The #Xbox One X has stirred up a considerable amount of discussion online since its unveiling at Microsoft's E3 presentation. Many people, myself included, are excited to see what this powerful console can do, pushing the video game industry to new heights. On the other hand, it's not difficult to find skeptics of Microsoft's new machine — doubts about who the target audience is, the lack of Xbox One X-exclusive games, and the steep price tag are all legitimate concerns.
However, it is important to address these criticisms in a productive way, rather than merely writing off the Xbox One X as "dead on arrival".
I believe it's more useful to consider the ways Microsoft could make a success out of the Xbox One X, despite its challenging position, by playing to its strengths.
Know Your Market
Say what you want about the Xbox One X, it cannot be denied that this is a seriously powerful machine on par with modern PCs. The addition of a 4K UHD Blu-Ray disc drive in particular has had enthusiasts claiming it's currently impossible to build a #PC with the same specs as an Xbox One X for the $499 market price.
Those seeking high-performance gaming have remained a relatively small section of the market, and it has been theorized that Microsoft is making a mistake targeting this audience instead of a more mainstream one. However, I believe it likely that the size of this market is caused by the relative inaccessibility of the PC world, and the Xbox One X could be a landmark in expanding this audience.
Whether accurate or not, there is a perception among consumers that PC gaming is a confusing and expensive affair. Many are turned away by the thought of having to upgrade individual parts (some of which can cost more than an entire console!), and utilizing overclocking software to get the best out of their machine.
The Xbox One X is for the consumer who wants to play the latest blockbusters with beautiful visuals and 4K resolution, but doesn't have the time or desire to build their own PC. I believe this market is much larger than some have estimated. It could be especially popular with the working gamer, who simply wishes to insert the disc of Red Dead Redemption 2 after a long day without having to worry about driver updates and the like.
For those with disposable income but not much time, #Microsoft could be on to a winner here.
Embrace "Play Anywhere"
Following Microsoft's E3 presentation, some criticism was levelled at the definition of an "exclusive" title, when almost every game shown would also be playable on a PC. It has been argued that this leaves little reason to purchase an Xbox One X.
I, on the other hand, believe that Microsoft made the correct decision highlighting the compatibility between the Xbox One X and PC, and that this partnership could result in much more support and sales for the console in the long run.
The PC gaming industry is growing every year, and there are an increasing number of developers producing fantastic games that can only be played on PC, or perform substantially better on this platform. By embracing the "Play Anywhere" compatibility with PC, Microsoft is ensuring that they are capturing this growing market of gamers and developers with their latest console. Sure, these games will be playable on PC, but many of them will not be playable on #PS4, and this is a major factor when it comes to Microsoft clawing back marketshare.
The "working gamer" alluded to in my previous point would relish the opportunity to experience PC titles they were previously unable to play.
Microsoft is giving PC-exclusive developers the ability to cross-develop games for a console audience, greatly increasing their overall sales potential. With a larger platform, developers will not have to be as concerned about costs, and this could encourage games with stronger visuals and higher production values to become standard, pushing the industry into exciting new places.
The Xbox One X is in an exciting position to bridge a long-existing divide in the industry.
An Exciting Console With Real Potential
It's understandable why the Xbox One X is facing criticism from gamers and journalists alike. Microsoft has lost a great deal of marketshare from Sony since the release of the Xbox One, and there is concern about their ability to launch a machine that can compete with the seemingly unstoppable PS4.
Merely producing a slightly more powerful machine wasn't going to cut it. Microsoft needed to start something of a revolution in the industry and try to shake things up; they have at least attempted to do that with the Xbox One X.
A console that can play PC games in 4K resolution without having to jump through the hoops associated with PC gaming is huge. Microsoft has done more than simply create a powerful console. They have opened up the home console market to new developers, and opened up the PC market to new consumers.
Time will tell if this strategy will pay off, but I believe the Xbox One X is the best chance Microsoft has right now to make themselves competitive again. Over time we may see this gap between console and PC players finally bridged, and games will be all the better for it.
Do you agree that the Xbox One X has the potential for great success? I look forward to discussing and debating with you in the comments.
(Sources: PC World)