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Xbox One

yZoH

//There Ain't No Rest For The Wicked...
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    When Senior Principal Creative Director Carl Ledbetter and his team set out to design the Xbox One, the only rule they had is everything had to be drawn without lifting a pen. "If you can't," he says, "it's too complicated." What they wound up with is a console and Kinect sensor far more rectilinear than the Xbox 360. That allowed them to fully engage the design language of the Xbox's UI, which in turn stemmed from Windows 8 and its 16:9 tiling. The controller is less of a departure, though its sleeker form factor hides a number of tweaks to address the concerns of 360 gamers.
    A new videogame console is always an event, but to get so much access before it's seen by the rest of the world is far rarer. As part of WIRED's exclusive look at the development and capabilities of the Xbox One, we present a detailed look at the hardware. (Well, the exterior of it, at least. We've got another gallery for the insides.) Can you spot all the changes?

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    The new controller has a laundry list of incremental improvements, from a more precise cross-shaped D-pad to knurled thumbstick rims for better grip.

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    A new connector for voice chat and other accessories can power a 5.1 headset without amplifiers.

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    The ABXY buttons are slightly lower and spaced more tightly, with the Menu and View buttons (no more Start and Select) moved out of the way to avoid accidental presses.

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    The controller still takes AA batteries, but the humplike compartment is gone. So are the screwholes.

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    New "impulse triggers" feature haptic feedback, and the shoulder buttons are nearly continuous for easier transition from trigger to bumper.

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    The new Kinect sensor: like a tiny robot winking at you. We told Microsoft they should use that as a slogan; we're still waiting to hear back on that.

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    The side panels of the Kinect echo the venting panel on top of the Xbox One console, and the multi-mic array is separated from the main body, making the sensor appear to levitate.

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    Top view of the Kinect sensor. Yup, more venting references. Note the branding: just XBOX, no model name.

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    The Xbox One console, front view.

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    From the top, the 50-50 split (glossy solid panel/matte vented panel) is clearly visible.

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    Close-up view of the optical drive.

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    Connections galore: power input, HDMI In and Out ports surrounding the Kinect connection jack, two more USB 3.0 ports, an optical in for audio, and an Ethernet jack.

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    The side closer to the optical drive, with a USB 3.0 jack.

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    The console's other side, where the 50-50 split is repeated.

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"If you have any voices in your head," Xbox general manager Leonardo del Castillo told us as we approached Microsoft's anechoic chamber, "you'll hear them in there." The room achieves outer-space-like absolute silence, and is one of the many places where the Xbox One evolved.

We spent three days in Redmond learning not only what the Xbox One looks like and what it can do, but how it became a reality. Every part of designing a console — from hardware engineering to industrial design — is a huge undertaking, and spending so much time behind the curtain drives that home. Whether designing hardware components in-house, 3D-printing dozens of controller mockups, or just making sure the final product delivers as promised, the Interactive Business Division spent nearly two years getting everything just right. And since were were already there, we thought some photography might be in order. Enjoy.

Above: A transparent mockup allowed the industrial design team to begin building options that would accommodate the Xbox One's particular component layout.

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As the team narrowed down the look of the Xbox One, the look of the venting panel remained in flux; at left, a latticework version from before the diagonal pattern was finalized.

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The componentry mockup.

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The industrial design department experimented with overlaying multiple venting panels; here are a few 3D-printed options they played with.

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A mockup of the Kinect's internals, along with some early design options.

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Early design options for the Kinect sensor.

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Discarded options for the Kinect sensor's design, including one with splashes of neon green. We kinda wish this one had made the cut.

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The Kinect sensor can track up to six peoples' skeletons, depth maps, rotation, expression, motion force and even their heart rate.

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As the team sorted through 3D-printed resin prototypes and considered nearly 200 design ideas, the controller's final form began to emerge.

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An Objet 3D printer in Microsoft's modeling lab, running off a controller mockup — one thin resin layer at a time.

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The controller's tripleshot buttons have three layers: a "liquid black" background, a 3D letterform, and an encasement of waterclear resin.

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Tweaking the controller buttons = involved color studies.

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From left to right: Corporate vice president Todd Holmdahl, general manager Leonardo del Castillo, and director of development Boyd Multerer.

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General manager del Castillo with the Xbox One's exposed internals.

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The motherboard.

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The new Kinect sensor, laid bare.

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The new controller undergoing stress testing in Microsoft's accessories lab. Fun fact: there's a house somewhere in Bellevue, Washington where Microsoft runs usability testing. It has four living rooms with four distinct arrangements (European, Asian, U.S., and U.S. "dorm room"), each outfitted with furniture and other media and communication devices. Sadly, we didn't get to see it.

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How many button presses does it take to make a new Xbox controller break? At least 2 million, as it turns out.

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Microsoft's anechoic chamber, where the Xbox One and Kinect were tested for noise emission, is one of the quietest places on the planet. For full acoustic isolation, the room is completely decoupled from the larger building surrounding it. If you've never heard true absolute silence before, trust us: it's unsettling
 
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myasdfman

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Definitely getting one. I really like how they're trying to bring it all together again. Also the styling makes it more 'stealthy'. at first glance it looks like a fancy DVD player.
 

aaronevolution

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I'll definitely get one. I'm glad I'm not one of the suckers who upgraded to the slim console.
 

Reaper

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I'll add it to the long list of other consoles I won't purchase.
 

Drawnnite

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but will it still limit what they can do with games?

no point making it "look good" if the tech behind it isn't advanced significantly.

and no, I wont be purchasing it.
 

Demonica

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I just talked my cousin out of the new xbox and into building a gaming computer. So much better options, graphics etc
 

FirstVL

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As someone who owned an xbox 360 and experienced both a failed DVD drive and the RROD (red ring of death), I won't be rushing to get one.

You'd hope that the "xbox one" will be more robust both in design and components, but these things will be built to the lowest possible price (and probably by Foxconn).
 

wraith

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Foxconn builds everything any way.... No idea why Microsoft used only a 500 GB drive. Surely a ssd + at least a tb would be better.

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Pollushon

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I'm pleased that the rumour monkeys were wrong and the console platform is a level playing field. Given most PC games come from console nowadays (and that will only increase) the new hardware and programming framework should lead to some much better PC ports.

But yea, I'm a PC gamer through and through.
 

make out

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I'm pretty keen to give it a shot when it comes out, price point pending.

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