Microsoft used its June 13 press event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to unveil the Xbox One S, an upgraded console that supports 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) video. A 500 GB version of the new console will hit retail in August for $299.
Microsoft also announced “Project Scorpio,” a console expected by Christmas 2017 that will support true 4K gaming and virtual reality. The console promises to be backwards compatible with Xbox One and Xbox One S games.
The Xbox One S console is 40% smaller than the original Xbox One, includes a Ultra High-Def (UHD) Blu-ray Disc player, and can stream 4K content from Netflix and Amazon Video. The console will support HDR gameplay for new releases including Gears of War 4 and Scalebound.
“Gamers have never had more choice in how and where they play,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “We are bringing our biggest games lineup ever to Xbox One and Windows 10, uniting gamers across networks on Xbox Live and expanding the Xbox One family of devices with the addition of Xbox One S and ‘Project Scorpio’ to give gamers more choice in how and where they play. There’s never been a better time to be an Xbox gamer.”
The new Xbox One S console also includes a front-facing USB port, and removes the previously dedicated port for the motion- and voice-control Kinect system, with Microsoft offering a free adapter to Kinect owners instead. The Xbox One S will be available in 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB versions, with the 2 TB version running $399.
Microsoft also debuted its new Xbox Play Anywhere, which allows gamers to play their games on both Windows 10 PC and Xbox One consoles, with cross-platform game saves and achievements.
Additionally at E3, Microsoft announced a new eSports endeavor for its Xbox Live platform, Arena, allowing console owners to play competitive gaming worldwide. Electronic Arts is among the gaming developers who announced support for the service.
Other Xbox Live announcements include the ability for gamers to play their own background music while playing, as well as the ability for online players to choose preferred languages.
“The new gaming landscape is being driven by an unprecedented wave of innovation, transformation and creativity unlike any we’ve ever seen. What’s different this time is that you, the gamers, are the ones leading this shift with the way you play today. Many of us play games on more than one device – and that is fundamentally shifting the way the world thinks about gaming,” Spencer wrote in a blog post.
“As this shift continues, we want to ensure that you have more freedom and opportunity to play the games you want, with the people you want, and on the devices you want. We see this not only as a gaming world where you can play without boundaries, but one that goes beyond generations.”