Mike Ybarra recently gave an interview to TechRadar where he revealed some interesting details about Xbox One X. To start off, Ybarra compared the console to a $1,500 gaming machine. He said, “If you’re on PC you’re going to be about $1500 or so, so that’s another area.” Later on in the interview, he clarified why he compared the Xbox One X to such an expensive gaming rig when the components in the console are cheaper. Ybarra added:
“The console is fixed hardware, so we know exactly what GPU, CPU and memory is in that box. We have extensions to DirectX specific for that, so that developers can call right to the hardware and know exactly how to get every ounce of power out of it…When you’re on PC there’s that abstraction layer. Even with the GPU manufacturer add-ons there’s still an abstraction layer there that pays a tax on performance. With fixed hardware on a console we can get every single ounce of that out and into a game’s hands.”
However, will developers really take advantage of the Xbox One X hardware? For example, Sony’s Jim Ryan recently insulted his own product by saying that developers target “the lowest common denominator”, which in this case is the significantly weaker PlayStation 4 Pro. In response to this Ybarra vouched for developers and gave some examples of discussions he’s had. He said:
“I think they’ll embrace it. They want to show their game in the best possible way. As a developer myself I want to show whatever I’m creating in the best possible light. It’s kind of like saying that when a developer makes a PC game do they make it to a fixed low-end set, where there are all of these switches that people can go in and turn on…It’s the same with Xbox One X. We’ve been meeting with developers, you heard EA on our stage saying they’re going to optimize this because they want to show consumers the most amazing version of their games, and the Xbox One X is going to deliver that for them.”
This is definitely great news. While there will always be examples of developers forcing parity of some kind like Assassin’s Creed Origins, in the coming months we should see Xbox One X games being vastly superior to other console versions. Even with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, developers utilized the 0.5 TFLOPS difference between the two devices to make games run or look better on PlayStation 4. This is exactly what we expect when you have a 2 TFLOPS difference between the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro.