The operating system that powers Microsoft’s next-generation entertainment console, the Xbox One, is the device’s “game changer” according to Microsoft.
The comment, which came by the way of an in-depth interview with Polygon, centered mostly on the operating system or rather “operating systems” that power the Xbox One’s various entertainment features.
According to Bill Kilgore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business of which the Xbox is a part of inside Microsoft, it’s this combination of hardware and software that that will allow the company to innovate in the entertainment space for the “next decade”.
“We have multiple operating systems that are able to co-exist to allow game developers … to get exclusive access to a bunch of resources”, said Kilgore. During yesterday’s announcement of the Xbox One Microsoft revealed that the device would eschew what users had traditionally known as the Xbox Dashboard. Instead, the Xbox One uses three operating systems, Xbox OS, Windows 8 and a third operating system that acts as a middle-man in between the two.
By doing this, Microsoft is able to hard limit the resources of each operating system and guarantee applications and games a consistent amount of processor capacity and RAM. This, and the system’s ability to allow users to switch between to each operating system easily means that users can open applications and games at the same time. That’s something that today’s Xbox doesn’t even come close to doing. Microsoft’s Phil Harrison calls this “fixed reservation” and says that it’ll provide users with an “absolute guarantee of performance”.
This architecture is also what allows the Xbox One’s Kinect to function at all times. This Xbox and Kinect are able to interpret and constantly listen for commands thanks to the console’s dedicated processing power and low power state.
That multitasking also extends to the way users save their progress, not only can users open applications whenever they choose, but changes to the way Microsoft saves games means that game saves will happen progressively. No matter what the user is doing, or when they stop playing, their game will be saved.
Microsoft says that it will make the new Xbox One available to users sometime this year, however it has not disclosed when or home much it will cost.