In a few short weeks, Apple is going to release the iPhone X. The iPhone X is clearly going to be the best iPhone on the market. It has a better – and bigger – screen, more software features, and the best iPhone camera yet. It’s also going to be the most expensive iPhone on the market at $999.00.
In a few short weeks, Microsoft is going to release the Xbox One X. The Xbox One X is clearly going to be the best Xbox One on the market. It’s faster, more powerful, and will support a wide array of 4K content. It’s also going to be the most expensive Xbox on the market at $499.
Both of these companies have stuck to a very simple message when promoting their respective X products. They say these are not devices for the average consumers. They are devices for those who demand the very best from their products and are willing to pay a premium to get it.
In short, both of these companies are promoting these products as “elite” devices.
This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has used the elite name to describe a product. In 2015, they introduced the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller. This controller featured customizable button options, a much sturdier overall design, and better all-around components. It also cost $149.99. That’s a huge price jump for a controller, but Microsoft was confident that they had a product that a certain group of consumers would want. They were right, too. They were right. The Elite controller did quite well.
The problem is that the Xbox One X isn’t the Elite controller. It isn’t the iPhone X for that matter. The Elite Controller did well because it really was the best controller on the market and those who bought it got to take advantage of its quality right away. The iPhone X will presumably do well because Apple has built the kind of fanbase that will buy the most expensive – and technically best – device just so they don’t look cheap.
The Xbox One X has neither of these advantages. It is the most powerful console on the market by quite some margin, but all of that power may not actually amount to much in the end. Every game you play on the Xbox One X will look better than if you played it on a “lesser console,” but it isn’t a miracle worker. It’s a console that is going to be able to smooth textures and improve framerates, but the difference it provides will not be immediately apparent to all users. Pick up the Xbox Elite controller, and you immediately feel the difference. Play a non-modern or visually retro game on the Xbox One X and you might need someone to point out the differences.
Unfortunately, the Xbox brand also lacks the image that the Apple brand has. The sales drop between the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One proves that members of the Xbox fanbase will move on to other consoles for the right price and the right games. There are no doubt Xbox diehards, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to convincingly preach the Xbox One X’s gospel enough to generate mainstream hype.
At the end of the day, you can identify the elite of any walk of life by whether or not there is a sizeable argument about whether they are truly elite. With the Xbox One X, that argument certainly exists.