Whilst Microsoft have been lauding the benefits of their new Xbox One X, I have been sitting back trying to formulate my opinion of the console. Most people who watched their E3 conference will have said it was disappointing despite more games being shown than ever before. Something just doesn’t quite sit right about this new console and that is coming from someone who was very much in the Xbox camp in the previous console generation. Will Microsoft be able to convince millions to come back to Xbox?
What Is The Strategy?
Whilst the Xbox One X boasts some rather impressive specifications it is really hard to understand the strategy for the console. Is the mass market truly ready for a 4K console or are Microsoft facing an uphill battle against rivals, Playsation? Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, says that people shouldn’t compare the Xbox One X console to the PS4 Pro, especially on price but ultimately, people will when the output of the console is so similar.
But let’s ignore this potentially fatal flaw by Microsoft, let’s say that the Xbox One X is a more premium product. Then who are those people that would choose to buy an Xbox One X over let’s say, a cheap home build gaming PC solution. Output would surely be quite similar and the PC solution would allow for upgrading at technology advance. The boxed unit is not so flexible and you could argue that it doesn’t need to be but if we are elevating the stature of this console then its competitors will be the PC market. I’m not convinced these gamers are looking for an all in one solution with minimal fuss. The majority of these people are tech savvy enough to customise and maintain their technology so maybe Microsoft’s targeting is a little misguided?
If we were to reverse the scenario and say that the Xbox One X is on par with the PS4 Pro then the issue here is the price tag. Whilst the specs on the console appear to be quite drastic there’s a good chance that the visible results will be negligible since game developers could decide to optimise cross platforms games to the same standard, leaving the horsepower of the Xbox One X left untapped. So then the real question is does this justify the console being £100 more expensive than its similar counterpart? Probably not, but nevertheless some people will buy the console regardless of price.
From my perspective, it looks like Microsoft have tried to target a group customers between the £350 price point of the PS4 Pro and the £500/£600 required to build out a lower end gaming PC. That is a very narrow market, not to mention this is further segmented by the requirement of having a 4K TV to take full advantage of the console. 4K TV’s are by no means a widely-accepted technology in the modern household which leaves me scratching my head a little. Microsoft can see something I can’t and in many ways, that is why they are in the driving seat and I’m just some guy writing my opinions. Let’s just hope Microsoft end up being right with their decisions!
A Console For Gamers?
Microsoft look to have learnt from previous mistake by showcasing a huge selection of games at E3. Whilst it was branded as being the most diverse range of games they have ever shown, it still felt like the games were too similar. There was no real ‘Wow!’ moment that made me think, ‘I need this console on launch day’. Maybe that was by design with further reveals expected to make an appearance in the remaining gaming expo’s before the Xbox One X’s release this November but as it stands, there is no reason to buy unless you are a huge Xbox fan.
The games I would like to see in 4K largely have been included and it is great to see some of the current games I own will be getting a 4K update but considering these are cross console then there is a huge hurdle to overcome to get the players to upgrade to the Xbox One X console. Assassin’s Creed, Forza and other will not be the way they do that. New exclusives and impressive new IP’s is the only way this is going to happen for Xbox!
That said, I do believe the visuals from this console will only be appreciated by the beholder. Watching people playing this game on a non 4K screen is not doing the console justice and maybe I will have to eat my own words when this happens but the graphics will have to be pretty special to convince me to spend £450 on the console and most probably another £400 on a 4K TV!
Playing The Waiting Game
Whilst everything above makes perfect sense to me, it is only one man’s opinion. I realise I was on of the many people who saw negatives in Nintendo’s Switch console when it was announced suggesting the console could suffer a similar fate. Look how wrong I was there, now I’m a Switch owner and loving the console. Will the Xbox One X replicate a similar fortune? Only time will tell and maybe the holiday period will be it’s best time to thrive with potential for 4K TV to further penetrate the market. Either way, I am watching this console closely. Even if I sound negative on it at the moment, that could change in the blink of an eye when the console finally release in November!