Microsoft's Xbox One is already packed with a host of innovative design features and technology, but the console has been built with the future in mind and it's been designed to grow, evolve and improve as time goes on, to always remain at the very cutting edge of the best gaming and entertainment experiences.
Innovation is not just an ambitious catchphrase for Xbox One, but it's built into the heart of the system. Microsoft has drawn on its own rich gaming heritage, from the original Xbox through to the Xbox 360 and its innovative online Live service, to deliver a machine that has been truly built by gamers for gamers
Innovation is Xbox One's guiding mantra and it can already be seen in a host of Xbox One features from background downloading of updates, to harnessing the distributed power of over 300,000 cloud servers. The idea is to introduce a host of small but significant improvements over time, which subtly and constantly improves your gaming experience, almost without you noticing.
'Easier, slicker and more intuitive' might well be the design team's watch words, and they're realised in functions like the Xbox One's new Snap functionality. Previously, consoles might have been expected to do one thing at a time and do it well, but modern players expectations have grown so that now we want to play a game, tweet about the experience and then display our achievements to our friends and colleagues. Xbox One allows players to do all these things without any compromises.
Consider the Xbox One controller. It would have been easy for Microsoft's design team to rest on their laurels after the Xbox 360's controller which is widely considered one of the finest ever made. However after over 200 prototypes and a wealth of research, the new Xbox One controller features 40 new design innovations including impulse triggers, revamped thumbsticks and haptic feedback to deliver a truly next generation peripheral.
While the technology behind the new Kinect sensor is impressive, it is its practical applications that gamers will most appreciate. Being able to walk into a room and switch the machine on with a simple voice command is remarkable enough, but the Xbox One is able to recognise up to six players during a game and switch to each of them depending on who is holding the controller. We've already seen some small indication of how voice commands will transform gaming, for example issuing orders in Ryse: Son of Rome or calling for help in Dead Rising 3, but developers have barely scratched the surface and it's exciting to think how voice may become a integral -- if not dominant -- gaming control method in the future.
One way Xbox One integrates and innovates extremely well with existing technology is through its Smartglass application. Using the vast potential of a second screen, the Smartglass app can be installed on your tablet or phone to bring a new dimension to your games. For example in Dead Rising 3, fellow in-game survivors will appear to 'speak' to you on your actual phone via Smartglass and it's just like they're talking to you in real life. Subtle but clever features like this massively increase your immersion and interaction with the gaming world.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about all of this is that we're just at the start of what promises to be a long and hugely exhilarating journey. With innovation at its heart and a mission statement to extend, expand and enhance our gameplay experiences, Xbox One is destined to be not only future proof, but to shape the future of gaming itself.