With the launch of the anticipated new Xbox One X, there’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of this new model – but is it really worth the wait, or the price tag? Before investing in Microsoft’s latest, greatest console, be sure it’s going to meet your gaming needs instead of ending up just another expensive block in your game of console cabinet Tetris.
Graphics Processing, HDR and 4K Capability
With the Xbox One X, you get HDR and 4K capability… but you got all that with last year’s Xbox One S, and Playstation 4 Pro offers HDR and 4K upscaling as well. The One X is an upgrade compared to the One S and PS4 Pro, featuring an improved GPU and the newest hardware upgrades, but consider whether an incremental improvement here is really worth shelling out when consoles already on the market offer the great colour and contrast you get with HDR as well as the ability to upscale content to incredibly sharp 4K video imaging. You’ll see fewer dropped frames with the One X, but unless you’re fanatically dedicated to the highest imaging quality in intensive games, it may not be worth the cost at the end of the day – and remember, image quality only goes as far as the least-capable hardware in your gaming setup will let it; if you don’t have a 4K- and HDR-capable TV, simply upgrading your console won’t give you the amazing effects you’re looking for.
The Xbox One X, with its cutting-edge technology and engineering, is fully VR-capable as a console… but the actual hardware to allow immersive virtual reality gaming with the One X just isn’t there yet. Microsoft seems to be depending on outside developers coming up with VR applications for this console, and with the recent discontinuation of the Kinect interface throwing doubt on Microsoft’s commitment to furthering innovative interactive technology, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually ever see VR games for the One X. Sony, on the other hand, already has a proven, well-received virtual reality application available for use with the PS4 in the Playstation VR, with an impressive catalogue of compatible games.
Backwards Compatibility and Exclusive Titles
The One X features great backwards compatibility, as it’s running on the same software as the Xbox One, and will be backwards compatible with over 400 previous generation titles, including all Xbox One titles. However, Microsoft hasn’t been clear on whether any exclusive releases are planned for this console – while some new titles will be optimized for use on the One X, it currently looks like all new titles will continue to be playable on the Xbox One and Xbox One S as well, meaning you don’t now, and may not ever need to upgrade to the One X to play the newest Xbox exclusives, such as future offerings from the Gears of War, Forza, and Halo franchises.
Portability and Gaming On the Go
If you’re planning on taking your gaming on the road, you may be better off with the Nintendo Switch for the ultimate in console-to-portable functionality. The Xbox One X doesn’t really add any additional options for on-the-go gaming to the existing Xbox lineup – which continues to be strikingly bare of portable options, especially given that competitors Sony and Nintendo have both offered portable options for years.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
At the end of the day, the question of whether to buy into the new Xbox One X boils down to this: Will you really benefit from the improved graphic capabilities of this console?
For the hardcore gamer intent on maintaining the highest frame-rate possible at 4K resolution, the answer may be yes. But if your priorities lie more along the lines of experiencing your games in the most immersive fashion possible, we recommend sticking with the Playstation 4 Pro for its proven VR capabilities and existing catalogue of games. If you’re more into party games, portability, and family-friendly content, you really can’t go wrong with the Nintendo Switch. And if Xbox One-exclusive titles are must-haves, but you just want to get down to business and play your games, it may be advisable to stick with the One S for now, until it’s clear whether you’ll get more than just a boost to graphics with the One X.