With the dust slowly settling after Microsoft’s announcement of the Xbox One X today, it’s time to reflect on who exactly this console is meant for and what Microsoft aims to achieve with its release.
Touted as the world’s most powerful console, the Xbox One X is the console the PlayStation 4 Pro wished is could have been. Unfortunately, all this power comes at a great cost (R7499 to be exact), R500 more than the PlayStation 4 Pro. And while the price difference is a lot less than I initially anticipated, the question still remains: who is going to buy it?
You see, the Xbox One X might be the most powerful console currently on the market but it still falls squarely into the 8th generation of consoles. This basically means that it has to either convert current PlayStation 4 owners or convince current Xbox One and One S owners to buy what is essentially a more powerful version of what they already own.
We know that Sony has the largest install base of this generation and convincing PlayStation 4 owners to switch to the Xbox One X so far into this generation’s cycle will prove difficult. So who does that leave? The few out there who still have to switch from the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3? Even is Microsoft can convince them to switch over to the new console, it probably won’t translate into nearly enough sales to make it profitable. Throw in the fact that many gamers out there have yet to buy a 4K TV and you start to wonder, just as in the case of the PlayStation 4 Pro, who exactly the console’s target market is.
Granted, I do agree that there are some hardcore gamers out there who place stable frame rates and visual fidelity above all else. For them, the Xbox One X is a more than viable option. There is no doubt that games such as Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Forza 7 will look absolutely gorgeous on the new console, but is this enough to convince the consumer to invest in another console, especially in this trying economic environment?
Imagine yourself, if you will, an uninformed parent /consumer standing in front of a shelf stacked with PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles. Both push themselves as being 4K capable (although the Pro does not run in native 4K). It’s quite obvious that you would most probably go for the cheaper PlayStation 4 Pro option, as would many other’s out there.
Now I’m not saying that the Xbox One X is doomed to fail. The console in itself is a marvel of engineering and Microsoft should be commended for not only fitting such a powerful piece of hardware into such a tiny case but also making it a lot more affordable than many initially anticipated. What I am saying is that releasing the Xbox One X mid-cycle might make it a hard sell. Especially with rumours suggesting that Sony might probably be announcing a price drop for the Pro at their E3 2017 conference.
What might have made the Xbox One X reveal more impressive is if Microsoft had announced another major first party exclusive game to showcase the console’s power. If Microsoft wants to sell the console to hardcore gamers they really need to have the games available for it at launch. I still believe if Microsoft would have shown a new Halo game running on the console in glorious 4K it might have convinced more gamers that this might just be the future of gaming.
The Xbox One X certainly has the power advantage. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just up to Microsoft to show off what the console is truly capable of.