November 9, 2017
Microsoft finally released its latest and most powerful iteration of its Xbox One gaming console, the Xbox One X, on Nov. 7. Microsoft claims it’s a “true 4K gaming” machine and “the world’s most powerful console.”
Initially teased under the name “Project Scorpio,” at Microsoft’s conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2016, the Xbox One X was officially unveiled at E3 2017 as a higher-end version of the Xbox One, originally released in 2013 for the same starting price of $499.
In an exclusive interview earlier this year with gaming media site IGN, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox and executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft stated that the latest Xbox console was not a flagship device and indicated that it’s a “premium console.”
Spencer further explained in the interview that the Xbox One S, a more affordable and slimmer redesign of the Xbox One released in 2016, would be the company’s flagship gaming device.
The Xbox One X was revealed on stage as having a six teraflop graphical computing performance, which according to PC Magazine, is “a means of measuring raw graphical power.”
In addition, Microsoft revealed that the console has a faster processor and 12 gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM which, according to Microsoft, makes the new Xbox “40 percent more powerful” than any other competing console, ensuring it will have the highest graphical fidelity of any other game console out in the market.
Microsoft has also advertised that the Xbox One X will have “Xbox One X enhanced” titles: games that will see improvements in graphics, resolution, frame rate and loading times. On the official Xbox website, Microsoft has listed over 150 titles that will be enhanced for the One X.
Compared to its biggest competitor, Sony, who released a mid-generation refresh of the original PlayStation 4 released in 2016, Microsoft has an uphill battle to fight in the console space. In their second quarter financial results of 2017, Sony reported to have sold over 67.5 million PlayStation 4 units.
Microsoft has not released any sales figures for the Xbox One since they stopped releasing sales statistics in 2015. The last official sales figure that Microsoft released for the Xbox One sales number was 10 million units sold from their 2014 sales figures. Statista, an online statistics portal that provides “statistics and studies from more than 18,000 sources,” projected the sales of the Xbox One to be at over 25 million units sold in 2016.
While the PlayStation 4 has a large gap in sales, the Xbox One X has the edge in performance. Given its higher specced graphical performance — six teraflops vs the PlayStation 4 Pro’s 4.2 teraflops — the Xbox One X will be able to deliver more games running at 4K native resolution than the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Despite its advantage in power, not everyone is impressed with the Xbox One X, as some expressed disappointment with its game lineup and price.
In a Eurogamer article published in August, Martin Robinson noted the Xbox One’s lack of hit titles. “It needs new and exciting games and just one reason to make the Xbox One X essential: an Uncharted, or a Breath of the Wild, to make the console’s case for it. Forza Motorsport 7, as fine as it looks, doesn’t quite cut it. Alongside Gears of War and Halo, it feels like yesterday’s news.”
In an article published on Forbes, Paul Tassi added, “The Xbox One X does not seem like it will do enough to convince PS4 owners to make the switch, due to a lack of exclusives and a smaller player base.”
Tassi also criticized the console’s price point, claiming, “even if $500 might actually be a logical, even great price for the capabilities of the system, it’s still a $500 console in a market where its closest competition, PS4 Pro, is $100 less than that, and most consoles, including Microsoft’s own Xbox One S, are half the price instead.”
Amidst all the criticism, there is still hype for Microsoft’s newest console.
Cal State East Bay’s own GameZone, a room located in the Old University Union where students can play video games during their free time, could be acquiring the Xbox One X soon.
“We’ll most likely get it. We currently have the Xbox 360, the Xbox One and we would like to complete the family,” stated Jeremy Wong, a coordinator for the GameZone.
When asked about when the GameZone would get the new Xbox console, Wong added, “If there’s a significant amount of students who request it, we can definitely budget for it next year.”
“People are really excited for it. It’s the next big jump in console gaming,” said Michael Doherty, a gaming specialist at the Union City Best Buy. Doherty added that he was excited for the One X, claiming it offered “PC-like gaming on the couch,” being “obviously more powerful than the competition” and claimed it is “future proof.”
Doherty pointed out, however, that the PlayStation 4 has the advantage for its game selection and admitted that the Xbox One had a sparse lineup of first party and exclusive games. Despite this, Doherty stated that the new Xbox would be the best console to play new hit titles coming out in the holidays such as “Call of Duty: WWII” or “Star Wars Battlefront II,” given its power advantage.
The Xbox One X is listed for a retail price of $499 with an inclusion of a one TB hard drive. No included game bundles have been announced.