The Xbox One has had a hard time of it in recent years, early teething problems, unpopular creative decisions and a decided lack of exclusive AAA titles threatened to ostracise the Microsoft faithful and resulted in the Xbox One holding a second place to Sony’s Playstation 4 for the majority of its lifetime. Last year saw the release of the Xbox One S, a smaller, streamlined redesign of the Xbox One with native support for 4K video and the ability to upscale older Xbox One titles, with this however also came the promise of something muncher bigger on the horizon, it’s name at that time, Project Scorpio, now known to us as Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X is a tantalising prospect to the avid gamer, the most powerful games console ever constructed, capable of delivering native 4K video output and the ability to convey HDR colour, an impressive 6 teraflop GPU to facilitate games that will convey a new benchmark in realism and immersion, to give an unparalleled gaming experience unlike any other in the console gaming market, outmatching Sony’s PlayStation Pro in graphical processing power and its lack of 4K blu-ray support, but here’s the rub, it ain’t cheap. Firstly, to enjoy Xbox One X you will need a 4K television with HDR-10 capability to completely enjoy what this remarkable console has to offer, anything less would be fairly pointless if you are about to part ways with a good £500 for a new console only to connect it to a TV that won’t do it justice and that is the next issue, the Xbox One X on its own will set you back £450, this may sound expensive on paper but when you factor in the power of this home entertainment system, the fact you will also have a 4K blu-ray player to boot, it is actually great value for money. Now if you have the capability to support Xbox One X, should you invest? If you own only an original Xbox One then wholeheartedly yes, if you stumped for an Xbox One S there may be less of an incentive to upgrade again so soon.
When playing a game for the first time on Xbox One X, it is an astonishing experience. I loaded up and tried both Gears Of War 4 & Assassins Creed: Origins and the 4K effect is jaw-droppingly palpable. The visuals are remarkably clear and astonishingly vibrant thanks to HDR doing its thing. Simple things like traversing the desert in AC:O to see heat shimmer and plumes of sand blow in the wind is incredible to behold for the first time, I really can’t emphasise this enough, it’s a new benchmark in console gaming. Yes, 4K upgrades files for games are large and if you have a broadband limit, as a contributing factor, this may not be the console for you but the effort is most certainly worth it. The machine works fast, load times on some older games is significantly improved, it is whisper quiet even when working full pelt and takes up significantly less storage space beneath your TV than it’s older counterpart. The added bonus of the machine acting as a 4K blu-ray player cannot be discounted either, I watched The Revenant through it as a test because it is such a beautiful film anyway, it is utterly jaw-dropping in 4K and the Xbox One X does the task admirably despite early complaints to the contrary which Microsoft promptly resolved with an update.
In my humble opinion, the Xbox One X is going to do huge business for Microsoft, it really is an incredible piece of technology and if you have the TV and money to spend on it, you could do a lot worse in a new console purchase. It is still early days for the Xbox One X and the dawn of true 4K home console gaming but my god has it made one hell of a first impression.