The Xbox One X lives up to its name as the most powerful gaming console on the market and as such, it finds itself in a strange predicament. The current generation of video game consoles is the most unique in that the industry has seen a rapid shift away from physical media and into digital and streaming offerings.
And just as that reality has opened the doors to games that can release in parts, or even unfinished, and to be continually evolving as live services, so to has the platforms themselves become as liquid. Most traditional generations of consoles have seen the primary hardware iterated upon as manufacturing becomes cheaper and tech evolves, leading to smaller, more user-friendly form factors replacing launch hardware. But in this generation, that idea has taken an evolutionary leap.
We’re now seeing new and more powerful versions of consoles within the same family and generation. Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro brought all-new features and hardware capabilities, allowing developers to support 4K resolution and HDR. Sort of. The specs of Sony’s top dog gaming console don’t really allow for true 4K gaming and the exact type of improvements many games may offer isn’t often clear from publishers supporting the Pro.
On the Microsoft side though, they jumped in with both feet from the very beginning and have been extremely transparent along the way. They wanted something legitimately better and something that’s substantially more powerful. The exact specs, what went into making the Xbox One X (previously dubbed Project Scorpio), and how it compares to other consoles on the market is clear. So to is what gamers can expect from video gamers that are Xbox One X enhanced.
And this brings us to the aforementioned predicament. The Xbox One X is the most powerful gaming console on the market, and 40% more powerful than its closest competitor. But it’s also still an Xbox One and not its successor. Every game that is playable on one is playable on the other and in that respect, it – like this current console generation – is ever inching closer to just being a PC. Add in Microsoft’s ‘Play Anywhere’ initiative where every one of their own published games going forward will also release on Windows 10 and the gap between traditional console and gaming PC is becoming increasingly blurred.
This also means that because the Xbox One X isn’t the start of new generation, most of its games do not benefit from the tech upgrade. There’s of course an argument to be made that even if the Xbox One X were the Xbox One 2 (or Xbox Two?) that since all games are made available digitally, it would essentially function as the same. Currently however, no game is made with the Xbox One X as the baseline. The original Xbox One, that was obsolete before it hit store shelves in 2013, is the baseline.
And that means not many games actually have 4K support with HDR and 60fps to really propel need for the Xbox One X.