We are well into the peak period of the eighth generation of consoles, yet the announcement of a brand new and powerful machine headlines E3 2017 with Microsoft’s Project Scorpio. The “most powerful console ever made” was given the name Xbox One X, and it’ll launch on November 7 with a steep price tag of $499. On Microsoft and their supporters’ perspective, good times might be ahead for them, but on a grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
The Xbox One X is undoubtedly a heck of a beast machine, with unholy specs that might make the top execs in Sony feel jealous (keyword: might). Xbox Software Engineering chief Kareem Choudhry wasted no time in demonstrating the console’s capabilities with a Forza Motorsport 7 presentation, but not before taking a cheeky jibe at their competitor by stating it’s not necessary to build a bigger device to contain the immense processing power. This claim was clearly warranted when the One X was revealed to be the “smallest Xbox ever”.
We were then treated to a barrage of game reveal trailers, namely Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives that’ll get Microsoft fans excited, such as State of Decay 2, Crackdown 3, and Sea of Thieves. The onsite journalists at the press conference were also pumping their fists up in the air when Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced that the original Xbox games will be added to their backward compatibility program. Assuming all of these were done by Microsoft to level the playing field against Sony, who has led the console war with a very comfortable margin, how will they fare?
If this is all the American gaming giant has to offer, it’s very unlikely for them to pose a threat to Sony’s dominance in the market. You can claim all the bragging rights for producing the world’s most powerful console, but it won’t matter when your exclusive games line-up can’t go toe to toe with your competitor. This doesn’t mean Microsoft’s exclusive titles are mediocre in any sense, considering they have the likes of Gears of War, Halo and Forza to lead the line, but none of the exclusives announced earlier today possess the same amount of magnitude. They might please Xbox One users, yet it certainly can’t compare with what Sony has in store for us, namely God of War, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us: Part 2. There's a reason why they can proudly claim that the PS4 is three times more popular than Xbox One in Europe.
Most importantly, the price tag plays a role as well in determining the relevance of the Xbox One X in the current console war. It is a 100 dollars more expensive than the PS4 Pro, and combined with the exclusive titles comparison, it’s just not a good enough incentive for consumers to choose Microsoft over Sony, unless of course, you are a fan of the former. With that said, it remains to be seen how Xbox One X will shift the dynamics in the console market, but based on what we have seen so far, Sony shouldn’t have a cause for concern.