PROVING that Sony don’t have the monopoly of unimaginative platform names, Microsoft have followed its rival’s PlayStation 4 Pro by just announcing the sequel to its XBox One console: the XBox One X.
Previously widely known as the cooler-sounding Scorpio, a souped-up sequel to the XBO has been in the works for some time, with arch nemesis Sony stealing a march with its PS4 Pro – itself a more powerful (but not otherwise terribly different) version of its hugely successful PS4 console.
However, the XBOX – ah, now I see what they did there – that Microsoft announced just before E3 (see panel below) hopes to build on several advances that have begun making inroads into consumer tech in recent years and, one hopes, will have learned some big lessons from where the XBO went wrong.
For starters, the XBOX will ship on November 7 with an slightly steep initial price – $499/£449, which one can only imagine will have a striking euro price.
In development for quite a while, the new XBOX is smaller than the previous Xbox One models, with its refined build packing in much greater power, while (in a big win for Microsoft) being compatible with all current games – something which even Sony can’t boast.
Your eyes would glaze over as much as mine if I started blathering about its teraflop processing power and CPU speeds, so let’s just say that it’s significantly more powerful than the XBO or even the impressive PS4 Pro, packing in a lot of extra power under the hood.
Interestingly, it also features a UHD Blu-Ray player, and will play games in native 4K resolution alongside HDR lighting effects, and beefy Dolby Atmos surround sound.
With 4K TVs and channels slowly but surely beginning to make some inroads into consumer territory, this puts it on a great footing to help futureproof its growth.
While the vast majority of us still don’t have 4K-anything, those without such high-end screens and TVs will still see some smoke and mirrors processing give their graphics a noticeable boost.
There’s much more that can be said about the XBOX, and no doubt I’ll be returning to it in coming months.
For now, the initial reactions have been warm, with its impressive specs garnering plenty of interest. However, the new console’s name has already been criticised, prompting fears of consumer confusion, as the almost identical name doesn’t quite move the brand along enough.
More than that, given Microsoft’s blunders when launching the XBO – spooking gamers by plugging it as an all-round entertainment hub rather than an impressive games console (which it is) – many are hoping the new console will be marketed and promoted with a purer, games-driven focus this time round.
Ultimately, it’s a welcome move by MIcrosoft that could be game-changing for the sector – pun intended …