Microsoft announced its next gaming console, aka the Xbox One X, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. The Xbox One X – Microsoft's much-awaited Project Scorpio – is being touted as the world's first true 4K console and will be available for buying from November 7 for a price of $499. On Monday at Gamescom, the Redmond major kicked off the pre-orders for the Xbox One X, via both online and offline channels, like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, including Microsoft's own e-retail website. At the same time, the company announced a limited period Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition for tech nerds who'd prefer a more cosmetically enhanced version of the Xbox One Day One Edition.
As mentioned earlier, the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition is a cosmetically enhanced Xbox One X that features a slightly more gradient design, and of course the Project Scorpio codename etched on both the console as well on the controller. The retail box, in case of Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition, will also carry a gigantic X pattern reminiscent of the original Xbox. Microsoft did not announce a number but confirmed all initial units up for grabs will be a Project Scorpio Edition, and will sell for the same price as the Xbox One Day One Edition.
Moving on, Microsoft – at its Gamescom press conference – also announced that the company now has over 100 games ready and enhanced for the Xbox One X. This means that these games – ranging from Dishonored 2 to Fallout 4 to Injustice 2 to Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands – have been updated to make use of the Xbox One X's blazing power, as well as bringing 4K and HDR support. Games that have been updated for the new platform will carry an 'enhanced' logo thereby indicating that they've been updated to fit with more assets, a higher resolution, and better frame rates over the non-enhanced version.
Not only is the Xbox One X the most powerful gaming console in the world, it is also the smallest Xbox ever, according to Microsoft. To recall, Microsoft had first announced Project Scorpio at E3 last year. It was all but a mere idea at that point of time.
The first signs that Project Scorpio was in fact the real deal came in early April when Microsoft revealed the console's full spec-sheet. Only its name, design and price were kept under the wraps at that point of time.
The Xbox One X, it has now come to light, will look a lot like Microsoft's incumbent Xbox One S console, and will start shipping world-wide on November 7 later this year. Although there is no word on the India launch right now, it could be in the weeks that follow the global launch.
Microsoft, at its Gamescom press conference, announced that the company now has over 100 games ready and enhanced for the Xbox One X
The Xbox One X may not be a next-generation console, but, the mid-cycle Xbox refresh from Microsoft has enough horsepower under the hood to grant it the label of being the most powerful gaming console in the world when it arrives later this year. It looks even powerful than the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro right now. At least that's what the console's on-paper specs seem to suggest. Take a look.
– CPU: Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz as opposed to eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz in Sony's PS4 Pro
– GPU: 40 customised compute units at 1,172 MHz as opposed to 36 improved GCN compute units at 911 MHz in the PS4 Pro
– RAM: 12GB GDDR5 (with 9GB dedicated to games) as opposed to 8GB in the PS4 Pro
– Bandwidth: 326 GB/s as opposed to 218 GB/s in the PS4 Pro
– Storage: 1TB
The Xbox One X will ship with 6 teraflops of graphical power. Its main competitor, the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro – for your reference – ships with 4.2 teraflops of graphical power under the hood. It will (also) ship with a UHD Blu-ray drive. Note that, although Sony's PS4 Pro supports 4K – not natively, however – it does not include a UHD Blu-ray drive.
Scorpio's – the engine that drives the Xbox One X – main USP is making your existing Xbox One and backwards compatible-enabled Xbox 360 games look better. In more technical terms, the Xbox One X should allow players to run all 900p and 1080p Xbox One (backwards compatible-enabled 360) titles at native 4K, at full 60 frames-per-second. Which means, all existing Xbox One titles should look better on the Xbox One X due to enhanced visual fidelity, anisotropic filtering, and faster loading times. The new console will also work with all current Xbox One accessories, Microsoft has confirmed.
Although, 4K will largely be the buzzword, all Scorpio-exclusive games (although it's highly unlikely that there will be any) will super sample down to 1080p and all Scorpio-exclusive game modes (should there be any) will be available for all users regardless of their display. Technically, players will not require a 4K-ready monitor to use the Xbox One X. The console will use supersampling to improve visuals on 1080p screens, while offering true 4K UHD playback on 4K screens.
Native 4K rendering is just one aspect. Because the console will be able to achieve it "with power to spare" the system can focus, at the same time, on "other visual improvements." Faster load times, smoother performance with reduced screen tearing, and improved texture filtering will be some of the key improvements. Scorpio, at the same time, will allow players to capture 4K, 60fps videos and what Microsoft is calling, Retroactive screen captures to extract precise screenshots.
Spatial surround sound, will meanwhile, help in giving 7.1 setups a boost (it will also be unlockable in the Xbox One). The new console will support Dolby Atmos for gaming, Dolby Atmos for headphones in addition to a proprietary format called HRTF – developed by the HoloLens team – giving a mix reality angle to the Scorpio story.
Microsoft will offer a "very easy way" to transfer your settings from Xbox One to Xbox One X allowing you to copy games and apps directly off your home network
The console, because it's so powerful, also features a one-of-its-kind – Hovis – vapor-chamber cooling technology used on high-end PC gaming cards like the Nvidia GTX 1080. The technology is also said to keep noise levels low during extended game-play. There's also a custom built adapted centrifugal fan on-board for heat expulsion.
As mentioned earlier, the Xbox One X uses the Xbox One S as reference design, complete with an integrated power supply unit – a 245 watt internal power supply to be precise – and a standard figure-eight power socket. There's HDMI but no Kinect port.
Microsoft, at its E3 keynote, had announced 42 new games for the Xbox One family of consoles – the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X – with 20 plus being Xbox-exclusive titles. It showed off Forza Motorsport 7, running at native 4K and 60fps, on the Xbox One X for instance, along side the global reveal of games like Assassin's Creed Origins, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Dragonball Fighter Z, State of Decay 2 and more.
The Xbox One X isn't meant for everybody, but, it sure as heck is the future of gaming. Microsoft would like to think it got there first, but at what cost? The Xbox One X – in typical Xbox fashion – starts at $499 (which roughly translates to Rs 32,118) and would sound ridiculous to all but die-hard Xbox fans. Microsoft, it should be known, isn't new to such ridiculous pricing. The original Xbox One, when it was launched in 2013, cost on similar lines only to receive a price cut later on.
At this point of time, the Xbox One X seems nothing but an added luxury, for those who fancy 'true' 4K UHD gaming on a console form factor. In a way, it is pretty similar to Sony's PS4 Pro. Only more powerful, and more expensive. But while Sony isn't looking to make a lot of exclusives (at least, not for now), Microsoft is promising a good catalogue – of exclusives – that should work on both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X. The company will have, at least, two such games – Forza Motorsport and Crackdown 3 – ready by the time the new console hits the shelves, the company had announced at E3. More titles will come sooner or later.
But while Crackdown 3 has now been delayed to next year, Forza Motorsport 7 will debut before the Xbox One X leaving the most powerful console in the world without a major Xbox-exclusive title on launch day.
Microsoft may go to great lengths to say how it will offer a "very easy way" to transfer your settings from Xbox One to Xbox One X allowing you to copy games and apps directly off your home network – also all your Xbox One games stored on an external drive will work on Xbox One X via plug and play – but, come to think of it, at this point of time, the Xbox One X seems way ahead of its time. Microsoft, unless it outs more games and brings mix reality into the picture, will have trouble selling its new console to buyers. At least, in the initial run.