Microsoft has unveiled Xbox One X, the official name for ‘Project Scorpio’. The company says that the console delivers true 4K gaming with HDR. It also features UHD Blu-ray and is the “smallest Xbox ever”. It will launch on November 7 for $499 / €499.
Xbox One X: True 4K HDR gaming
Xbox One X will join the ranks as a new high-end console and a direct competitor to Sony’s 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro. Unilke PS4 Pro, the new Xbox One X will deliver true 4K gaming, Microsoft claims.
Graphics performance on consoles:
Xbox One S
With those words, Microsoft hopes to draw attention to the fact that while PS4 Pro technically supports 4K gaming, it often upscales games because its lacks graphics muscles. Xbox One X has 6 teraflops of graphics performance compared to 4.2 teraflops in the PlayStation 4 Pro.
How much 6 tflops of performance can improve things is too early to say but in our testing we have found that HDR (High Dynamic Range) can be even more impactful than 4K when experienced on a proper HDR display. Both of the high-end consoles support games in HDR, namely the HDR10 format.
Neither of the consoles has embraced the Dolby Vision format.
Xbox One X should set new standards for console gaming and at the same time help encourage game developers to focus more on 4K and HDR. This is good news for a console market that is already ahead of PCs when it comes to employing HDR, which goes beyond resolution. Microsoft adds that Xbox One X has 12GB of RAM, 40 GPU cores, and a 1TB hard drive.
Microsoft also has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. Xbox One X is compatible with AMD FreeSync, meaning that it supports adaptive frame rate. This ensures that your game console and display are always perfectly synchronized to eliminate judder and tearing. Microsoft has previously said that the console will be one of the first devices to support HDMI 2.1 but at the E3 presentation HDMI 2.1 was not mentioned. The specifications page does say ‘AMD FreeSync’ but makes no mention of HDMI 2.1. Also, it needs FreeSync 2 to combine adaptive frame rate with HDR. It seems that we will have to wait for Microsoft to elaborate.
Unlike Sony’s PS4 Pro, Xbox One X will support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which are object-based audio formats that can “put you in the center of 3D spatial sound”. The new audio formats will be supported for both movies and gaming.
To enjoy 4K HDR gaming you obviously need a 4K HDR TV but not any TV will do. In our testing we have found that only zone dimming LCD TVs and OLED TVs can deliver a convincing HDR experience, and currently those TVs are expensive.
Besides that, games need to be updated to be presented in 4K and HDR.
Some games will get 4K upgrades
At the event, Microsoft announced that Xbox One X will have several 4K exclusives, including Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves, and Super Lucky’s Tale. It will also get a console exclusive on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. At the event, BioWare's Anthem was also highlighted but it will not be an exclusive.
Some existing games will be updated to take advantage of the extra power in Xbox One X. A preliminary list includes Forza Horizon 3, Final Fantasy 15, Halo Wars 2, Gears of War 4, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Killer Instinct, Minecraft, Resident Evil 7, and Rocket League.
A total of 22 launch exclusives will arrive on Xbox One X in the near future. Forza Motorsport 7 will run in native 4K and 60fps, the company added.
Xbox One X is backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games, just like Xbox One S is, and now also original Xbox games. The way it works is that you insert your original disc to get a digital copy. Not all original Xbox games will be compatible and we have yet to see a list of titles but we do know that Crimson Skies will be one of them. It was not announced when the computability update will roll out besides a vague "later this year".
Smaller size & UHD Blu-ray
The powerhouse is the “smallest Xbox ever”, the company announced. While it largely looks like the white and significantly less powerful Xbox One S, the company has employed new techniques, including a liquid-cooled vapor chamber to cool it down, to slim it down further.
The overall design largely resembles Xbox One S, except for the black color of course. On the rear you will find HDMI 2.0b out, HDMI 1.4b in, 3 USB ports, S/PDIF, Ethernet, and IR Out. There is no dedicated port for Kinect.
Xbox One X is first and foremost a game console but Microsoft did point out that it also has an UHD Blu-ray drive built-in to enjoy movies in the highest possible quality. Of course, this was expected since Xbox One S already features one. Nothing was said about streaming services but we assume that it supports 4K HDR streaming from Netflix and Amazon, just like its smaller brother.
Xbox One X will launch globally on November 7 for $499 / £449 / €499, which is $100 more than PS4 Pro.
Xbox One X specifications
Games in up to 4K resolution with HDR (High Dynamic Range)