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Microsoft Xbox One Games Console to Benefit from Superfast Broadband

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 (8:27 am) - Score 930
xbox one microsoft

Microsoft unveiled the successor to its hugely popular XBox 360 video game console last night, XBox One, but its extensive support for cloud-based internet services, 4K Ultra HD (Ultra High Definition) video, streaming TV / Movies and bigger games mean that you’re almost certain to benefit from a superfast broadband ISP connection.

Most gamers know that latency is king for multiplayer, specifically low latency, as this makes online play both smoother and more responsive. But as modern technology and content improves we’re now increasingly beginning to see that the next generation of media and entertainment services will also put more strain on your raw internet speed than ever before.

The recent reveal of Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) console was no exception and Microsoft’s Xbox One looks set to follow a similar path, which isn’t surprising since the 360 was well known for its strengths as a media centre and this has become increasingly important. Little wonder that Microsoft’s launch event focused so heavily on this.

So what does the XBox One bring to the table? In hardware terms, excluding the upgraded Kinect Camera that tracks your motion, acts as a video communication system and also helps you to navigate the user interface with hand motions, the new Xbox One is said to be very similar to Sony’s PS4 (though that DDR3 instead of GDDR as in the PS4 could be a bottleneck in some games for the GPU).

Rough XBox One Specifications

8 Core Custom CPU

GPU? (understood to be like the PS4.. probably the same chip)

8GB DDR3 System Memory

500GB HDD Storage

Blu-ray/DVD Drive

USB 3.0 Ports / HDMI / Ethernet LAN Port

802.11n WiFi (three different radios)

The new console, which “requires an internet connection” but apparently doesn’t need you to be constantly connected, is expected to hit stores sometime later this year (Q4-2013) and early pre-order prices suggest that it could retail for around £350 – £400 with games costing the usual £40 to £50 each.

It will also allow you to do clever things, such as to start playing games that you’ve brought online while they’re still being download (apparently the console can do this because it has three operating systems), voice control and the ability to run multiple apps at once (well ok that’s not so clever.. computers have been doing it for decades), but it won’t be backwards compatible with all your beloved titles from the 360 :(. On top of that when you pick up your controller, Xbox One recognises you and allows you to pick up the game where you left off.

Unfortunately we still don’t know precisely what kind of broadband connection you’ll need to get the most out of the XBox One, although support for 4K video suggests that a standard copper based ADSL2+ service is at best likely to strain (especially if you don’t get good speeds). All the new cloud features will also benefit from a faster upload speed, which really means that a modern superfast broadband connection is likely to become much more attractive.

Could this new generation of media centric video game consoles be the killer app for superfast broadband that BT, Virgin Media, Sky Broadband and other ISPs have been hoping for? Perhaps but by the time we all have one then 4K TV sets will probably be just as popular anyway.. well maybe.

On the flip side ISPs might once again have to start worrying about their network capacity as the extra strain could cause problems for some of their “unlimited” models. Finally, if you want to see what all the new games are going to look like then you’ll need to wait for E3 to open on 11th June 2013. Not long now.

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Mark Jackson

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.

Leave a Comment
14 Responses
  1. Phil

    And sooner or later, the isp’s will going to put traffic managed on it!

  2. telecom engineer

    Great. Sim city5 the console. What next? If my line drops or goes faulty for a couple of days my microwave stops working?. Was regretting my wiiu but so glad to have a games machine under my telly that doesnt hold me ransom to online drm and greedy publishers. Cancelling my gold subscription now. Hopefully Sony dont follow this path…..

  3. keith

    Oh dear. If the 80s styling ugly sharp cornered thing is not enough to rip the proverbial than things like….

    Support for 4K video… Good luck with that. I assume its going to be movies delivered over the net as bluray spec is not compatible with 4k resolutions so films wont be coming on disks. Id assume a 4K 2hr movie with rubbish bitrate will be around 4gig in size. and something half decent around 10-20gig as a minimum (anything less the bitrate will be so low the higher res will be pointless).

    Oh and regardless of connection speed to get those size files the fact the thing only has a 500gig HDD you wont be storing many 4K movies and games, GAMES WHICH APPARENTLY YOU HAVE TO FULLY INSTALL TO HDD. Yep that it could be upto 40gig per game as they are now going to be on bluray disks. Call it 10 Games on the thing and you are good as done no storing a movie or recording TV even if it has that feature.

    This… “Most gamers know that latency is king for multiplayer”. Followed up by “802.11n”. Ouch my sides.. How very 2007 of it LOL “Latency” important, obviously not that important.

    Windows 8 like interface… Ok ill let them off on that as only idiots that like form over function are likely to buy this thing anyway.

    Oh and erm what 360 has the author been using?? “the 360 was well known for its strengths as a media centre” I took mine back the day after i bought the thing 4 years or so ago because you could not even copy digital video files to its HDD only music. Oh and streaming to the thing it does not seem to like 5.1 sound. DTS you can entirely forget. The PS3 if anything for “Media centre” duties is the better device, atleast you can copy video files to thats HDD and easily upgrade the HDD. Though thats far from perfect with no native MKV support either.

    Seriously if you want a media centre like device forget about all this set top box crap and build yourself a 2-3 hundred quid PC, you will get more storage, a faster device, compatibility with more media formats, a choice of interface and about a zillion other benefits over any set top rubbish.

    Thankfully this generation of over priced junk designed to milk parents pockets to keep little billy quiet for 5 minutes will probably be the last.

  4. Mark

    “I took mine back the day after i bought the thing 4 years or so ago because you could not even copy digital video files to its HDD only music”

    That was why you took it back?. I could understand if it was because you kept getting the RROD or you did not like the exclusive games Microsoft had for the 360 but to take a GAMES CONSOLE back because you could not copy digital video files onto it seems a bit severe.

    I bought my 360 for one reason only and that was the games. Everything else Microsoft added in future updates was an added bonus. Some I used and some I didn’t.

    To trash Microsoft’s new console on the announced media plans is a tad harsh. Wait and see what games it has to offer and if it takes gaming to the next level before you judge them and if the system falls flat on its core function as a games machine.

    • keith

      “That was why you took it back?. I could understand if it was because you kept getting the RROD or you did not like the exclusive games Microsoft had for the 360 but to take a GAMES CONSOLE back because you could not copy digital video files onto it seems a bit severe.”

      Except 4 or so years ago they were not marketing it as only a GAMES CONSOLE, instead the fools with their hyped up nonsense (just like this new box) were saying it was an all singing media device, which could act AND I QUOTE THEM as a “Media Centre extender when used in conjunction with a windows based PC”.

      I should know it was around the same time windows 7 came out i bought the thing and its media extender functionality NEVER HAS worked properly with either Vista or Win 7 media centre.

      FACT is it cant because it wont play all the formats. Wont do 5.1 when streaming to it, wont do DTS. Wont do MKV without transcoding.

      Microsoft and Apple are the worst 2 in the industry for promising miracle features and thinking they are innovators in physical design when in actual fact its all either rehashed rubbish that never meets expectations, or stuff ripped off from something that already exists/existed.

      Xbox tools probably had the first machine, the 360 and will also buy this new Xbox one (got to play halo 20 or whatever its up to now). Just like cretins that queue up for iphones when they get released, then moan when they discover there was already a faster phone available on the market for less cash or one that has maps that work.

      Marketing spiel and false promises i stopped falling for years ago.

  5. telecom engineer

    With the always on kinect they should have called it the xbox 1984. The styling certainly fits tge year also. So shocked they went ahead with the drm and huge blow to retailers re second hand games. This will be the first gen i buy a playstation in gen.

    • keith

      Funniest thing ive read so far about its design was from someone on a forum who said due to its pointed corners and glossy finish it looks like an Ikea footstool.

    • Mark

      I could not care less about the likes of Game buying my 3 month old pristine copy of modern warfare 3 for £10 and then trying to sell it for £35 the next day.

      The customer has always been ripped off by the high street games stores putting massive mark ups on relatively new second hand titles.

    • keith

      From the sounds of it you wont be selling any xbox one game to any retailer to sell on as used as it appears games will be tied to some kind of account.

      Games have to be installed entirely to the systems HDD, so i doubt once you install it the game will install on any other system. If it did kids will just buy and swap them around with each other at school and the same copy of the game will end up installed on hundreds of machines. I suspect MS have designed things see that dont happen. IE game is tied to machine or account.

  6. Mark

    So Keith you bought a games console as a media player. Why did you not just buy a media player?

    Did you just get taken in by all the “marketing spiel” and not bother to Google any reviews or opinions before you parted with your cash?

    I saw oblivion being played just before the 360 launched in the uk and was blown away by how good it looked and bought one the following week. to this day it is one of the best games I have ever played and if the xbox one has a title like that released at launch I will be buying that as well.

    I could not care less if the so called media functions or kinnect 2 works well as long as the games are good.

    • keith

      “So Keith you bought a games console as a media player. Why did you not just buy a media player?”

      No cretin i bought a device marketed as being able to act as a Windows Media Centre Extender and it can not do it properly so it went back. Replaced it at the time with a PS3 for proper media functions, Bluray and games. A couple of years ago i gave that toy (cos thats all consoles are really) to a friends kid, wasnt a bad device but in 4 years things have moved on, the 360 was never really good at anything, noisy as hell also, though the slim ones are a lot better.

      “Did you just get taken in by all the “marketing spiel” and not bother to Google any reviews or opinions before you parted with your cash?”

      Reviews at the time did not mention anything about media file formats any machine was capable of, mainly because back then it was just all xbots blabbering on about games rather than analysing the machines features in depth like you still are 4 years on. Probably because in terms of head to head on what it can do feature wise against a PS3 it was very poor.

      As for you not caring what the media functions are like, MS love you they can promise the world, pack it full of crap that does not work properly and have you over the moon still just cos its got another new halo game. No doubt you are happy with Windows 8 also cos its got pretty icons.

  7. Mark

    You have to resort to trying to insult me but im a big boy and will take that one on the chin.

    You do come across as being rather condescending when you make comments like “A couple of years ago i gave that toy (cos thats all consoles are really) to a friends kid” I think millions of ADULTS would disagree with you about that as the video games industry is the largest entertainment industry in the world with the likes of pc gaming making up a small % of that.

    Anybody with half a brain would do a little research about a product they were about to buy. Its called making an informed decision you could have posted a question on one of the thousands of gaming websites and forums in regards to the limitations of what file formats and sound formats could be streamed to 360 via your home network. Im sure you could even have posted a question on the official 360 website forum and they would have happily told you what you wanted to know.

    I love tech and want what ever i buy to do the job well. Thats why I have a blue ray player for movies, sky plus hd for watching and recording tv, a 5.1 receiver and speakers for said movies and also a ps3 and xbox TO PLAY GAMES.

    Its a miracle that microsoft managed to add all those features to the all-ready limited hardware of the 360.

    For all the extra processing power the ps3 has it was not as successful as the 360 because as many a games developer has stated it was a nightmare to program for also psn was simply not as good as xbox live but you would expect that as psn is a free service.

    Also once the game has been installed to the xbox one you no longer need to have the disk in the tray to be able to play it. Microsoft have stated that they will not block the use of second hand games but they will charge a fee for linking the game to your profile.

    I would not be able to comment on the icons on windows 8 being “pretty” (LOL) as I have never used it. I have windows 7 and it functions perfectly well for what I use it for.

    People like you Keith expect the stars and the moon for a very small price. Its perfectly simple Keith, if you don’t like it then don’t buy it.

  8. telecom engineer

    At the very least the thing is a few gens ahead of itself with reliance on internet. I mostly purchase physical copies as I like to collect games and preserve them for future use maybe by future generations. Tethering a disc to hardware is absolute crazy for this with failures etc let alone when they shut down the authentication. I buy the game therfore it is mine. Put a cd key or usb key card whatever but do not start turning my physical media into a license.
    Latest pie in sky reasoning is that with the power of cloud computing they can triple the power of the machine.. yea right! If so why not just do an onlive service? Its beyond the connect cell chip nonsense sony spouted with ps2 ( connect ur sony phone with cell chip to improve system power).
    Online requirement is purely to control content and monetise every aspect of play. I find these publishers disgracefully entitled. Barret dont expect a cut of a house each subsequent time it is sold, ford dont demand a payment each time my mate drives my car and my dvds still play long after tge studio has shut.
    Its bad enough people cant play live during a fault, people or going to go apeshit when their singleplayer is also out.
    The tv aspect makes me laugh. The best tv experiance i have had is with the wii u. It doesnt take control of the telly aside from subbing as a basic remote but the fact the mrs can watch house while i play mario is way better than an overlayed ui with adverts and a creepy camera watching every time i scratch my balls or get gigitty with the mrs!

    • keith

      I tried to briefly mention about the the system using Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service to him but the post has been removed. Obviously trying to explain why features are useless, annoying or just do not work as they should is unacceptable. Probably best to just leave him to his Microsoft £400 toys. Though calling a games console a toy is also obviously “condescending” even though the biggest toy store on the planet IE Toysrus sell them.
      We also obviously only have half a brain to be slagging the thing off, though using that logic they must also only have half a brain to defend it considering they have not see it yet either.

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