Microsoft's latest Xbox One is the most powerful console on the market, but what does that really mean?
Teased for quite some time under the name Project Scorpio, the Xbox One X was officially revealed during Microsoft's press conference at E3 2017. Unlike traditional console releases, Xbox One X is not a complete departure from Microsoft's current Xbox One platform, but simply a more powerful version of it. Of course, power can mean a number of different things, from higher frame rates and smoother performance to 4K resolutions and fancier graphical effects.
How any particular game takes advantage of Xbox One X's extra power is ultimately up to the game's developer. If a game does leverage the extra muscle of Xbox One X, it'll be marked as an "Xbox One X Enhanced" game. Similarly, if a title supports HDR colour or 4K Ultra HD resolution, this will be displayed on both its physical packaging and on its game page in the Xbox Store.
A number of Xbox One X Enhanced games have already been announced, including the following:
- Assassin's Creed: Origins
- Call of Duty: WWII
- Crackdown 3
- Forza Motorsport 7
- Madden NFL 18
- Metro Exodus
- Middle-earth: Shadow of War
- Need for Speed: Payback
- Sea of Thieves
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- State of Decay 2
- Super Lucky's Tale
One thing to remember is that some games may choose to ignore the additional power of Xbox One X altogether, looking and playing much the same on both Xbox One and Xbox One X. This is because Microsoft is not requiring developers to support Xbox One X in the same way Sony does with the PS4 Pro. This could potentially lead to a dearth of games taking full advantage of Xbox One X, so keep that in mind if you're considering upgrading to the new console.
Will my ordinary Xbox One games work on Xbox One X?
Yes. All past, present and future Xbox One games will play just as well, if not better, on Xbox One X. This is thanks to the increased power of Xbox One X, which grants existing games higher visual fidelity and faster load times right off the bat. Even better, some game developers are going back and patching their existing games to take full advantage of the Xbox One X hardware, resulting in even greater improvements to visuals and performance.
The following games are some of the existing games due to receive Xbox One X enhanced patches:
- Gears of War 4
- Forza Horizon 3
- Killer Instinct
- Halo Wars 2
- Final Fantasy XV
- Resident Evil 7
- Ghost Recon: Wildlands
- Rocket League
Additionally, Microsoft has promised that, for the time being at least, no new games can be made exclusively for Xbox One X. Everything will need to run on both standard Xbox One and Xbox One X hardware, which means current Xbox One owners won't need to worry about missing out on new games for the foreseeable future.
What's all this about 4K?
The Xbox One X is a console built for 4K resolution entertainment. 4K is a smidge less than 4 times the size of regular 1080p HD resolution, which effectively translates to a higher level of detail in images and video. For comparison, the base level Xbox One and PS4 consoles are limited to 1080p, and sometimes games run lower than that at 900p and 720p. In the worst cases, this can result in games looking slightly blurry.
Xbox One X can support resolutions all the way up to 4K. However, rendering games in 4K requires a whole lot of power, and although Microsoft has shown off games like Forza Horizon 7 maintaining a steady 60fps at 4K, some games may run at lower resolutions and use techniques like half-resolution and sparse rendering to achieve a sort of pseudo-4K that may or may not look quite as good. We'll have to wait until Xbox One X Enhanced games start coming out to determine whether the difference between full-blown 4K and pseudo 4K is noticeable.
What if I don't have a 4K TV?
While Xbox One X is geared towards 4K, Microsoft insists that 1080p TV owners will still see a marked improvement in visual quality and performance. For starters, any boost to frame rate Xbox One X enjoys over the Xbox One will be apparent regardless of what resolution your TV is. Additionally, Xbox One X can use a technique known as super-sampling to improve image quality on 1080p TVs. This basically amounts to the Xbox One X rendering a game in 4K, then scaling it down to 1080p while still retaining a lot of the extra graphical detail. For an idea of what this looks like in practice, check out Windows Central's comprehensive image comparison.
What are the specs?
|CPU||8 custom x86 cores running at 2.3GHz|
|GPU||6 teraflops with 40 customised compute units running at 1172MHz|
|Memory||12GB of GDDR5 RAM|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray/DVD drive|
Will my Xbox One accessories work with Xbox One X?
Yes, all Xbox One accessories are fully compatible with Xbox One X.
How much will the Xbox One X cost and when is it coming out?
The Xbox One X will retail for $649 in Australia when it launches on November 7.
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