Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox team at Microsoft took to the stage at a press event yesterday, held two days before the start of the mammoth E3 games conference. He revealed the most powerful – and expensive – console in the world. The New console, previously known as Project Scorpio, will challenge Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro.
Microsoft’s new Xbox model is named Xbox One X, and it’ll ship on 7 November with a $499/£449 price tag, the company has revealed. Smaller than the previous Xbox One models, and featuring a sleek, minimalist black design, the machine updates the technical specifications of the series, but is compatible with all current games.
Featuring a six teraflop graphics processor running at 1172 Mhz, 12GB of GDDR5 memory and a 2.3 Ghz custom central processing unit, it is significantly more powerful than the Xbox One S and crucially, the PlayStation 4 Pro, with its 4.2 teraflop graphics processing unit and 911 Mhz CPU.
Xbox One X also features a UHD Blu-ray player, a component missing from the PlayStation 4 Pro, and will play games in native 4K resolution, while supporting HDR lighting effects and Dolby Atmos surround sound. According to Xbox director of software engineering Kareem Choudhry, all Xbox games will enjoy enhanced visual fidelity and faster load times on the console.
Several major titles, including Gears of War 4, Resident Evil 7, Minecraft and Rocket League are all receiving free, specially enhanced upgrades to take full advantage of the extra power of the machine.
Xbox One X owners who don’t have a 4K television screen (why you would buy one and not have a 4K TV is beyond me) 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 and the brand new Xbox One X.
Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X represent a new era of mid-lifespan console upgrades. In the past, games consoles tended to be improved only in terms of size, such as the slimline PlayStations, or with larger hard drives. Some may argue that PS4 and Xbox One are effectively PCs, using familiar components and design architectures, so upgrading specifications can be relatively easy.
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