The Xbox One X is seemingly destined to fail, and Microsoft will have no one to blame but themselves when that happens.
Across the internet, gamers are gawking at Microsoft’s recent Gamescom 2017 presentation and trying to figure out what the company was hoping to achieve. The bulk of the presentation consisted of either footage of games we’ve seen many times before (Cuphead), repeats of E3 announcements (the impending Xbox port of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds), and a lackluster – yet painfully lengthy – presentation of the Xbox One X that was “highlighted” by the reveal of a new limited edition of the console that will be available at launch.
What’s so special about this version of the Xbox One X? It’s called the Project Scorpio Edition, features a slightly modified design (covered in garish text), and comes with a vertical stand. Oh, and that vertical stand will be sold separately for other versions of the console.
Much of Microsoft’s Gamescom 2017 presentation wasn’t a disaster, but it was quite boring. Microsoft spent almost two hours trying to convince gamers that the future of the Xbox brand is brighter than ever. That message would have been a lot more effective were it not for the fact that much of it consisted of statements we’ve heard from the company again and again for years now.
However, it’s becoming clear that the Xbox One X is almost guaranteed to be a failure of some magnitude. In fact, it might just be the least desirable console in recent memory.
From a sheer technical perspective, there is nothing wrong with the Xbox One X. It’s more powerful than its competition, it includes several 4K-related features that systems like the PlayStation 4 Pro do not, and even its $500 price point is reasonable from a price for performance perspective.
No, the Xbox One X’s real problem is that Microsoft has yet to find a way to promote it as a must-have device. The Xbox One X was first announced at E3 2016. At that time, we only knew that Microsoft was working on a powerful new 4K console that was, according to the hype video, going to change the way developers approach game creation.
In-between that hype video and the formal Xbox One X reveal at E3 2017, Sony released their own – ultimately cheaper – 4K capable console and Nintendo announced – and released – a brand new system with desirable features and games. Microsoft had fallen behind again, and their plan for turning it around involved a more expensive console that still wouldn’t be available for months and a host of indie game exclusives that didn’t come close to taking advantage of the One X’s power.
We’ve been hearing about the One X for so long that you’d be forgiven for forgetting that it’s still not out yet. You’d also be forgiven for not thinking about the Xbox One X at all.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, there are no easy answers to this problem. The Xbox One X hype train has been derailed, Microsoft’s exclusive programs – such as Game Pass and backward compatibility – are stagnant, and the company still struggles to secure exclusive games of note. Inevitably, they will write-off the Xbox One X’s low sales figures as the by-product of the console only being intended for a hardcore market, but you have to ask yourself when Microsoft ever gave anyone outside of that market a reason to care.