Xbox One X has been touted as the true 4K machine, but the messaging at E3 2017 from Microsoft isn’t exactly clear.
Microsoft had a lot to prove at E3 2017. All eyes were on them to deliver the goods with Project Scorpio, which we now know as Xbox One X. With touting 42 games to be shown at their conference, it was packed with new games and announcements such as Backwards Compatibility for original Xbox games. Their E3 2017 conference was a great show all around, but it sure as hell was confusing at times. Especially when you consider the actual marketing message with Xbox One X and true 4K.
While the console is sleek and sexy, the pitch for it was a little confusing and not exactly as clear as I think many gamers would have liked. With a few new games to show off that will be truly exclusive to the Microsoft platform, their E3 2017 presentation didn’t drive home the fact that all third party games will likely be best on Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X is an amazing piece of tech and engineering. That can not be denied.
There is a lot to commend Microsoft on for Xbox One X. The engineering behind it is simply astonishing. That amount of power in such a sleek and small box is literally astonishing. The support for 1080p super sampling and other enhancements are fantastic. Something that as a Pro owner is very good news. The price tag is higher than people want at $500, but the price is entirely fair for what is in the box. The problem is that the message of “true 4K” is not nearly as clear as it seems.
Phil Spencer used the term “true 4K” for a lot of their E3 2017 presentation, but they never actually came out and said exactly why that’s important and what developers will be doing besides 4K. Metro: Exodus was said to be running at true 4K, but not on Xbox One X. It was only “in engine” which could mean a plethora of different things. Just saying games will run best in Xbox One X isn’t enough. E3 is where you have the eyes of hardcore gamers.
But it also turns out that not very game will be in 4K from a third party stand point. When it comes to first party, Spencer has made the commitment that all first party titles will be in 4K. That’s fantastic and I can’t wait to see what their games look like. But what about third party games like Shadow of Mourdor and Assassins Creed Origins?
The “true 4K” message of Xbox One seems confusing considering third party developers aren’t using the term.
Microsoft had developers on stage for these demos, but the words “true 4K” were never mentioned. Ok that’s fine, but what does Xbox One X Enhanced mean then? Phil Spencer has been saying how he doesn’t want to dictate game creators with Xbox One X. Which is the right approach entirely, but by not saying exactly how developers will take advantage of the extra power is where I got lost. If you are claiming games will be best on Xbox One X from third parties, but they aren’t in ture 4K, then what is better about them than the Ps4 Pro? Is it 4K textures and assets? Your guess is as good as mine.
Maybe it’s because as a PlayStation 4 Pro owner I still am never entirely sure what is enhanced for my games. Recently I have been playing a lot of Diablo 3 on PS4 Pro. The game looks fantastic on the Pro, but I had to google exactly what was different about the Pro vs regular PS4. Turns out the game now uses a dynamic resolution to achieve a native 4k image sometimes, but usually is around 1872p and 1728p. That’s great for me as a PS4 Pro owner. I am truly getting a better experience with the Pro on my 4K TV. But Diablo 3 does not run in native 4K at all times on PS4 Pro. How Microsoft didn’t take advantage of this situation is what perplexes me.
I wanted to hear exactly why third party games would be better on Xbox One X, even if they are not True 4K.
For once I wanted a developer to come out on stage and say, “Xbox One X is a monster and our game will be in Native 4K with 4K textures and the smoothest frame rate possible.” That never happened with third party games. The Assassins Creed segment said it was running in “4K,” but as it turns out, it wasn’t running in “Native” 4K. Ok so wait, is there a difference between 4K and “native 4K?” Of course there is, but I thought Xbox One X was the “Native 4K machine.”
Look, maybe this is being nit picky. Who the hell cares if a game is 4K or native 4K. The game looks amazing and plays best on Xbox One X. That is what is important right? Definitely, but be clear with me here as a hardcore gamer. I do care and know the difference between 4K and native or true 4K. A lot of developers said they will be supporting Xbox One X, but again what does that mean? I don’t think flashing a Xbox One X enhanced logo is enough.
Microsoft made it clear that Forza Motorsport 7 is true 4K on Xbox One, but that was the only game with that tag in the entirety of Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference.
What I find even more confusing is that Microsoft started out their E3 2017 conference the right way with Forza Motorsport 7. Dan Greenwalt got on stage an said exactly what I needed to hear. Forza Motorsport 7 will have a true 4K resolution with 4K assets and HDR. Simple sweet and to the point. Those features are why you should buy and Xbox One X. Great, I am sold on Xbox One X because I am a Forza fanboy, but what about people that aren’t?
I understand it could be too early for games like Anthem and Metro Exodus to be called “true 4K” games. They are quite a ways out and you don’t want a developer to commit to something they can’t deliver on. After the show, it came out that over 80 titles will run in true 4K on Xbox One X. That’s quite the list, (Doom is on that list too, I am pumped beyond belief to play that) but why on earth was there not more of this? Show me Doom running in 4K for 30 seconds. It would of gone a long way to show me another reason why I want Xbox One X.
The true 4k message could of been solved easily in my opinion on Xbox One X.
I feel like the 4K messaging on Xbox One X could of been solved very easily. If Phil Spencer would of got on stage and said something like;
“Xbox One X is the most powerful platform ever made. At Xbox we are committed to create every first party title in true 4K. Xbox One X is an open platform and third party developers have freedom to run in 4K either native or alternative 4K rendering methods. But Xbox One X games from third parties will have 4K assets and 4K textures only possible due to the power of Xbox One X. Making this console the best place to play every game from first and third parties.”
I feel like a message like that would of made things very clear. First party will be in native 4K, and everything else is free game. Either way Xbox One X is the best place to play. Maybe I am reading too much into as a hardcore gamer. Maybe the casual crowd will have no issues at with the message. Let me know what you think in the comments below.