Microsoft and the Xbox One X have finally convinced me to get aboard their hype train with their E3 2017 press conference.
While I often hesitate to call myself a PlayStation Fanboy – I don’t often stray into the trenches of the console war these days – it’s true that I certainly have a preference for Sony’s machines when it comes to consoles. Ever since I switched from the Xbox 360 to the PS3 almost a decade ago, I’ve not considered buying another Xbox (more on that in a second) and have felt incredibly well catered. 2 PS4’s, 2 PSVita’s, a PSTV and a PS3 have filled my spare time with incredible and exclusive gaming memories over the past 10 years but increasingly, I feel like there’s space in my life for another, different console. Until yesterday and Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference, I was dead-set on getting a Nintendo Switch – The exclusives and portability offer a real alternative to the PS4 which will only increase my gaming time – but now… Microsoft have my attention and my Xbox One X pre-order, at least for now.
After having to return 6 Xbox 360’s which were suffering from hardware issues ranging from the dreaded “Red Ring of Death” to them shaving grooves into my game disks rendering them unusable, I swore that I’d never buy an Xbox console again. With the Xbox One X, I’m finally ready to give them a second chance.
It isn’t just the added power of the Xbox One X that won me over – I don’t own a 4K TV right now (although, I am in the market for one) and better visuals through Super Sampling, while a nice added bonus, doesn’t justify spending the extra £100 on the X over an Xbox One S.
And it wasn’t just the exclusive games that Microsoft showed at their E3 2017 conference either – Of the 40+ games they showed on stage, only 7 (Forza 7, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves, Super Lucky’s Tale, Cuphead, Crackdown 3 and Ori and the Will of the Whisps) of the games were actually exclusive to Xbox/Win 10. The 35+ other titles will be available on platforms I already own.
In fact, it wasn’t any one thing that convinced me I wanted an Xbox One X. It was a culmination of many aspects from the past few months which, taken in isolation might have been underwhelming, but combined showed that Microsoft are fighting to get back into this console war.
Having not had an Xbox One before, there is already a substantial catalogue of exclusives I’ve not played stretching back to the release of the console – Ryse (laugh all you want but I seriously want to play that game), Sunset Overdrive, Dead Rising, Gears, Halo, Forza, ReCore, Zoo Tycoon, Ori, Quantum Break, VooDoo Vince, D4, Crimson Dragon, Rare Replay, Killer Instinct and loads more. If I do get an Xbox One X, I’ll finally have the ability to play these games and, when I do buy a 4K TV, in their best possible way thanks to the free visual upgrades and super sampling. Looking to the future, Sea of Thieves looks fantastic. As does Crackdown 3 and Ori WotW.
Then there’s the power of the Xbox One X. For the price, you’d be hard stretched to pull together a gaming PC that can match the capability of the X. While that doesn’t matter much to me right now, It will in the future when I finally get the 4K TV that I’m mulling over. Hell, it has a UHD 4K blu-ray player which, if bought separately, can set you back as much as £300+. There’s a lot of horsepower in the Xbox One X and once their first-party studios hit their stride, I can imagine there’ll be some impressive games on the horizon.
And then there’s the backwards compatibility. My sour, previous relationship with the Xbox 360 notwithstanding, that console had some absolute classics and I’d relish the chance to give them another go. The addition of the OG Xbox into the mix is also a big plus – the possibility of replaying Jade Empire, the original Fable or the underappreciated Brute Force on top of the Xbox One titles is certainly appealing.
Lastly, there’s a lot that Microsoft didn’t announce at E3 2017 that they (probably wisely) side stepped. We know that the Xbox One X will be capable of high-fidelity VR which they failed to mention while on stage. That’s probably a tactical choice – VR is very hard to sell while on a big stage and they wanted to concentrate on the 4K aspect – but the console is more than capable of pushing out a great VR experience. While the PSVR is a fantastic entry point for VR, the Xbox One X has enough juice in the tank to really push what developers can do with VR, visually and functionally, without the need for a high-end, expensive PC.
It’s also worth mentioning that Microsoft’s biggest first-party studios weren’t in attendance of E3 2017. We can almost guarantee there’s another Halo and Gears game in development that’ll maximise the power of the Xbox One X but they’re a little too early in development to show just yet.
The Xbox One X is a powerful, future-proofed beast. It has desirable exclusives, in the past as well as the future, with backwards compatibility. Taken in isolation, each point sounds underwhelming, but combined, they form an appealing console. All of this being said, I can’t ever see the Xbox One X replacing my PS4 as my main gaming machine – but, for the first time in a long time, I can see the 2 consoles sitting side-by-side under my TV. For a guy who swore he’d never touch another Xbox console again, that’s nothing short of a miracle.