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The 'Xbox One X Enhanced' program needs improvement

17 June 2017

With all the hype surrounding the new Xbox One X console and its $500 price tag, people would be forgiven to think that Microsoft would be making a killing off of the product. And if you're anything like me, weighing the pros and cons of each end always ends up in more indecisiveness.

Given Bethesda's stance on supporting Microsoft we very well could see The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind playing on an Xbox One soon. The pre-order figure ahead of Xbox One X release could have a been an interesting market tool: A simple statement from Microsoft like - "Xbox One X pre-orders is above expectations" would have given them a lot of free publicity. The two console versions are, therefore, created to cater to different audiences - and the Xbox One X is the smaller one.

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"Most people just want to go play games". What a good question, I said to myself as my two boys played on their recently purchased Xbox One console, but I already made up my mind. Video game consoles typically aren't what make money in the video game business - it's the games, accessories, and services that make the money. Microsoft knows this, which is why it devoted so much of its E3 2017 press conference to highlighting the bleeding-edge technology crammed into the Xbox One X, its latest addition to the Xbox family. There's no doubt that it's a step up with its 12GB GDDR5 RAM, 9GB of that specifically reserved to increase performance for not just new games, but older ones as well.

"We're gonna sell more Xbox One S consoles next year than we will Xbox One X", he said. So in that world I have to show them an experience that's demonstrably better. Microsoft provides no labelling guidelines for enhancements that sit outside those categories, lumping them all together under the generic "Xbox One X Enhanced" banner. Nonetheless, the fact that the Xbox One X features a 4K Blu-ray drive could be viewed as a minor selling point considering that the PS4 Pro only has a standard Blu-ray. Indeed, the Xbox One X actually looks like a bargain compared to what you'd have to pay for a PC that has similar capabilities. This is significantly more than the 4.2 tflop of which the existing PS4 Pro is capable, while both of these consoles is massively more powerful than the Nintendo Switch. Put simply, the "Xbox One X Enhanced" label is far too vague to be useful.

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The Xbox Games Pass launched this month and now has 111 games available, costs £7.99, and requires you to download the games before you can play them. If Microsoft is to shift significant numbers of units of the Xbox One X, it must convince gamers that the extra money is worthwhile; certainly a challenge considering Sony's massive advantage in installed user base.

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The 'Xbox One X Enhanced' program needs improvement