Xbox One X Will I be getting One?
After watching the E3 briefing last week I have to admit that I was only after two things, one a release date and two the price tag...
But with Microsoft’s press conference being broadcast on a late Sunday Evening (UK), with work the next day, I was hoping that the price would not be too long coming, but of course to gather publicity the price reveal was at the end - typical!
To cut a long story short I have to admit that at the time I remember thinking that the Xbox One X name was not too bad, it could be better, but it could also be worse, however I think the original placeholder title name of Scorpio will be hard to shake off.
In terms of the release date I was also a tad disappointed that it was not arriving earlier or at a price closer to £400, but months ago I guesstimated the console may come out at £500, so the price point on reflection is not that bad....
Especially given in the PC world to get a graphics card capable of reaching native 4K, at Ultra settings with 60FPS would cost about £600+.
Will I get one?
For me I got hold of my Hisense 4K TV last year and I would have potentially looked at the PS4 Pro at the time but it’s omission of the ULTRA-HD Blu-ray player was what stopped me in the end, not because I was reliant solely on the player, but mainly because I wanted the option and I did not want to have the Pro and a separate player taking up my limited TV cabinet space.
However with the Xbox One X, given what I witnessed in the press reveal and have subsequently seen on sites such as Digital foundry, my thoughts are now firmly set on going for the console day one. It’s something I have never done before as I normally wait, but here are a few reasons why I am still excited about getting the console asap.
While I won’t go into too much detail here (for legal reasons more than anything), let’s just say I have a little insight into the true power of this console, having been lucky enough to have taken a gander at the dev kit and spoken to some of the developers who are actually making games for the platform.
One developer mentioned, without any prompting I must add, that his game could easily do 4K at 60FPS and he sounded pretty confident, so who am I to argue.
That’s not to say all games will run at native 4K 60, but visually most games should get a big boost while maintaining more stable frame rates.
From a technical point of view I’ve also been impressed by how much thought process has gone into the making of the console. The custom 8 core Jaguar CPU for example will provide compatibility for the other consoles in the family but at the same time it also aids 4K gaming with its various optimisations to improve latency or in laymen’s terms the time needed for the CPU to do tasks has been reduced (albeit it helps if games are using DX12).
Of course you also have 12GB of DDR5 RAM and 9GB of this will be made available to game developers. Finally you have improved raw GPU power, plenty of bandwidth and faster loading times for games.
The latter is a big drawback of the current generation of titles (anyone remember Ryse – ed) and so it’s good to see that the console has been optimised to address some of these issues.
Of course you also have the Entertainment side built in, with 4K streaming services like Netflix and so forth, but at least I will have the option of the ULTRA-HD Blu-ray player now because while Sony would love you to believe that 4K streaming is the future, it certainly isn't if your Internet connection is not up to par. At least I can get 4K local playback of my favourite films if I want it.
The power is also even more impressive given just how small the console is in comparison to even the Xbox One S - which is small as it is. This means I will have additional space under my TV to play with.
Unlike the PS4 Pro the Xbox One X does not have a separate toggle option to enhance existing games already on the platform, as the so called boost mode is on by default. This means that 900/1080P games will be boosted to 4K, via some form of upscaling, and games should run at more stable frame rates, with a bonus of the extra hard drive bandwidth making games supposedly run faster.
So while 40+ games were revealed for the Xbox One X and not all will have a ton of optimisations at this point, at least most of my existing backlog of games will work with a boost mode already taken care of.
Then you have the 360 and soon to be released original Xbox back compact titles to sync your teeth into. While I don’t tap into all of my old gaming library as such, I have enjoyed using some of them and this is the whole point that Sony seem to miss, it’s not about using the feature all the time, it’s just nice to have the option.
Additionally like other websites may have mentioned the Xbox One X should help boost games on the PS4 Pro and vice versa as there will now be two consoles which can supposedly handle 4K gaming. So theoretically more developers will likely want to get there games running on the improved consoles in comparison to before.
You could argue that the PS4 Pro’s lower spec may bring down the Xbox One X, as Digital Foundry discovered that even with all the extra power of the console some of the E3 reveal games were running with some form of checker board rendering, but I think this is early days to keep development costs down and Sony’s use of this technology still produces amazing results (Horizon Zero Dawn for example) so this is not going to be too much of a worry for Xbox owners. For the most part I think the majority of Xbox One X games will start off with similar Sony techniques (with extra visual touches), then after a while games will start to tap into the raw power of the console as more and more developers get on-board.
1080P TV Owners
Even if you don’t have a 4K TV the console will also provide built-in super sampling which means more visible detail and smoother edges for the games, and as mentioned before you will be able to get into the action faster with more efficient loading times.
In some ways the price tag could still put people off from buying the Xbox One X but I think the biggest problem is actually the ghosts of Microsoft’s past (remember the original Xbox One issues and U-turns). However with Phil Spencer on-board I believe they have got it right with the Xbox One X and it should provide more future proofing than the previous incarnations.
So for me it’s another leap of faith and one that I think will pay off. Besides my Xbox one is also coming up to the 4 year old mark by the time the Xbox One X comes out, so it makes sense to upgrade now so I can make better use of my 4K TV. Plus I can also give my sister the original Xbox, so we are all winners!
On the other hand if you have an Xbox One S this makes things a little more complicated, but my advice would be to wait a tad longer for the Xbox One X exclusive titles to fitter through more and then upgrade, as the S model does provide plenty of 4K options on its own at a fraction of the cost.
Either way I’m still going for it and can’t wait to see if the gamble pays off!