News Column

Xbox One Home Entertainment System Unveiled by Microsoft

May 21, 2013

Microsoft Corp. unveiled its new Xbox One, an all-in-one gaming and home entertainment system at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Tuesday morning

Turning on the device with the phrase "Xbox on," executives said they emphasized simplicity in the new device that puts the technology "behind the curtain."

The new device, which allows users to switch from gaming to television to Internet with voice commands, faces some big competition from the PlayStation 4 by Sony Corp. and the Wii U by Nintendo Co. and a shifting market.

The new device also lets customers use Skype with their living room televisions.

"This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV," a Microsoft executive said Monday.

Microsoft is hoping the newly named Xbox One will build on a solid core of gamer fans and become a hub for living room entertainment.

The third-generation console, coming eight years after the Xbox 360, was unveiled by games unit chief Don Mattrick at an event at the software company's campus near Seattle.

Gamers are gravitating to online play -- suggesting the hey-day of console games are over -- while Microsoft wants its sleek new toy to become the family's entertainment center and give it a larger share of the $65 billion a year global computer gaming industry.

Console gaming still takes the lion's share of a growing gaming market -- about 42 percent of the $65 billion world market, according to Microsoft. But playing games on smartphones and tablets, or as an offshoot to online social networks, is gaining ground fast.

Console sales have been in decline for the last four years, chiefly because of aging devices, but the first of the new generation of machines has not reignited the sector.

Nintendo's Wii U, launched in November, had sold only 3.45 million units through the end of March, well below the company's initial forecast of 5.5 million. Hopes for Sony's PS4, teased in March, are low key.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Source: (c)2013 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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