The Xbox One Just Got A Features Upgrade
The San Diego Comic-Con might have been the E3 for comics, series and movie fans out there, but that’s no reason for there not to be any next-gen news floating about as well. During a panel overseen by Major Nelson, a few developers of the Xbox One, as well as developers of exclusive titles for the platform, spoke to a few hundred people about some new, and rather interesting Xbox One features.
Ken Lobb, Creative Director at Microsoft, was up first, demonstrating the video recording feature that the Xbox One does in the background. Using a match recorded at the recent EVO championships, Lobb showed off some of his match highlights against one of the world’s best fighting players. The demo showed off what looked like a “sizzle reel” of the entire match, with the Xbox One automatically recording the last five minutes of every game you play. And if you happen to see something cool that you want to record, you can simply say “Xbox record”, and the next 30 seconds will be stored for your editing pleasure.
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Impressive for Kinect, but even more impressive is the camera’s ability to now detect who is holding the controller in your gaming space. Should you pass the controller over to a friend or family member, the Kinect will automatically try to detect who is now holding the controller and switch to their profile on the console. This really is something of an improvement over the current profile switching system, which forces you to open up the Xbox settings and manually change them, booting you back to the start screen more often than not.
Staying with the Kinect, the new camera will apparently also be able to map player’s faces onto character models in games such as Rainbow Six. Instead of taking a static picture and then letting the game map it for you, the Kinect will constantly scan your face, updating the character model with expressions you might have while playing. Want to see how your opponent looks after you just killed them online? Well, that’s now possible.
And how it is possible is also pretty interesting to hear. The first Kinect could only detect 20 points of the body, leading to extremely frustrating instances where the camera would simply not detect you in the correct way. The new Kinect will have about 10x the resolution of the current version and can read the folds in your face and discriminate among your fingers even at 3 meters. Hand positions can now be read with far greater accuracy, and a team at Microsoft recently developed a game that detects player’s hand and eye positions for target shooting, rather than having an actual gun peripheral.
But no Microsoft panel ends with all tech and no games. Forza 5 was once again on-stage to show off some new features, and after wowing crowds with some stunning 1080p, 60 fps racing action, developers from Turn 10 spoke about how the new Xbox One controller was integral to certain features of Forza. The addition of individual rumble triggers has allowed Turn 10 to add some awesome features to the racing simulator, providing tire feedback to players via small, or big, vibrations when taking corners or driving at high speeds. This is a rather innovative way to use this new tech, and I’m sure even more developers are thinking of interesting ways to utilise these new controllers.
All in all, there are more and more good things coming from Microsoft in terms of the Xbox One. We have yet to see some of these features in action, but I’m excited to see if Microsoft has anything else up their sleeves for the coming months.