Xbox Series X is the most explicit demonstration of the Xbox game business’s changing direction and can make the next-gen battle no longer fierce.
After the unexpected launch of the next-gen Xbox Series X console at The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft did not disclose more accurate information about the configuration of this machine so that we have the opportunity to “measure and measure.” ”Its strength compared to PC (Sony has not announced the structure of PS5). However, after a closer look at this system, I feel that it is almost a PC disguised as a console!
How to disguise?
If you’ve followed Microsoft’s business strategy lately, you’ll realize that this giant is slowly turning away from the console business. “Xbox” is now a joint brand for both Xbox and Windows consoles, demonstrating through Microsoft bringing many proprietary titles for its consoles to PC and Switch, launching Xbox Game Pass for PC gamers, ending push xCloud services, etc. This reflects exactly what Mr. Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Xbox boss, said in the middle of this year in an interview: “Business (Xbox) is not the number of consoles sold, it’s the number of people playing the games they bought, the way they played it. “
But Microsoft still makes the Xbox. The newly launched Xbox Series X looks, unlike any console they’ve ever produced, and doesn’t even look like any other console in history (you might say it looks like husband three pieces GameCube). With a square look like a fridge, measuring 16 x 16 x 31cm and lacking great details, the Xbox Series X reminds me of standard PC cases, though smaller in size. This impressive appearance also quickly inspired Photoshop experts to create a series of funny photos in the past few days:
The difference between Xbox Series X and its predecessor is not only in appearance but also in power. While Xbox One and PS4 both use low-power low-end AMD CPUs – in case Xbox One is Jaguar CPUs – and are criticized as obsolete as soon as they were announced, the Xbox Series X is different. Microsoft said that the Xbox Series X would aim to give gamers the ability to play games at 4k resolution, 60 frames per second with chips built on the powerful Zen 2 and RDNA architectures from AMD.
The system will also have ray-tracing support, GDDR6 memory, and the latest high-speed NVMe hard drive, which usually only appears on fairly good gaming PCs at this time. While specific figures have not been released, Phil Spencer said that the Xbox Series X would have four times the CPU of Xbox One and the GPU that is twice as powerful as Xbox One X – which means that the GPU of the Xbox Series X will have the power. Strongly handles about 12 Tflops, equivalent to a few high-end PC graphics cards at this time (RTX 2080Ti is 13.4 Tflops, GTX 1080 Ti is more than 11 Tflops).
The new direction of Microsoft
The name “Series X” also somewhat confirms another lower-gen Xbox system, until now known only through rumors but not officially verified by Microsoft. According to those rumors, the structure, codenamed Lockhart, has weaker or comparable components to the Xbox One X and aims to play next-gen games at resolutions lower than 4k. Tactics of launching two versions at two different prices a tactic that has proven to be successful at this time, with Xbox One X – Xbox One S, PS4 Pro – PS4, Switch – Switch Lite. All three console manufacturers probably learned this tactic from mobile manufacturers.
Microsoft’s orientation for the Xbox Series X and its younger brother Lockhart seems clear. They want to make a gaming machine more comfortable to use than the Xbox, powerful almost PC for gamers who do not wish to have a headache with that trouble setting. “Our goal has always been to make the console as powerful as possible, and I think we have achieved the goal,” said Phil Spencer. “We love being ahead of the pack in terms of power and performance (with Xbox One X), and I feel like I will be at the top again (with Xbox Series X).” Therefore, it is safe to assume that unless the “nothing but conditioned” gamer owns a mighty PC, the Xbox Series X will provide a better gaming experience than the average PC gamer I own at home, least for the first few years.
Besides, Xbox Series X is also armed by Microsoft with another important weapon: the past. While Sony announced it was still considering developing backward compatibility of PS5 in August 2019 (expected to support PS4 games only), Microsoft said that the Xbox Series X would play both titles. Xbox games released from … 2001, the first Xbox game. This shows that Microsoft recognizes itself as an untapped group of gamers who have been playing the Xbox since day one and growing up with them. I believe many Xbox gamers still have Xbox, Xbox 360 disc collections somewhere on the shelves, in stock, and Xbox Series X will give those collections a chance to shine once again.
Interestingly, this backward compatibility is one of the lessons that Microsoft learned from Sony. When PS2 was released, PS2’s backward compatibility with PS1 games gave PS2 gamers a vast inventory of games that they could play immediately while waiting for new PS2 titles to be released. Sony hasn’t forgotten this lesson right now. Still, it’s a bit of a stretch when only the first-generation PS3 is backward compatible. The PS4 doesn’t have this feature, while Microsoft is continuously expanding backward compatibility. from Xbox One to the present. This is also a similarity between the Xbox Series X and the PC: PCs today can still play games from a few decades ago, although sometimes it needs the help of patches, mods, or emulators.
“Cool down” the war
Because Microsoft’s game business direction has changed, Microsoft and Sony will no longer be direct rivals. In addition to creating a powerful console like the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is still promoting services, not on the console, and not even on a PC (but on a player’s phone or tablet) like xCloud, a streaming gaming service similar to Google’s recently launched Stadia. Microsoft will acquire many console, PC, and mobile gamers, thanks to this strategy, and sell games and services without almost any competition from Sony.
The new PS5 from Sony will still be a formidable opponent on the console front because it is also designed based on the same criteria. PS5 owns powerful configuration, has many exclusive brands “terrible” created by talented studios such as Sucker Punch, Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, Guerrilla Games … created. The success of the PS4 also made a vast number of potential customers for Sony because many gamers do not want to abandon the game store that they have been diligently collecting for many years. However, Sony’s weakness is that it does not own an operating system that runs on 77% of computers worldwide, and this is the target gamer that Microsoft is targeting.
For these reasons, the next-gen battle between the Xbox Series X and PS5 may not be as fierce as previous systems. Sony has remained on the path of selling low-cost machines (some rumors say that the PS5 will cost $ 499) to sell profitable games, while Microsoft is expanding into new markets. However, the next generation of consoles will certainly not be boring because they will become the PC’s strong rivals.