Now that the Project Scorpio has been revealed in its full glory as the Xbox One X, gamers have been contemplating a big decision: Should I wait, or buy the Xbox One S while it is on sale? What a good question, I said to myself as my two boys played on their recently purchased Xbox One console, but I already made up my mind.
Microsoft have been pushing the sheer power of their recently titled Xbox One X since its early development. Touting out specs and promises such as 4K resolution and VR ready capabilities, the newest console coming to market is undoubtedly the next step in generational gaming. Hands down, it surpasses its current competition in improved hardware crammed into the smallest Xbox device so far.
One could argue the specifications versus the quality of performance versus the price tag versus a number of games (or lack thereof) for hours on end. But when it comes to deciding if the Xbox One X is really worth the price tag, that’s a matter of personal preference.
Xbox One is my bridge between PC and Console
I’ve never been too much of a console player. My early years spent with a SNES controller in my hand quickly developed into mouse and keyboard in my college years. I’ve always been attached to PC gaming from my first Sims games to my current addiction to Fallout 4. So when I started considering which console to get my boys, my obvious pick was something that would share games between PC and console. The Xbox Play Anywhere feature was the final nail in the coffin for me.
With the promise of Project Scorpio only weeks away from the reveal, I was tasked with yet another decision. And if you’re anything like me, weighing the pros and cons of each end always ends up in more indecisiveness. So I went with my gut instinct: I chose the Xbox One S over the new Xbox One X. Looking back after the E3 2017 conference, I have no regrets.
Xbox One X is the elite professional console of the two. There’s no doubt that it’s a step up with its 12GB GDDR5 RAM, 9GB of that specifically reserved to increase performance for not just new games, but older ones as well. Not to mention it has a 1TB hard drive straight of the box, although we have yet to know if it will come with larger storage options. Its performance boost isn’t trivial at all. Phil Spencer even said that it is in ‘a league of its own’, explaining that Xbox One S was more on par with the PS4 Pro in comparison to Xbox One X setting the bar higher for console gaming.
So why would someone like me prefer the Xbox One S instead?
Xbox One X doesn’t meet my household’s needs
I am not a professional gamer, but I’m not nearly casual at all. Any chance I can, there’s a game on the screen. And that’s not mentioning my two boys who eagerly hop onto split screen to play video games together. That being said, the target audience for the Xbox One X isn’t nearly for the typical family household.
The types of games that we play are far different than those being advertised. There’s a bit of a difference between Minecraft or LEGO Batman when you look at the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7. The games that the common household plays aren’t on par with the hardware specifications that Xbox One X is created for.
Another fact, I don’t plan to upgrade to a 4k television set anytime soon, let alone diving too quickly into virtual reality. Like Microsoft, I see more value in the development of HoloLens technology for everyday life.
The Xbox One X is built for the mature gamer, the player that dives into their gaming lifestyle with swagger and shows off their fancy new toys. While I can appreciate bling like anyone else, the idea of dropping over double the price on a console to feel like I’m the ‘best of the best’ isn’t going to make the cut for my household.
Optional higher quality, but not required
On a technical point, Microsoft isn’t forcing an upgrade to the Xbox One X by showing off what previous console versions can’t have. True that the newest is also the smallest and most powerful on the market, for now, but there isn’t anything that the Xbox One X has that the Xbox One S can’t. Not yet, anyways.
Games created for the Xbox One consoles perform as they are meant to, and will do so for its newest version. Developers aren’t going to suddenly make games only in 4K and demand their engines run specifically on the higher quality console. No, they are going to continue making games for all Xbox owners with the options to run better on the ‘elite’ system. Sure, they’ll look pretty and run smoother, but it’s certainly not a game changer for those cradling their reliable (and much cheaper) Xbox One S to their chest.
In the end, the Xbox One X isn’t built for everyone and if you should upgrade is really about personal preference. I expect that the $499 price tag is going to be a major consumer concern as well. While it is on the cheaper end compared to buying a new PC, it is a bit high to expect that most people could afford the luxury. Which again, is what Microsoft wants. They want the gamers to feel a sense of pride in owning an Xbox One X, and that’s fair enough.
But given that Microsoft Store has been cutting the Xbox One S price quite often lately, now down to $249 for 500GB and $299 for 1TB, the ‘Scorpio’ as I’ve decided to call it isn’t likely to be in my crosshairs for a while. As the most recently launched iteration, Xbox One S for all intents and purposes is a fine machine that runs all current video games just fine, has multiplayer, expands across PC, and is regularly supported with Xbox updates. It isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as Microsoft wants the more elite gamers to shell out for their professional console and make the Xbox One S the standard and affordable purchase. The extra $250 is a graphics and performance upgrade, but that’s it.
For our household, maybe when the console we own finally dies, we’ll try it out. Until then, I’m pretty happy with the ‘budget’ Xbox One S console that works just fine as is.Further reading: Project Scorpio, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X