The doors are about to open here in Redmond for the much-anticipated unveiling of Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox. I’m here along with hundreds of others for the day. Follow along here as the news unfolds, and stay tuned for updates throughout the day.
Update, 9:55 a.m. Here’s the scene inside. We’re about five minutes from the start.
9:57 a.m.: Microsoft Interactive Entertainment chief Don Mattrick takes the stage, and gets the press ready for the live broadcast, saying Microsoft will be unveiling something today that it has been working on for four years.
10 a.m.: Video montage opens the event. “For the first time, you and your TV are going to have a relationship.” Microsoft employees and celebs including JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg are featured.
Mattrick takes the stage again. Gives a rundown of the company’s history with the Xbox 360. “The living room has changed radically over the last eight years. … To continue to lead we must provide compelling answers to new questions.” Says the company needs to “harmonize” a complicated experience in the living room.
He says, “Team Xbox is on a new mission. Design and build an all in one system to light up a new generation of games, TV and entertainment.” Says company is unveiling the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system.
“Ladies and gentleman, introducing Xbox One,” he says. The name isn’t a version number, but rather an indication of Microsoft’s vision for this console to be a unified all-in-one experience.
Update, 10:10 a.m. Microsoft exec Yusuf Mehdi is now on stage, demonstrating features including the ability to watch live TV through the console. Feature called “instant switching” uses voice commands to switch quickly among television, games, the web, movies. Here’s a look at the new dashboard.
“Snap view” puts content into a sidebar on the screen. Examples include the ability to see web or app content next to live sports content, such as standings or highlights.
10:13 a.m.: The company confirms that it will be integrating Skype into the new Xbox One. Mehdi is using voice commands to demonstrate the features — no demos yet involving the new controller.
“This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV.”
10:20 a.m.: Marc Whitten of Microsoft’s Xbox Live team is running through the specs, saying the Xbox One will have “three operating systems in one.” The first is the Xbox OS, the second is the Windows kernel, and the third connects them to create instant switching, multitasking and effortless control.
New upgraded Kinect sensor will be paired with every Xbox One. When you’re exercising, it can read your heartbeat. Controller upgraded with 40 design improvements, while maintaining much of Xbox 360 design.
When you pick up the controller, Kinect recognizes you and your controller. Lag free, instant experience.
10:25 a.m.: New version of Xbox Live will be available with the new console. Microsoft will have more than 300,000 servers powering Xbox Live on Xbox One. Content stored in cloud to access movies, games, saves. (This is apparently where that “always on” controversy comes into play.)
10:28 a.m.: Next up is Andrew Wilson from Electronic Arts, head of EA Sports. Says Microsoft and EA are marking the start of a brand new partnership and a “very special relationship.”
EA is developing FIFA, Madden, NBA Live and UFC for new console. Will be powered by EA Sports Ignite, all new game engine that the company is available today. Blending real and virtual worlds.
10:35 a.m.: Phil Spencer of Microsoft Studios is now on the stage. Promises games that are more personal, immersive and connected than ever before. Shows Forza Motorsport 5 running on Xbox One.
Now showing Quantum Break for Xbox One. Spencer says Microsoft will release 15 exclusive titles for Xbox One in the first year.
Here is the official product shot of the new console, controller and Kinect sensor from Microsoft.
10:44: Now on stage is Nancy Tellem, head of Xbox Entertainment Studios. “Xbox is about to become the next watercooler, and this only Act One,” she says, talking about teams in Seattle, L.A. and Vancouver BC that are working on original content.
Bonnie Ross of 343 Industries takes the stage, to talk about Halo original content. “I’m thrilled to announce a live action Halo television series,” she says. It will be created in partnership with Steven Spielberg, who appears via recorded video to talk about the project.
10:49: A recorded video is now outlining Microsoft’s new partnership with the NFL. Mattrick says it will “redefine NFL experiences for the fan” with exclusive interactive technology, including Microsoft technology on the sideline.
“I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be launching Xbox One around the world later this year,” Mattrick says, teasing ahead to the company’s plans to unveil additional games at the E3 video game convention.
10:52 a.m.: Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg comes on stage to show a sneak peek of “Call of Duty Ghosts.” A video is showing the capabilities of the Xbox One graphics engine to show complex shading and “even the dirt beneath the fingernails” of one of the characters in the game.
That’s a wrap! Stay tuned for more later today.