Microsoft Xbox One to launch in November for $499

There will be more than a dozen exclusive game titles available at launch

Microsoft announced that Xbox One will go on sale in 21 markets this November for US$499.

The company showed exclusive game titles and highlighted some of the new capabilities of the next generation console at its E3 press briefing Monday in Los Angeles.

See a video report from the Microsoft event on YouTube.

Xbox One was first shown at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, last month, and the E3 presentation was focused on what the company left out then: gaming. Microsoft paraded a number of game developers on stage to show off a few of the 13 exclusive titles that will be available for the console at launch.

In one demonstration, while playing "Dead Rising 3" a second gamer used Smart Glass through his smartphone to call in an airstrike on attacking zombies. Smart Glass is Microsoft's second screen technology that it announced last year. It allows gamers to use their smartphones and tablets in tandem with the game on the main screen. It can also be used to deliver second screen content during movies and television shows.

"With Smart Glass natively built into Xbox One, many of the actions you can take on your console can now be done directly from any Smart Glass device," said Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. He showed how gamers could see a timeline of their progress or set up and launch a multi player game from a tablet.

Microsoft also showed how Smart Glass could be used when developing custom games. Project Spark is Microsoft's game creation program that allows users to build a game landscape, create characters and define behaviors. In a demonstration, voice control through Kinect was used to create a rough landscape, which was then further refined using a tablet running Smart Glass.

"Using Smart Glass, I can go into sculpting mode and really put some personal touches on this world," said Dave McCarthy, general manager at Microsoft Studios.

Microsoft also showed how gamers can use the new Upload Studio to record game play. Games are automatically recorded by Xbox One, and with the software, gamers can "curate, edit, share and publish gaming videos," according to Whitten.

Xbox One is a follow up to the company's Xbox 360 game console, which launched eight years ago. Microsoft showed off a new design for Xbox 360, which it bills as slimmer and quieter. It goes on sale immediately.

Xbox One will include a 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray player, built-in Wi-Fi and a Kinect sensor. It will cost APS429 in the U.K. and a!499 in European markets. The console is available for preorder now.

Microsoft has been trying for the better part of a decade to place a computer in the living room, and the Xbox One, if successful, could accomplish that goal. While the main purpose of the console is gaming, the system also will allow users to control their televisions by voice using Kinect. In the Redmond demonstration last month, the company showed how users could switch from a television show to a streaming movie to a game by speaking.

At the end of the day Monday, rival Sony will hold its PlayStation 4 press conference, where it is expected to offer more details on its next-generation console. In previous years, Sony has focused more on gaming and less on auxiliary tasks, such as movies and television shows, that Microsoft seems to favor.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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