It’s been a big week in E3 and if you have been watching our recaps of all the major announcements you know it has been all about the games this year, with very little hardware on show. That is, except for the Xbox One X.
First announced at last year’s E3 with little more than some renderings of the final design and some impressive specs we originally didn’t expect to see much more than a physical box and upcoming games be announced. But, Microsoft did win E3 for hardware this year with not only showing off the new console but giving the official release date for later this year.
So what is this magical new black box of Microsoft hardware mean and should you start eBaying and selling off your existing Xbox games and peripherals to be able to pay for it? With E3 finishing up today/tonight we think we have all the information you need to know to look at this properly, so let’s dive in.
What is the Xbox One X?
The Xbox One X (see, spells Xbox, clever) is the successor to the Xbox One platformer which was the 3rd generation of Xbox after the original and Xbox 360. Much like every other console leap forward it has an impressive set of specs which will make it the most powerful console available (until the next most powerful console available comes out).
There has been some flack online about the name but the Xbox One X follows the Xbox One S (a slim model of the Xbox One), so expect this naming convention to be around for a while as the new Microsoft Standard (like Windows 8 and Windows 10).
Specification wise we know the system will come with a 1TB hard drive out of the box and that it will have 8GB of system (flash) memory with an additional 12GB of video (GDDR5) memory. Basically, bigger, faster but now with 4K and UHD support + Blu-ray.
These are nothing new and specifications we have known since last year when we really learn more is as part of the teardown/assembly we saw by one of the Xbox engineers.
Leading off with the big news, the Xbox One X will be the smallest new generation Xbox yet, *just* smaller than a Xbox One S. So what you say? This is impressive because the external power brick is gone. Taking a page from every other manufacturer and listening to consumer feedback the power supply is now integrated into the case with a single 2 pin cable to connect externally for power.
Does this mean the Xbox One X will be hotter inside the box? Probably, but to potentially solve that issue the Xbox One X has a Vapor Chamber cooler about 1/4 the size of the case to cool. Vapour Chambers are not a new technology with them being popular on servers and video cards for years but this may be the first use of them in a console. You can check out how Vapour Chambers work yourself but effectively they are a form of self-contained liquid cooling.
This is all contained within a two piece steel container, which may also serve to disperse heat and shockingly comes in at only 3.8kgs total weight.
The one other thing we thought was worth mentioning was that the Hard Drive specifications to date seem to only talk about the size, but as part of the pulldown, we saw a special cradle for the hard drive with 4 shock absorber like feet for the drive inside the case. With vibration being a concern it seems unlikely we will see a quick Solid State Drive at launch but can’t tell if the architecture of the new system will let you add one in.
What does this mean for my Games?
With previous new console generations, a new console meant that all your old games would no longer be supported leaving you with either a growing pile of shame or a lot of trade-ins on day one.
The Xbox One X is the first in what we hope is a trend to support the previous generation of games. This no doubt comes from Microsoft’s core business being operating systems and that the Xbox One represents a stable platformer they want to build off of. So when you buy an Xbox One X on day one all of your Xbox One games will be playable on your new (faster) console.
This isn’t too much of a surprise as we already know underlying platform encourages developers to build for things like cross play, so the Xbox One X is more of a device with the Xbox One operating system than a completely new self-contained unit as we have seen previously.
It also means that during E3 we saw very little games announced for the Xbox One X as exclusives, with most games that are planned to come out between now and release being supported but can be playable to 4K/UHD resolution (no you don’t have to have a 4K TV to use the Xbox One X, it will support 1080p too).
This does not mean there were no exclusives for the Xbox One X with Bioware’s Anthem being a definite contender for best-in-show (even if no one at E3 as far as we could tell, had a hands-on with the demo) being something that will only run on a Xbox One X.
Think about it like this – it’s like having some Windows XP software, you can have it run on the same machine with Windows 8 or 10 installed, but a Windows 8 or 10 only piece of software won’t run on Windows XP even if the hardware is able to. The Xbox One X demonstrates it’s more of a piece of hardware with the ‘Xbox One’ operating system being upgraded.
What this means is, no reason to get rid of your old games or wait for the ‘Xbox One X’ edition of newer ones on the horizon.
What about Peripherals and other Doohickeys?
Much like the games, all your Xbox One peripherals are supported on the Xbox One X. With all Xbox One games being supported this wasn’t too much of a leap. Games such as Just Dance on the Xbox One can’t be supported on the Xbox One X without a Kinect (using the same USB adapter as required by the Xbox One S).
And while you are likely to get a new Xbox One X controller (as we have seen in pictures) it does mean if you forked out $200 on a slick Xbox One Elite Controller, you haven’t wasted your money.
We did also like the fact that it has IR support, meaning that you potentially don’t need a special remote if you want to just watch some Blu-rays without using the controller (looking at you PlayStation). Good news for anyone who has a fancy Harmony all in one remote.
When can you get your hands on it and how much does it Cost?
The Xbox One X will be available in Australia from November 7 for $649 AUD. By comparison to consoles that are available right now this price might seem high, but looking at the launch prices of the PS4 or PS4 Pro this seems actually quite reasonable. Even more so when you consider you don’t have to buy a host of new controllers or other peripherals.
Right now you can’t preorder one of these with the retail details still to come in the next few weeks with what you will get in the box. While we are expecting a fairly basic bundle like we saw with the Xbox One S (Console + a single Controller) there is probably a chance of a launch day bundle with Anthem.
If you desperately need to put your name down for one of these, however, we did note that EB Games will let you sign up for a ‘waitlist’.
That’s the Xbox One X! What did you think? Did you watch E3 or just our recaps of all the major briefs? Are you getting an Xbox One X for Anthem or is Microsoft not your camp? Do you not care because you don’t have a 4K TV? Tell us in the comments below!