It’s pretty safe to say that the Xbox One X is an absolute beast. It’s the most powerful gaming console ever created, and it’s also an entertainment hub like no other. How many devices installed on a project can boast being simultaneously capable of accessing all of the streaming services that matter, such as Netflix and Amazon Video, read UHD Blu-ray discs, and play blockbuster games in native 4K HDR? Thankfully, the Xbox One X is such a device, and not only will it support native 4K HDR gaming, but it’ll also ship with 3D audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, Auro.3D and DTS:X.
Microsoft is desperate to win back the gamers lost to the PlayStation 4. When the Xbox One was initially announced, the company struggled to explain its benefits and concentrated too much on its multimedia benefits, as opposed to its abilities as a gaming machine. The company refuses to make the same mistake with the Xbox One X.
At its press conference last night, Microsoft debuted 42 new games that will be available on the Xbox One X. While many of these games will be available in native 4K HDR, they will all be available no matter which Xbox One is purchased. That means unless the extra resolution boost is important, many consumers will still opt for the more affordable Xbox One S, which, like the Xbox One X, also comes with a 4K Blu-ray player as standard.
Of all the games revealed at the press conference, 22 will be Xbox One exclusives. That means those games will not be available on Sony’s PlayStation 4, or any other console. Some of the games still may see a launch on Windows 10, however. Two of those exclusive games will also have the honour of being the first Xbox games to launch with Dolby Atmos support – those games being Crackdown 3 and Gears of War 4.
Dolby Atmos on the Xbox One
Dolby Atmos has been supported by both the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 for quite some time now. Unfortunately, that support only went so far as to provide 3D audio for streaming services and Blu-ray discs, meaning no games actually offered the immersive audio users have been asking for. That’s a slightly different story on the PC, where games such as Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront have both shipped with Dolby Atmos support. Thankfully, now games will be launching on the Xbox that also support the immersive audio format.
Both the Xbox One S and Xbox One X will support Dolby Atmos, and it can be enjoyed through dedicated home theatre systems or headphones. Microsoft has stated that those wishing to listen to it through headphones will have to pay a $14.99 fee to activate it, because a Dolby Atmos license will be required, whereas those listening through a supported sound system will already have paid for the license when buying the speakers. Those enjoying gameplay in Dolby Atmos will likely find it a godsend, however, enabling users to pinpoint exactly where enemies are thanks to the 3D clarity provided by the format.
While Crackdown 3 and Gears of War 4 are the only games to have been announced for the Xbox One with Dolby Atmos support, they’re unlikely to be the last. Microsoft and Dolby have both committed to furthering the format’s presence in the gaming community, although it may take some time to convince developers. Both Crackdown 3 and Gears of War 4 are first-party games, meaning games published by Microsoft Studios, although third-party developers have begun experimenting with the format – beginning with EA’s support in Star Wars: Battlefront, and then continuing with Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch.
Enhanced for Xbox One X
To take advantage of the extra firepower offered by the Xbox One X, developers are all set to update their games to ensure they play in native 4K HDR. While not all games will receive an update, countless developers have already announced that they will ensure their games play even better on the Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X will, like the other consoles in the Xbox One series, support games from previous generation consoles. While that previously meant games from the Xbox 360, Microsoft has now confirmed that it will be bringing support for original Xbox games to its console. What’s more is that any backwards compatible game will receive both a performance boost and a visual boost when played on the Xbox One, Xbox One S and the Xbox One X.
Those with large gaming libraries will now be able to ditch the original Xbox console and input their old discs into an Xbox One, satisfied in the knowledge that the game will work. Well, satisfied in the knowledge that some games will work, although Microsoft has yet to note which ones will be supported.
Outside of simply playing Xbox titles on the Xbox One, gamers will also be able have a LAN party involving multiple generations of the console. That means user can play local multiplayer of popular Xbox titles on an Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox by daisy chaining them through the network.
The Xbox One X will continue to be a media hub, with support for all the popular streaming services users would expect on a 21st Century gaming console. That means users will be able to access Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer and Plex alongside their gaming library without issue. What’s more, the Xbox One X also ships with a 4K Blu-ray drive, meaning users can have one device for all their media, rather than a mishmash.
Outside of recorded media, the Xbox One X can also enjoy live TV through the dedicated HDMI-in port. This has thus far been popular for users wanting to connect their cable box and ditch the often clunky user interface that comes with them, for a clean UI offered by Microsoft’s OneGuide, although a digital TV tuner is available for those wishing to view free to air television. There is no Kinect port, however, meaning switching the TV channel using voice control is no longer possible on the new console.
Under The Hood
Microsoft has been keen to stress that the Xbox One X is the most powerful console ever made, and that’s no understatement. That’s because the company has packed six teraflops of graphical power under the hood, which dwarves the Playstation 4 Pro’s 4.2 teraflops. Microsoft’s custom GPU engine also runs at 1172MHz, which again dwarves the 911MHz speed of the PS4 Pro. Cooling such a beast is no mean feat, but Microsoft has turned to server-level technology known as vapor-chamber cooling to keep things running optimally.
While raw specs tell part of the story, Microsoft has put the graphical power to good use. 900p and 1080p Xbox games will run at native 4K on the new console, while there will also be a performance boost for existing all Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Expect to see games running at 60fps or more, with Forza Motorsports 7 already shown off locked in at 60fps.
While Microsoft has hyped the Xbox One X for some time, things seemingly came crashing down when fans noticed only a single HDMI-out port on the back. That could mean users hopeful for VR support will be let down, with Microsoft currently concentrating more on its Windows mixed reality platform than VR support for the Xbox One X. That could change in 2018, however. It’s also not surprising to see some things left out of the final product, after all this is the most powerful, and the smallest Xbox ever launched.
One last thing letting down some fans is the price. The Xbox One X is $100 more than the 4K-toting PlayStation 4 Pro, at $499. The console is in a completely different league, however, boasting native 4K gaming, rather than upscaled 4K, which is offered by the PlayStation 4 Pro. The Xbox One X also offers a lot more firepower for the money. In the UK, the console will be priced at £449, which is better than what had been expected – £499. Some consumers are still holding out for a price cut in the near future, however. With Microsoft having previously backed down on the high price of the Xbox One at launch.