Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.66% unveiled a reinvented Xboxvideogame console Tuesday, demonstrating an advanced motion andvoice-control system and new television functions as it tries tothrust the machine back into the spotlight amid changing consumerhabits.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant said its new device,dubbed Xbox One, was designed to take advantage of new technologiesto offer customers ways to play games while responding to trendssuch as the popularity of smartphones and tablets。
Microsoft also integrated technology from its Skype videochatting subsidiary into Xbox One, allowing customers to interactwith friends using a more refined version of the Kinect motion andspeech sensor. Xbox One also can play and control live televisionstreaming from a cable or satellite set-top box。
The device represents Microsoft's answer to 'a living roomthat has become too complex, too fragmented and too slow,' withfeatures that integrate control of multiple electronics, said DonMattrick, president of Microsoft's interactive entertainmentbusiness。
Microsoft said the device will be released later this year,but didn't specify when or how much it will cost. The company'sprevious device, the Xbox 360, was priced starting at $299 when itlaunched in 2005.
The Xbox remains key to Microsoft's efforts to penetrateconsumers' homes, as many of its other consumer-orientedproducts─such as Windows Phone─have stumbled. But the consolehasn't had a refresh in eight years and arrives as mobile devicessuch as Apple Inc.'s AAPL -0.74% iPhone have become go-to machinesfor a new swath of casual games that are either free or cost a fewdollars。
Those factors combined with the videogame industry'scycles─where sales taper off before a new game console isreleased─have hurt sales of new games, consoles and accessories.According to market researcher NPD Group, packaged game sales fell25% to $495.2 million in April from $657.5 million a year earlier.Console hardware sales dropped 42% to $109.5 million。
The Xbox, which sits at the center of Microsoft'sentertainment and devices division, has also seen declining salesas it has aged. While the last Xbox has been the top sellingconsole in the U.S. for 21 consecutive months, profits atMicrosoft's entertainment and devices division plunged 71% infiscal 2012 to $364 million, below what it was in 2010.
Game console makers are responding to the changing consumerlandscape by including new technologies in their devices. NintendoCo. 7974.OK +2.97% melded a touch screen into the controller forits Wii U console, which was released last November. Sony Corp.6758.TO +0.05% in February showed a touch-sensor built into aredesigned controller for its PlayStation 4 console, due out laterthis year。
游戏机制造商正通过将新技术纳入其 设备来应对消费者情况不断变化的现实。任天堂公司(Nintendo Co。)在WiiU游戏机的控制手柄中融合了触摸屏，这款游戏机于去年11月发布。索尼公司(SonyCorp。)今年2月向外界展示了其PlayStation4游戏机经过重新设计的控制手柄中内置的触摸传感器。索尼将于今年晚些时候推出这款游戏机。
Aside from additional horsepower to make better looking games,Xbox One includes the ability to watch TV on one part of a screenwhile looking at other information, such as a fantasy footballleague scores or a Skype video chat, on another。
Under the hood, the new Xbox is powered by Advanced MicroDevices Inc. AMD -1.95% chips, in a shift away from chips based onInternational Business Machines Corp. IBM +0.51% designs. Thechange makes the new Xbox more similar to Sony's upcomingPlayStation, making it easier to develop games for both companies'devices。
But the two devices are also different in that Sony plans tooffer a way for its advanced data centers to stream game images andbutton presses over the Internet to its PlayStation, allowingcustomers to play potentially any game instantly with a Webconnection. That includes older games, which otherwise can't playon the new device. Microsoft didn't unveil that technology for XboxOne。
Microsoft put more horsepower behind the technology it doesoffer, however. The Kinect motion sensor, which debuted three yearsago, was revamped and can now better hear gamers speak at thedevice and more accurately understand their movements, forinstance。
Microsoft is also investing in new games for the device. Thesoftware company said it would release 15 titles from its ownstudios during the Xbox One's first year on the market。
The company said it is developing a television show based onits popular Halo space-war game series with director StevenSpielberg. Nancy Tellem, head of Microsoft's television studioefforts, said the effort is the beginning of Microsoft's efforts toapply its Xbox technology to the way television works。
'Until now, television was a one-way street for the viewer,'she said. 'That's about to change.'