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Drivatars, Cloud Computing Key to Xbox One

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Microsoft has its head in the cloud with Xbox One.

    The company focused on how cloud computing will make games for its next-generation Xbox One console more immersive during its Monday presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry's annual trade show.

    Microsoft announced last week that the successor to the Xbox 360 must be connected to the Internet every 24 hours to operate, and the system would ideally always be online.

    New Xbox One Entertainment Console

    [AP] New Xbox One Entertainment Console
    Microsoft's new Xbox One entertainment console seeks to deliver the Holy Grail of home entertainment. It lets you watch television, play movies, listen to music and browse the Internet as well as play video games.

    "The platform features and capabilities of Xbox One allow developers to push the boundaries of creativity and push the genre in new directions," Phil Harrison, Microsoft's vice president, told the crowd at University of Southern California's Galen Center.

    The upcoming console's cloud computing capabilities were demonstrated by fleshing out dense environments in third-person open-world games like the zombie-fighting sequel "Dead Rising 3" and over-the-top cartoony shooter "Sunset Overdrive." The racing simulator "Forza MotorSport 5" introduced a feature called "drivatar," which mimics players' driving styles and allows their "drivatars" to play for them offline.

    "It's about delivering real human behavior," said "Forza MotorSport" creative director Dan Greenawalt.

    Microsoft revealed the console, which it has billed as an "all-in-one" entertainment solution, will be released in November and cost $499. The company debuted the console earlier this year at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash. The initial reactions to the device have been mixed.

    Other games coming to Xbox One include the historical third-person game "Ryse: Son of Rome," hard-knuckled brawler "Killer Instinct," a bigger edition of "Minecraft," terra-forming simulator "Project Spark" and a new installment of the sci-fi shooter series "Halo."

    Monday's flashy event concluded with the debut of the multiplayer shooter "Titanfall," the first game from Respawn Entertainment, which was founded by "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" creators Vince Zampella and Jason West.

    Microsoft didn't address concerns over connectivity, used games and privacy issues with the Xbox One, which will feature a new version of its camera-based Kinect sensor. In a blog post on Microsoft's site last Thursday ahead of E3, the company outlined more details about the console, including that there would be restrictions on how previously played or used games could be shared.

    Microsoft Corp. kicked off Monday's presentation by revealing the Xbox 360 is getting a makeover with a design inspired by the Xbox One.

    Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's vice president of marketing and strategy, said the updated Xbox 360 is "smaller, sleeker and as quiet as ever." He added it would be available beginning Monday.

    The company boasted that hundreds of new games are still coming to Xbox 360, which was originally released eight years ago as the high-definition successor to the Xbox. Microsoft's Xbox 360 has outsold rivals like the Wii and PlayStation 3 from Nintendo and Sony for the past two years.