The end of E3 marks the start of news outlets vying for a piece of that mouse-click pie. This generation has been a tough one for Xbox which, while selling well (even better than the Xbox 360), has been dramatically outsold by the PS4. More damaging, however, is the (false) narrative and perception that the Xbox (at best) lacks exclusive games and (at worst) is a failure.
Worse yet, major news publications are gobbling up that low hanging fruit. Instead of taking a measured approach to the state of the console industry they pander to the troll audience and lose their credibility. Gizmodo just published an article with the inflammatory title "Someone Please Tell Microsoft Why people Buy Gaming Consoles."
Point by point, I'd like to address that:
FAKE NEWS #1: "The sheer number of announcements Microsoft made is astounding, but shock and awe couldn’t save the company from a reaming by fans."
TRUTH #1: Gizmodo quoted 4 tweets. From 4 handpicked accounts. One of the accounts was @1080pony, who’s name and twitter history say it all. If "reaming by fans" means "fans of other consoles who already hate xbox" then Gizmodo had it right.
FAKE NEWS #2: "There’s one major reason Microsoft is being perceived as a loser... It’s got no games. Both Nintendo and Sony left fans freaking with announcements of major exclusive games coming soon, titles like the much anticipated Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Saga 2 for Nintendo, and Spider-Man, Detroit, and a new Uncharted game from Sony. Microsoft, meanwhile, had a new Forza car racing game and...actually that’s it."
TRUTH #2: None of those Sony or Nintendo exclusive games are new announcements. They've all been known for at least a year, same with Xbox's Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, Cuphead, and State of Decay 2, which Gizmodo absurdly and conveniently left out. Ori 2 and Super Lucky's Tale were both also new announcements.
FAKE NEWS #3: "Spencer boasted during the Microsoft event that the Xbox One X can do 6 teraflops. Still, the guy sitting next to me muttered, “my computer does 8 teraflops.” As Gizmodo noted Sunday, a high-end graphics card, like Nvidia’s 1080Ti, does 11.3.
"People in dire need of that power can get something nearly twice as fast by building it themselves. It isn’t the fastest game machine by any means, nor does it have cool exclusives."
TRUTH #3: Two months ago Microsoft made the unusual but confident decision to have Digital Foundry do the Project Scorpio Tech Reveal. Digital Foundry is the gold standard for all things pixels and framerate and are trusted implicitly by hardcore gamers. In fact, it's been Digital Foundry’s reporting over the last few years that have given Playstation fans ammunition in touting their slightly more powerful console.
It's true that anyone with a little PC experience can build a more powerful machine. But the cost of that machine would be significantly more than the Xbox One X’s $499. Nvidia’s 1080Ti GPU costs $700 alone. A minimalist 4K gaming PC would cost twice as much as an Xbox One X.
Most importantly, the Xbox One X is far more than the sum of its parts. As Digital Foundry explained back in April:
"This is more than just a collection of off the shelf AMD parts. There is deep customization here and a lot of it. They customized key areas of the GPU to eliminate engine game specific bottlenecks. This is unprecendented."
"Microsoft's engineers have effectively made a hardware implementation of DirectX 12 integrated directly into the GPU command processor. Draw call instructions on the CPU that would typically require thousands of instructions are now reduced to just 11. Yes, 11. State changes that are also heavy on CPU are cut down to half."
"I couldn't believe that Microsoft has squeezed that much frequency out of a console part. How did they do that? Efficiency isn't just baked in at the silicon level, it's there throughout the entire box. Every Scorpio motherboard is balanced with its specific processor. Microsoft spares no expense here. I've never personally seen [this] deployed on a mass produced piece of consumer electronic hardware. This, my friends, is hardcore."
"The truth is Microsoft has broken free of constraints in ways I'm not sure anybody could have anticipated. Microsoft has delivered or indeed over delivered on all promises thus far."
CONCLUSION: Microsoft has crafted an endlessly customized and ultra efficient 4K console and they did the right thing by going to the experts at Digital Foundry for an impartial and precise reveal. Unfortunately, that very clear message has been ignored by many fans and now by major journalism outlets.
To answer the question, "Why would anyone buy an Xbox One X?" I'll answer it succinctly while remaining shocked that people overthink this; it's for anyone who wants 4K gaming at a fraction of the cost.
Chad Ridgeway is an avid gamer who loves to have fun and is an active member of the Xonebros community.