Yesterday, Microsoft finally unveiled the Xbox One X. The Xbox One X is the most powerful console ever created and features 6 TFLOPS of power. Not only that, but it has 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM. Games look absolutely stunning on the console and it’s definitely a step above competing products like the PlayStation 4 Pro. It also gives many Steam setups a run for their money. While many outlets are droning on about Microsoft’s first-party lineup, let’s take a look at the Xbox One’s history.
When the Xbox One launched, the company had a stellar first-party lineup which Sony couldn’t touch. For years Microsoft showcased numerous true Xbox One exclusives like Sunset Overdrive. Unfortunately, due to the “resolutiongate” scandal, gamers were put off by the console. The same outlets didn’t discuss gameplay mechanics or how innovative it was—they made it a focus to highlight how it ran at only 900p on Xbox One.
Due to the fact that Microsoft put out an underpowered device, that’s the label which stuck with the console. Even if you ask gamers today, the main reason why they choose PlayStation 4 over Xbox One S is due to the fact that “games look better”. No matter how minuscule the difference, that power advantage is a significant selling point for Sony’s console. Recent studies also seem to validate this claim because gamers tend to buy titles which have great visuals. That’s the top concern the majority of American consumers have.
In order to win back gamers and third-party developers, Microsoft had to prove to the world that every third-party experience is better on Xbox One X…and that’s exactly what they did. During the conference, almost every third-party game had some sort of exclusivity agreement with Microsoft and was running at 4K on the console. First-party games like Forza Motorsport 7 were obviously showcases of 4K 60 FPS but the fact that so many other titles run at 4K—not upscaled 1440p—is exactly what Microsoft needed. They proved that the Xbox One X is a substantial leap over the PlayStation 4 Pro.
I also believe that one of the reasons why the Xbox One X will sell really well even at its $499 price point is because of the stigma associated with the standard Xbox One. Despite being console gamers, everyone wants the most powerful device. Phrases like “True 4K” and “Not Upscaled” resonate with consumers. One of the main reasons why many gamers didn’t purchase the PlayStation 4 Pro was because the way the company introduced their device didn’t make it clear as to why anyone should upgrade. It didn’t offer native 4K for the majority of games. Suspicious phrases like “checkboarding” and “upscaling” were the highlight of the event. Considering that such phrases were associated with the Xbox One, there’s this notion that the PlayStation 4 Pro isn’t as powerful as it should have been. This is exactly the problem Microsoft experienced with the Xbox One.
Many Xbox One gamers will want to upgrade to an Xbox One X because of this. While it may not attract as many Xbox One S owners, those who own the rather bulky original will definitely be tempted. This is their opportunity to purchase a truly extraordinary device—a device the Xbox One should’ve been to begin with. Loving a brand and being dissatisfied with their current offering is a powerful motivator to upgrade. This is also part of the reason why the Nintendo Switch is so popular after the failure of the Wii U.
In the coming months—leading up to November 7—Microsoft needs to keep on reinforcing how all third-party games run better on Xbox One X. This is what the console was made for and this is why it’ll sell. The company tried pushing out compelling exclusives for years but failed to generate console sales. This should’ve been their approach to begin with. This is the only way the Xbox One X will be the go-to console for all gamers because it’ll offer the absolutely best version of third-party experiences. Microsoft can focus on first-party games in 2018. This year is all about Xbox One X and how it’s the best place to play due to its technical superiority over the PlayStation 4 Pro.