Microsoft formally announced the finalized version of its Project Scorpio experiments at E3 2017 this week, the result of which is the Doomsday Device Xbox One X console. Designed as a 4K-capable beast of a machine, Microsoft is boasting that it's the most powerful home console ever. It has gigaflops and liquid cooling! Certainly sounds advanced to me. So do you need one? Should Xbox One owners upgrade? Or is the X1X a PlayStation 4 Pro-like optional step up? Stephen Totilo at Kotaku explains your options.
“We’re all about 4K, as you know,” Microsoft’s Moore said near the kickoff of my demo. He pointed out that Xbox One S supports 4K streaming and Blu-Ray, but the X is the machine for doing 4K gaming. He pulled up a still shot of the eight million pixels that can fit in a 4K image, compared to the two million pixels you can see on an HD TV running a game in 1080p. Yep, it was definitely four times as many pixels. Xbox One X will do “supersampling” for people who connect the machine to a non-4K TV, which they say will crunch those eight million pixels into something that’ll still look better than 1080p.
Basically, my takeaway on all this is that if you're the kind of player who demands top visual fidelity from your gaming experience and you have the expensive hardware (4K television, Atmos surround sound, etc.) and expendable income to back it up, upgrading to the X1X is probably a no-brainer. Those who are unable or unwilling to throw down $499 just for extra pretty pixels and are happy with their existing television (which, by now, is most likely a 1080p or 720p set), then there's nothing essentially missing from the Xbox One ecosystem. There are no truly exclusive X1X games that will buzz in anger if you try to run them on a regular Xbox One. Like PS4 owners who haven't jumped up to the PS4 Pro, you're fine.
I'm not entirely convinced that either console needs a mid-generation upgrade. I'd rather see both upgraded consoles spend more time in the incubator and emerge as true next generation machines in a few years. Personally, I'm thoroughly enjoying this generation of games and am in no hurry to start all over again with a new console.
Totilo paints a picture of Microsoft executives trying really, really hard to sell him on the X1X, more so than I'm used to hearing about in this business. Usually these game consoles sell themselves, but like Sony with the PS4 Pro, Microsoft seems to be trying extra hard to justify why the X1X is necessary. That's salesmanship all around, of course; E3 exists to sell games to the market and the masses, and maybe I'm reading indicators that aren't there, but Microsoft's representatives come off a bit insecure about this product. I can't help but wonder about the internal sales projections. Behind closed doors, how successful do they expect it to be? The X1X was touted at the company's E3 2017 press conference as "the system you asked us to build" and while that may be true, is it the system that we asked to buy?