Every year there is a big Tech Expo in America called E3. Lots of companies announce cool stuff and this year Microsoft announced a new Xbox; the Xbox One X. This is the third iteration of the Xbox One, behind the original launch model and the Xbox One S, which was a smaller form factor, supported 4K BD playback and had a boost in performance. The Xbox One X is an entirely different kettle of fish though, it has a massive boost in performance and really heralds the start of 4K gaming on consoles.
4K, also known as UHD, is becoming more ubiquitous in television sets. It’s now possible to pick a good (branded) 50 inch 4K telly for around £500, and given a year of two, the older style of HD television will be harder to find in stores. It isn’t all about the resolution though.
If you don’t have a 4K telly, the Xbox One X has several tricks up it’s sleeve to keep you keen. Firstly it’s entirely backwards compatible with the Xbox One and Xbox One S games and peripherals. Remember when you used to upgrade to a new console and had to by all new controllers and add ons? No more. It can also use it’s extra power to make games smoother on a standard HD TV. This is done by upping the frame rate and fixing the resolution at 1080P, something that the PS4 Pro (Sony’s updated version of the PS4) does but given how much more powerful the Xbox One X is (50% more graphical power, 50% more memory), it will be much more of a noticeable step up.
As an Xbox One owner already, you might think the Xbox One X isn’t something I’d be interested in but as soon as the preorders open, I’ll be putting my name down for one for several reasons. Firstly, Xbox are BRILLIANT at backwards compatibility. All Xbox One games will work on the Xbox One X. Over 300 Xbox 360 games currently work on the Xbox One, they will all work too. Loads of original Xbox games are coming to Xbox One (X). In short I get to keep my collection of games, lots of which will get boosts to look better and play smoother.
That’s good but the real kicker is as a parent, I can pass my Xbox One down to my kids. XBox has absolutely brilliant parental controls (a quantum above Playstations), that allow me to set sub accounts up for my kids, and also share my library of digital games with them. If I have my “old” Xbox One set up as my primary machine, all my free Games for Gold titles, and anything I’ve bought a digital copy of in the Xbox Store, are going to be accessible to the kids.
This is great for several reasons: currently I have to fight for game time on “my” Xbox One with three children. I also have to be careful about age inappropriate material on the console in case they log in to my profile (it’s now password protected but they’re canny). On “their” Xbox One, I’ll only install the things I want them to have access to, and if they’re not gaming, they can use it to watch Now TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime or the iPlayer.
Yes, the entrance price for a new Xbox One X is high (£450) but not excessively high given the benefits if already owning an Xbox One, or if you’re looking to upgrade from an old Xbox 360 with a large collection of games you’ll still be able to play. The price isn’t hugely more than the (current price of) PS4 Pro but if you wanted to look at a PC for gaming, you’d not get much for an equivalent price (my gaming rig, which is a couple of years old now cost considerably more than the Xbox One X).
Roll on preorders!