During last night’s E3 press conference, Microsoft unveiled the finished version of its long-awaited half-step console. Dubbed “Xbox One X,” this high-powered gaming machine is designed for full-on 4K gaming and media playback. And when it ships on November 7th, it’ll cost $499 — twice that of the current Xbox One S.
The console formerly known as Scorpio is Microsoft’s answer to the PS4 Pro, and a compelling offering for gamers with deep pockets. After the somewhat disastrous original Xbox One launch, Redmond has learned its lesson about cutting corners. With a UHD Blu-ray drive, Dolby Atmos support, and blazing internals, Xbox head Phil Spencer isn’t fooling around.
Going in, we had a fairly good idea of what the specs would look like. We’re getting a 6-teraflop GPU at 1.172GHz, a high-end liquid-cooled vapor chamber for heat management, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a whopping 326GB/s of memory bandwidth. By all accounts, these internals can provide honest-to-goodness 4K gameplay with proper high-res textures.
In comparison, the PS4 Pro is quite a bit weaker. There’s significantly less RAM, less memory bandwidth, and less powerful silicon in a rather bulky box — the tables have turned against Sony. At least that’s the way it seems on paper.
However, we’re still bullish on the PS4 Pro’s chances for continued success. While Sony’s console rarely delivers a native 4K resolution, the various rendering tricks on offer have minimized that issue. Sony had a whole year head-start, so 4K enthusiasts may have already aligned with PlayStation. And since Microsoft is launching the Xbox One X at 500 bucks, the Pro’s $400 price tag is easier to accept. Hell, Sony might even reduce the price later today to downplay Microsoft’s announcements.
First and foremost, new releases will be built to take advantage of the new hardware. Games like Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and Anthem are being developed with the extra horsepower in mind, so a 4K resolution and HDR support are to be expected.
As for existing Xbox One titles, many of them are getting full-scale Xbox One X patches much like we saw on the PS4 Pro. Spencer called out Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Killer Instinct, Halo Wars 2, and Minecraft as the first-party games that will be patched at no additional cost.
In addition, more than 30 third-party games like Resident Evil 7, Final Fantasy XV, and Rocket League will be getting patched. And even if your favorite Xbox One game isn’t going to get a patch, we can still expect some mild performance improvements to come along for free.
On the backwards compatibility front, all of the currently compatible Xbox 360 games will continue to work on the Xbox One. Even better, select original Xbox games, like Crimson Skies, will be making their way to the various Xbox One consoles — disc support and all. And since original Xbox emulation has been slow-going, this move from Microsoft will make it much easier for retro game fans to play some real classics. Our fingers are crossed for Jet Set Radio Future and MechAssault!