Rumors have been swirling for months now that Microsoft intended to release a slimmed-down revision to its Xbox One console, much as the company did with its predecessor, the Xbox 360, during its lifecycle. The expected timetable for the announcement was this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, where some of the biggest game news of the year is emerging.
Before Microsoft made any such announcement, though, a promotional image leaked for what was being dubbed the "Xbox One S." While the information in the leak was unverified, as is generally the case with any such leak, it provided a pretty convincing look at the new Xbox as well as some specifics about its features. Now Microsoft has officially unveiled the Xbox One S at the E3 press conference, and what was previously an unconfirmed leak is now confirmed fact.
According to the announcement video from Microsoft (via The Verge), the Xbox One S will be 40% smaller than its older brother, have an internal power block instead of an external one, and come with a vertical stand for those who want to display it upright in their home entertainment centers. In addition to those cosmetic improvements, it will support 4K video (much like the recently-confirmed PlayStation 4 Neo) and HDR capabilities in order to boost resolutions for gamers with 4K TVs. The accompanying controller has been redesigned as well, featuring textured grips on the back and the addition of Bluetooth support for better wireless range and cross-compatibility with PCs.
A few more minor changes have been made as well, such as putting a USB port on the front of the console for easier access, along with the controller pairing button and an IR blaster for conventional remote controls. Missing from the equation is a dedicated Kinect sensor port. Instead, those wishing to use Kinect must either purchase a USB adapter for it or procure one for free from Microsoft if they are upgrading from the older model Xbox One. The removal of the Kinect sensor port seems to be part of accommodating the slimmer design, but it also is a pretty good indication that they have given up on the idea of the widespread adoption of Kinect. That is further evidenced by the fact that none of the Xbox One S bundles appear to include a Kinect sensor.
Speaking of those bundles, they will come in several varieties. A limited edition bundle will be released in August and will contain the Xbox One S console with a 2 TB hard drive for $399. Later on, there will be two standard bundles: one with a 500 GB hard drive for $299 and one with a 1 TB hard drive for $349. There is no mention of any games included in these bundles, but no doubt retailers will be throwing some in themselves as incentives.
Between the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Neo, owners of 4K TVs will finally get to see some return on their investments. For the rest of us, there is at least the opportunity to free up some space in our entertainment centers with the slimmed-down console from Microsoft. Whether getting a head start on Sony with their console revision will help Microsoft catch up in sales remains to be seen, but at the very least they've shown that they are continuing to put some major R&D into their console business.
Source: The Verge