Backed by critically acclaimed exclusives, strong third-party support and the most popular online multiplayer component available, the Xbox 360 undeniably won the current-gen console war. Granted the Xbox successor brought about a stellar video gaming experience, the system resonated most with casual and hardcore audiences because of Microsoft’s popular Xbox Live service. Gamers found themselves drawn into a virtual universe where they could download popular titles from an overly populated digital marketplace, stream multimedia services like Netflix and Hulu and interact with players across the globe. In Live's do-it-all mentality, Microsoft discovered the central core for its next generation console: a machine part gaming system, part set-top box. The Xbox One .
Microsoft’s new innovation has garnered the attention of the specification-hungry masses for its insane multitasking capabilities, strong graphical prowess, and upgraded motion and voice command mechanics. The ability to record and edit gameplay with ease appeases more serious gamers; in fact, the console offers cloud storage and is optimized to automatically record the last minutes of gameplay. Three operating systems -- the Xbox OS, software based on the Windows kernel, and a separate interface that communicates between the two for advanced productivity -- offer a unique heart to the system that is cleary committed to multitasking. This is where the new Snap feature comes into play, making it possible to perform multiple actions at once, like Skyping with friends and watching the game without compromising performance. This is a direct embodiment of Microsoft's goal of turning the One into a super platform, something with tendrils in entertainment facets that reach far beyond gaming.
Kinect 2.0, meanwhile, carries groundbreaking attributes that push the boundaries of motion sensing. In addition to tracking six skeletons simultaneously, the 2.0 also monitors heart rate activity, registers gestures made on the controller and scans QR codes. Xbox Live is backed by a promised arsenal of more than 300,000 servers and boasts a new Reputation system that holds players accountable for their online actions, bringing gaming closer to the reasonable masses and further from those who curse out 12-year-olds for noobtubing in Call of Duty. Microsoft is also expanding its Achievements program, keeping owners glued to the machine by gifting achievements for executing simple tasks like listening to music or using Kinect. Initial concerns from gamers, mostly based on constant-online requirements and overly stern game sharing rules, have been quelled with the aggression expected from a team that realizes the competition is nipping at their heels. It's clear that though the One won’t reside in our living rooms till late November, Microsoft’s already set the mold for the next great home entertainment system should embody.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
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