Microsoft's Xbox One X debuts Tuesday, with a $499 price tag and a promise of more power than ever before.
The moment of truth has arrived for Microsoft’s newest gaming console – its most expensive and well-equipped Xbox yet.
The Xbox One X goes on sale Tuesday, a debut that will prove if hardcore and casual gamers alike are willing to pay the $499 price tag for the machine. Microsoft has promised the newest version of its gaming system will pack power that exceeds rival Sony’s Playstation 4 Pro – and certainly its predecessor, the Xbox One S.
It also marks Microsoft’s new strategy of updating the current generation of Xbox, rather than releasing a brand-new system. That means games developed for the Xbox One S will work with the One X, and upcoming games will work on both consoles.
Microsoft plans to continue selling and supporting the older console, a move designed to give customers more choice, said Kevin Gammill, a partner group program manager at Xbox.
“Games will continue to run great on S. No question about it,” Gammill said, adding that “The X is for gamers who want the best possible gaming experience.”
The Xbox One X is loaded with super-fast graphical processing power and is built for ultra-high-definition 4K resolution. Details are sharper and the realism draws the player in with a 4K TV, Gammill said, adding that the console still looks sharp and works well with common high-definition 1080p resolution.
Priced at $100 more than the PS4 Pro, PlayStation’s own 4K resolution console, the Xbox One X runs the risk of going the way of the original PS3, which had a $600 price tag that turned people off. But that’s unlikely to happen here, said Lewis Ward, an analyst with research IDC.
“As long as the overall experience seems great, the software and the services as well as the hardware, I think gamers are willing to pay more than perhaps they used to,” Ward said.
In a recent survey conducted by IDC, 21.6 percent of the gamers who said they were likely to buy a console this year were leaning toward the Xbox One X. That came close to the 22.2 percent who said they’d opt for the PS4 Pro.
Usually gamers identify the value of bundled sales – the pairing of hardware with games for one price – as the most important aspect of a console. But the survey found that likely Xbox One X buyers were most attracted to the visual and smooth play aspects of the console, Ward said.
Gamers are willing to pay a premium for the power of the Xbox One X and its quick gaming experience, he said. “It’s a very powerful system,” he said. “You cannot buy a PC with those specs at that cost.”
One downside of the Xbox One X’s expected popularity, Ward said, is that it might take some sales away from the less expensive and less powerful Xbox One S.
Microsoft stumbled behind Sony earlier this decade when it released the Xbox One, which many gamers felt focused too heavily on being an entertainment hub rather than a gaming system. Since then, the company has worked to gain ground back with features and technologies that appeal to gamers.
IDC expects overall console sales in 2017 to increase nearly 20 percent over last year to 14 million units, due largely to the resurgence of Nintendo with its Switch console, released in March.