LOS ANGELES—After more than a year of anticipation, Microsoft today unveiled its Project Scorpio Xbox device here at E3 2017. Project Scorpio is now the Xbox One X, the most powerful Xbox One game console yet. At least, that’s what what preliminary analysis seems to indicate and what Microsoft promises it will be when it arrives Nov. 7 for $499.
We already looked at the Xbox One X’s hardware a few months ago, when Digital Foundry performed an extensive teardown of then-Project Scorpio’s hardware. The console’s specs as announced match those numbers, and they’re impressive: a 6-teraflop, 40-core GPU clocked at 1.172GHz with 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and a memory bandwidth of 326Gbps. On paper, it’s significantly more powerful than the Xbox One and Xbox One S.
This doesn’t mean the Xbox One X is a new generation of console, however. It’s part of the “Xbox One family” and is architecturally identical to the Xbox One and Xbox One S. It features full compatibility with all Xbox One games and accessories, with room for graphical improvements when supported. This support will be found in newer games, along with a selection of already released Xbox One games with free patches (a model similar to the PS4 Pro’s improved performance with PlayStation 4 games).
Microsoft is pushing the extra power of the Xbox One X as the system’s most notable aspect. It supports native 4K gaming, with supported games rendering natively at 3,840 by 2,160, with high dynamic range (HDR), and wide color gamut. Microsoft claims the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7 will run in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, and preliminary research performed by Digital Foundry indicates that it’s very possible.
A handful of Xbox One games will get patches to take advantage of the Xbox One X’s additional power. Among first-party games, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Killer Instinct, and Minecraft will get 4K updates for free. Another 30 third-party games will also get updates, including Final Fantasy XIV and The Witcher III.
Microsoft showed off several notable upcoming games for Xbox One, though the extensive compatibility between Xbox One, Xbox One X, and Windows 10 means none are exclusive to the newest system. The press conference highlighted 4K gameplay video from Forza Motorsport 7 and Assassin’s Creed: Origins, both of which were announced at the event.
Other upcoming Xbox One games include Life is Strange prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and Bioware’s co-op sci-fi action RPG Anthem. The long-awaited animated shooter Cuphead was also highlighted and given the release date of Sept. 29.
Halo and Gears of War were notably absent among first-party game previews, but Crackdown 3—a superhuman police action game that features Terry Crews and screaming—saw some new gameplay footage and a firm release date of Nov. 7 alongside the Xbox One X.
Like the Xbox One S$296.00 at Amazon, the Xbox One X will support 4K media in HDR with wide color gamut, including Ultra HD Blu-ray disc playback and streaming video support. The disc support is a notable advantage we’ve appreciated in the Xbox One S, which Sony left out of the 4K-capable PS4 Pro$399.99 at Best Buy.
The Xbox One X is a notable markup from the Xbox One S, which received a $50 price cut during the announcement and now is available for $249. The Xbox One X is also significantly more expensive than the PlayStation 4 ($299) and PS4 Pro ($399). We’ll determine if the extra power is worth the extra cost when we get the Xbox One X into the lab for testing later this year.