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Up close and personal with the Microsoft Xbox One

Consumer Reports News

Yesterday at the E3 video-game show, we spent most of the day with Microsoft and the Xbox One, the company's upcoming next-generation video game console. The visuals were jaw-dropping—clear, sharp, and even hyper-real.

Just about every game uses the Kinect hands-free motion controller in some way, either for voice or motion control. Microsoft showcased the Kinect's ability to detect natural movements during game-play and translate them within the game. For example, lifting your hands can raise an in-game shield, and leaning side to side can translate to movements on screen.

The SmartGlass app also has a strong presence with Xbox One games. In games such as Dead Rising 3, for example, you can use it to call in air strikes or as a weapon tracker that highlights where different weapons are located on the game's massive map.

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Several new Xbox One titles were demoed for us, including Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, Quantum Break, and Forza Motorsport 5. The standout was Quantum Break, a sci-fi game about a group of people who can control time. What makes Quantum Break unique is that it comes with a bundled live-action show, which will be affected by the decisions made within the game.

I got some hands-on time with the new Killer Instinct game (and won my match, by the way). The controller felt comfortable, but I'll need more experience with it to make a full assessment. We'll get an Xbox One in our lab as soon as they're available (sometime in November, says Microsoft, at a hefty $499) for a full review.

Finally, we got a tech demo of the Xbox One that showed what the system is capable of. Microsoft intends to use cloud processing when the Xbox One is online, to take the processing workload off the console. You'll be able to play games offline, but the scope of them will not be as impressive if you aren't connected, said Microsoft.

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