The best in devices and services, together as Xbox One

The following is a post from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.


Yesterday was a lot of fun. Watching the Xbox team put the new Xbox One through its paces, hearing the reaction in the room and on Twitter, seeing all the work that people put in come to life = just wow.

For some time now, we’ve been talking about Microsoft’s transformation to a devices and services company. Make no mistake, we’re still a software company at our core, but increasingly the value of that software is expressed through the devices and services we deliver to consumers and businesses.

That transformation came to 1080p HD life yesterday with our introduction of Xbox One. And it wasn’t just the fantastic device on center stage, it was the amazing content from our partners, the other Microsoft services lighting it up, and the other Microsoft devices making it work as one.

Devices. A new console with more than 5 billion (yes, billion) transistors and 8 gigabits of RAM, paired with a completely redesigned Kinect sensor that can process more than 2 gigabits of data per second and an updated controller with more than 40 design innovations. And devices that can work together through the magic of Xbox SmartGlass technology, which has more than 10 million downloads since its introduction last year.

Services. Let’s start with the reimagined Xbox Live service. More powerful. More personal. More intelligent. And a WHOLE lot more scalable. As Marc Whitten explained yesterday, when we first launched Xbox Live more than a decade ago, it was powered by 500 servers. Today, 15,000 servers housed in data centers power the service and later this year, when we begin selling Xbox One, we’ll have 300,000 servers delivering the service. That’s how you deliver a highly scalable, highly available service to tens of millions of simultaneous users, and provide the kind of split second switching between games, television and entertainment apps that we witnessed yesterday.

Then there’s Skype, our communications service that today connects hundreds of millions of family and friends, primarily via PC or phone. But as Yusuf Mehdi showed yesterday, we’ll be bringing Skype experiences to your TV in widescreen HD with the best living room camera available (thank you, Kinect), and only on Xbox One will you do group video calls on your TV. This is the service that’ll convince my Mom she needs an Xbox One in her living room.

Bing also is tightly integrated into the Xbox entertainment experience. When you search by voice for movies, TV shows or music, Bing is the service providing the instant responses. That experience is going to get a WHOLE lot better with Xbox One. I don’t know about you, but snap mode looked incredibly compelling to me. Now imagine you’re watching a movie on your new Xbox One and you want to find additional information about the cast. As Yusuf showed yesterday, just say, “Xbox, Snap Internet Explorer.” Now IE with Bing as my home page is running next to the movie I’m watching. Finding information about the cast is, yes, just a snap. Or, as Don Mattrick said in explaining the team’s mission to transform our entertainment experiences, “Simple. Instant. Complete.”

There was a LOT of substance and sizzle packed into yesterday’s 60-minute unveiling. So much to see and absorb. New games from EA Sports (FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA Line 14 and EA Sports UFC), Forza Motorsport from 10 Studios, 15 exclusive games in the works from Microsoft Studios, amazing new content from Xbox Entertainment Studios, including a live-action Halo television series created in partnership with 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg, and of course our partnership with the NFL that will redefine our Sunday afternoon viewing experiences.

Over the next few days, I hope you’ll take advantage of the resources on xbox.com and news.xbox.com, join the conversation on Twitter, read more of the press coverage, including this compelling story from Wired, or even take the time to watch the entire event. And hey, in just 20 days it will be time for E3 in Los Angeles. Boom, and then boom.

A great family of devices. Great software. Great content and services. Working as One. Just wow.