"Xbox! Go Home!"
Xbox One will feature three distinct input methods: a traditional gamepad controller and smartglass functionality underpinned by the all-seeing eye of an upgraded Kinect sensor. The motion-control peripheral promises to be much more than a gimmick, instead both providing numerous shortcuts and voice commands that could make navigation much more intuitive (or at least more enjoyable as you boss your console around).
The Xbox One controller reportedly features over 40 new tweaks, the first of which is reportedly improved comfort and ergonomics (the original controller was incredibly comfortable already, so we're looking forward to assessing that for outselves). The Home button has migrated to the top centre of the pad, while a new multi-tasking button on the left hand side allows users to quickly scroll through open and saved applications almost instantly.
It will also have force feedback triggers, which sounds like fun.
However, Kinect 2.0 is arguably the star of the show (or today's show, at least). The new sensor can capture video at 1080p, recognise faces with greater accuracy and affords a massively improved degree of precision. Numerous voice commands let players ask for specific applications or text searches, while it will also recognise a number of gesture-based shortcuts. For example, the home menu can be access by spreading your arms and virtually 'grabbing' the screen.
From the fact sheet: It includes a 1080p, HD camera that captures video at 30 frames per second. Allnew, active-infrared capabilities increase precision, allowing it to work in nearly any lighting condition and expanding field of view to accommodate a greater variety of room sizes. Microsoft proprietary Time-of-Flight technology measures the time it takes individual photons to rebound off you to create unprecedented accuracy and precision. The new noise-isolating multimicrophone array filters ambient sounds to recognize natural speaking voices even in crowded rooms.
Microsoft describes it as "rocket science-level stuff." We look forward to putting it through its paces with a discerning (and slightly cynical) eye, but we like the idea of bringing Kinect into the core experience rather than sidelining the peripheral. In theory.
Finally, Smartglass functionality will also make a return, allowing you to use smartphones or tablets to browse menus or access rich media content.