IGN's regular weekly questioning of Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten is still ongoing. Since our last update, we've had several interesting snippets of information emerge about the upcoming console, including reassurances that the Xbox One will be region free, as will its software. Here is the latest summary:
Back at the start of August, Whitten confirmed that gamerpics would no longer be 64x64 resolution and that players would have the ability to capture full-body HD gamerpics in 1080p. Details on this subject are still scarce, but he did confirm that Microsoft is aiming to have 300 gamerpics from which players can choose. Here are just three examples:
On the Xbox 360, title updates are mandatory if you want to play your game online. If you happen to be playing online when an update is released, you may well be kicked out of the game and prompted to download the update before being allowed back in. On the Xbox One, developers have a choice of two types of update. They can still choose to have the mandatory update as just described, or they can choose an optional update. If you choose not to accept an optional update, you can continue to play online before accepting the update at a time more convenient for you.
Tracking Your Own Statistics
Players will be able to track their own statistics in any game or app. The activities that players can track include how long you've been playing a title, or you can track your "overall progress". Each title will display hero stats, which are "compelling and engaging aspects" of the title, on the console's dashboard. Of course, none of this really matters unless you can compare them to those of your friends or family, right? Well, you can do this too.
Using the Dashboard
The Xbox One dashboard will show the items that you have pinned (My Pins), console settings and the Home screen all in one display. The Home screen will show the five things that players have done most recently, as well as the titles and apps that Microsoft is choosing to promote, Xbox One news and new in-store items. However, pinning is the best way to organize your favourite apps, websites, movies, TV shows and music. Failing this, your console library will display every game or DLC add-on that you have purchased. This includes both digital purchases and physical game discs, regardless of whether they are installed on your system or not. The library will be sorted by most recent activity.
You can take a closer look at the user interface in these screenshots.
Microsoft's Director of Product Planning Albert Penello was able to give Destructoid a preview of the Xbox One's user interface. Players will be able to run four apps simultaneously in the background on the Xbox One, or you can run a game alongside apps. When the X button is pressed on the controller, players are returned to the Home screen where there will be four boxes -- one for each of the programs that are running. Picking one of those boxes will instantly place players into that program. Apps can also be snapped to the side of the screen so that they can be kept visible at all times. While only one game can be played at a time, a simple voice command can shut down any game in just ten seconds allowing players to quickly switch to another title.
Sharing Game DVR Clips
We brought you more details about the gaming DVR back at the start of August. Players will be able to use voice commands to capture footage, edit footage, save your clip, or share it with your friends and family. At launch, these clips can be shared on Xbox LIVE. Although Microsoft will allow players to share their clips on social websites, sharing on sites such as Youtube or Facebook will not be enabled immediately. Microsoft is hoping for this to be set up by next year.
For our last topic, we once again visit IGN, although this time they are also talking to Albert Penello. I think it's probably best if I just let him explain:
We talk a lot about TV and that's only going to work basically in Japan and the U.S. at launch where you have HDMI-in scenarios, so you'll say 'hey, what if I have a terrestrial over the air?' We won't have a solution for that right away, but we still sell it as part of the vision. So it's honest criticism and you'd love to have the new launch be everything that you had before and more, but unfortunately it's an untenable [proposition].Once again, we'll be ready to bring you more information as we get it!
[...]If you look at TV standards around the world - I'll just use the U.S. because I'm most familiar with it - you have set top boxes with HDMI, you have satellite, you've got over the air, then you have all the regional providers that have their own – some use cable cards, some don't, the cable cards are different, and then you start going into digital terrestrial broadcasts – what the UK does with their set top boxes. And so for us, like voice, TV is going to be one of those things that's like a tree – we've just got to chop it down.
So the basic experience of HDMI-in will be available for anybody that has TV with HDMI-in. I actually think it's an under-appreciated feature. Today, if I want to go between my console and my set top box I still have to pick up another remote and control it... TV is going to be an interesting challenge for us, as we really have to go through each region, each provider, each set of I.P. and build a solution that works.