Project Scorpio (Xbox One X).
After months of speculation, Microsoft is unveiling its “Project Scorpio” games console today, and it’s officially named Xbox One X. Microsoft’s Xbox One X naming comes just days after the company trademarked a mysterious S logo,
and started dropping Scorpio hints in its E3 teaser videos. Microsoft is planning to launch the Xbox One X on November 7th worldwide
All existing Xbox One accessories will work on the new Xbox One X alongside all existing Xbox 360 backwards compatible titles and Xbox One games. Microsoft is planning to use “super sampling” on the One X to make new games look better even on 1080p TVs.
The new console will ship with 6 teraflops of graphical power, more than its main competitor, the PS4 Pro, with 4.2 teraflops. Microsoft is using a custom GPU engine on Scorpio that runs at 1172MHz,
a big increase over the Xbox One’s 853MHz and even Sony’s 911MHz found on the PS4 Pro. The Company is also shipping the Xbox One X with an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive for 4K movies and entertainment, and 1TB of storage.
Microsoft has previously promised that 900p and 1080p Xbox One games should be able to run at native 4K on the Xbox One X, and that existing Xbox One and 360 games will see a noticeable performance boost. Scorpio also features liquid-cooled vapor-chamber cooling inside, a technology that’s used on high-end PC gaming cards like the GTX 1080.
Microsoft says the new Xbox One X is the “smallest Xbox ever,”
and the black design looks very similar to the existing Xbox One S model. The rear of Microsoft’s new console is based on the Xbox One S,
with a HDMI-in port and no dedicated Kinect port. There aren’t many external changes over the Xbox One S design, and the X simply gets a little smaller. For now, Microsoft is only shipping the Xbox One X with the black design and 1TB of storage.
Several major titles, including Gears of War 4, Resident Evil 7 and Rocket Leagueare all receiving free,
specially enhanced upgrades to take fuller advantage of the extra power of the machine. Choudhry also claimed that Xbox One X owners who don’t have a 4K television screen will still get an enhanced visual experience,
via a technique known as supersampling, which reduces native 4K assets for HD TV displays. Microsoft reiterated that there will be no Xbox One X exclusive titles – games will ship with versions of the code that will run on original Xbox One machines,
Xbox One S (which offers 4K video and HDR) and Xbox One X.
The new Xbox One X will now debut worldwide on November 7th, priced at $499, which is around 32K-35K in India.
The price point has also been questioned. While most sites agree that the 4K performance of the machine compares extremely well with a gaming PC of the same price it’s $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4 Pro was when it launched last November. Some pundits are predicting that Sony may announce a price drop for the Pro at its own E3 press conference on Monday evening – perhaps even to $250.
Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X represent a new era of mid-lifespan console upgrades. In the past, machines tended to be improved only in terms of form factor,
such as the slim line PlayStations, or with larger hard drives. However, the regular “tick-tock” life cycles of major mobile phone manufacturers, with new versions appearing every 18 months,
have prepared consumers for shorter or simultaneous product lifespans. Also, both PS4 and Xbox One are effectively PCs,
using familiar components and design architectures, so upgrading specifications is relatively easy,
compared to updating unique, proprietary solutions such as PlayStation 3’s Cell processor. The arrival of technologies such as 4K television and consumer virtual reality also came after the launch of the two latest machines from Sony and Microsoft so the manufacturers are having to play catch up.
Xbox One has also fallen behind PlayStation 4 in sales terms,
so Microsoft is looking to boost its brand by releasing the most powerful console of a generation. The question is, at $499, how many hardcore gamers will purchase one? Market Analyst IHS Digital is predicting 500,000 Xbox One sales this year. In a report posted by the firm, games director Piers Harding-Rolls stated: “Crucially, we do not believe that, at this stage,
Xbox One X is a device to re-ignite Xbox One sales in continental Europe and to gain market share from Sony in key sales territories outside of USA and UK.”
A lot will depend a lot on the graphics performance of new games heading to Xbox One. At its press event, Microsoft showed 42 titles, 22 of which were exclusives. If major new titles such as Assassin’s Creed Origins, Anthem and Metro Exodus look significantly better on Xbox One X,
the machine could establish itself as the premium choice for the “hardcore” audience. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 Pro can handle 4K movies,
but only a fraction of games run in native 4K resolution.
Of course, what Microsoft really could have done with was a major first-party exclusive to show off the power of the console.
Aside from Forza Motorsport 7 nothing was revealed in this calibre. A new Halo title with HDR effects and 4K resolution,
running at 60 frames per second would have perhaps made that $499 seem reasonable. As it stands, it may prove a luxury purchase until – inevitably – the price tumbles.