Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One X console earlier this week, promising “true 4K” gaming on “the world’s most powerful games console.” While many are debating what those promises truly mean and whether we’ll see the majority of games in Native 4K or checkerboard rendering, Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer believes the Xbox One X is “a true 4K console.” In an interview with Eurogamer, Spencer explains the Xbox One X name, a lack of first-party game announcements, and the all-important $100 price gap between the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro.
“I look at [PS4] Pro as more of a competitor to [Xbox One] S than I do to Xbox One X,” claims Spencer. “This is a true 4K console. If you just look at the specs of what this box is, it’s in a different league than any other console that’s out there.” Spencer points out 40 percent more GPU speed, more RAM, and the speed of storage as the advantages of the Xbox One X over the PS4 Pro, but he also knocks Sony’s methods for getting to 4K resolutions with some of its games. “When I think about techniques to somehow manufacture a 4K screen like what some other consoles try to do, this is different than that.” Spencer also says he expects the majority of consoles that Microsoft sells next year will be Xbox One S.
On the topic of the actual console name, Spencer says “the name had to have Xbox One in it” because the Xbox One X is part of the family of consoles. Microsoft couldn’t call it Xbox One Elite because it already has a version of the original Xbox One with that branding, and the Xbox One S is the existing console so it couldn’t use “S” alone. “Getting the trademark for Scorpio is really hard,” explains Spencer, “When we do names, you have to pick global names for things.” Microsoft ultimately picked Xbox One X because it fit with the power message and the original Xbox branding.
Finally, Spencer addresses the lack of first-party game announcements during Microsoft’s E3 press conference. Microsoft had plenty of big games to show, but in terms of announcements it was only Forza Motorsport 7 as a truly new triple-A title. Spencer believes Ori, Super Lucky’s Tale, and Sea of Thieves serve as solid announcements, but he admits he has been heavily focused on hardware over the past few years since taking over the chief Xbox role. “I do think we have an opportunity to get better in first-party and to grow,” says Spencer. “We’ve got great support from the company to go do that.”
Spencer also notes Microsoft has signed some “things we haven’t announced” but that it’s too early to build hype about. Microsoft canceled Fable Legends and Scalebound earlier this year, and it seems like the company is learning from showing games that aren’t ready too early. Spencer notes Microsoft could have demonstrated Halo in 4K, but that takes time away from getting the game ready. “I’m going to be conscious of putting things on-stage when I know I can make a commitment to my fans and customers that they’re going to get to play those games.”
Check out Eurogamer’s article for the full Phil Spencer interview.
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