May 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM ET
Tuesday Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One, a new console that wants to sell itself as "your all-in-one must have gadget." But while making Skype calls to distant relatives and watching a new Steven Spielberg opus are no doubt impressive, the Xbox is still a device built around video games. So what did we learn about the actual games?
No backward compatibility, but used games remain a possibility
First and foremost, the Xbox One will not be backward compatible with any previous iterations of Microsoft's console. This means that gamers who owned the original Xbox or still use the Xbox 360 won't be able to pop titles from their pre-existing library into the new console.
Furthermore, Microsoft's promises about all the new and potentially awesome online and cross-platform features won't change much about the core retail experience of buying and installing games, except to potentially reduce annoying download times in one way or another.
Xbox One games will need to be fully installed on the console before users can play them, and each game disc will be paired to an individual console. Microsoft hasn't revealed much about how this will impact the market for used games, but the company did say during Tuesday's event that it will require a small fee from users hoping to install a used game on their personal console.
The fight for exclusive content
When it comes to the overall tenor of the ongoing "console wars," Microsoft has always come up short against its older and more firmly entrenched competitors in one key area: exclusive games.
The company wants to change that this time around. Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, said during Tuesday's presentation, "Microsoft is investing more in studios around to world to create new and original" intellectual property for Xbox One, and now has "more exclusive titles in the works than ever before."
To start, Microsoft Studios is planning to launch 15 new games during Xbox One's first year on the market, eight of which are "brand new franchises," Spencer said. Only two of these were in attendance: the racing game "Forza Motorsport 5" from Turn 10 studios and "Quantum Break," a new title from the developer of the first two "Max Payne" games and "Alan Wake" that combines a story-driven single player game with a corresponding live-action TV show.
Electronic Arts, meanwhile, announced a batch of new sports games: "Madden NFL 25," "NBA Live 14," and "EA Sports UFC," along with the previously revealed "FIFA 14." Andrew Wilson of EA said that the games — all of which will be powered by the new EA Sports Ignite game engine and "will launch in the next 12 months — will have some kind of exclusive Xbox One content, though what exactly that will look like will be revealed in the "coming months."
Most surprising was Activision's announcement that it will be offering exclusive content for the Xbox One with its upcoming blockbuster "Call of Duty: Ghosts."
When Activision's publishing CEO Eric Hirschberg took the stage at Sony's PlayStation 4 reveal this past February, he made sure to point out that his company would be supporting Sony's new console. That being said, it's not clear if "exclusive content" means anything more than some Xbox One-specific tchotchkes, so gamers will have to wait until E3 to find out.
We'll have more on all of these games and the Xbox One next month at E3. In the meantime, see more NBC News coverage of the Xbox event below.