kinect functionality built in, and 64-bit architecture.

All that’s missing is a cotton candy machine. And backwards compatibility. Gamespot reports via The Verge that since the new system boasts x64 processor, and not the PowerPC processor that the 360 used, any Xbox Live Arcade games and disc-based titles will not function on the new system.

Personally, I’m not too heartbroken over the lack of backwards compatibility in the Xbox One. Now, the Xbox 360 will retain some of its value, and we won’t see piles of systems clogging the shelves of our local used game stores. Keeping the two platforms separate and focusing on the future also gives Microsoft the chance to completely rework the Live Marketplace and organize things more intelligently. The marketplace is currently a nightmare to navigate, and going into a new system launch with 1000’s of items already available would make browsing it a total debacle.

Besides, look at the issues we had with the 360 due to backwards compatibility with the original Xbox, friend list caps being chief among them. Starting fresh might be just what the doctor ordered. Never fear, though: all of your achievements will carry over with your Gamertag to the new Xbox Live. At least your legacy of online domination will remain intact.

It’s insensitive to folks who want to retain their libraries all in one place, but I think ushering in the new and focusing on the future is the best thing Microsoft can do right now to refocus the brand in the new direction they’ve envisioned. Whether that’s the correct direction for their business remains to be seen, but you have to go big or go home, and the robust specs of this hardware clearly lean towards big.

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