The Xbox One X’s Problem Isn’t the Price, it’s the Console

The Xbox One X is priced fairly, but judging from its E3 presentation it's going to struggle.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

The Xbox One X is absolutely worth its $499 price tag, technically speaking. Microsoft’s branding of it as the “most powerful console ever” isn’t just a hyperbolic tagline — it’s the truth. It boasts the most substantial hardware that’s ever been crammed into a home system, will be more capable of outputting in a native 4K resolution than the PS4 Pro, and also has the benefit of a UHD Blu-ray drive. When you lay its blueprint on the table, it absolutely looks like a console worthy of its asking price.

But many believe that it still costs too much money. Speaking during the YouTube Live coverage following Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference, Wedbush Securities’ respected gaming industry analyst Michael Pachter said that the Xbox One would be a “hard sell” at $499. “The big takeaway is that the Xbox One X costs the same as an Xbox One S plus a PS4,” he said. “So if you don’t have a console, you’re like ‘do I buy that one, or do I buy two?’ And I personally would buy two.”

Pachter’s comments echo the sentiment shared by many that Microsoft is asking for too much money for the Xbox One X, despite previous rumors suggesting that it could cost between $700 and $800. With it being priced $100 more than the PS4 Pro, a less powerful 4K console, $499 is certainly reasonable in context. However, it’s also easy to see why many consider the system to be overpriced, given how poorly Microsoft presented it during its E3 presentation.

Also: Xbox One X Virtual Reality May Have Been Dropped by Microsoft

Microsoft clearly doesn’t want to divide the Xbox One’s player base, so it’s understandable why they hammered home how the games presented during their E3 press conference were also playable on the Xbox One and Xbox One S along with the Xbox One X. However, what they failed to do was unveil a selection of games that would sell the audience on 4K gaming, which is crucial in getting people to adopt the Xbox One X. Evidence of the Xbox One X’s graphical prowess peaked with Forza Motorsport 7, which also opened the show — aside from Anthem, there was nothing else in Microsoft’s line-up that would make the average viewer want to buy an Xbox One X in order to experience it in ultra high-definition.

Forza-Motorsport-7

While it’s always encouraging to see indie games take center stage at E3, Microsoft pushing power this year required them to also have a selection of graphically intensive games up their sleeve. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, as while the likes of Anthem, Forza and Metro Exodus certainly look gorgeous, they were the outliers in a presentation that, aside from the frequent references to 4K made by Microsoft, didn’t focus all too much on games that would push technical boundaries.

Considering that the vast majority of people are watching E3’s press conferences in 1080p live streams, it’s naturally difficult for Microsoft to sell 4K. Sony experienced the same issue when presenting the PS4 Pro, with its streams not doing the product justice, but at least they had the benefit of releasing an upgrade to a platform that was still in full swing. Meanwhile, Microsoft has failed to support the Xbox One since the announcement of Project Scorpio, which is bound to have a detrimental impact when it comes to convincing people to make the jump to the Xbox One X.

While the price of the Xbox One X may be reasonable considering the tech packed inside it, that many believe $499 is too much to ask suggests that the console simply doesn’t offer enough for them. Though we’re always looking for variety in our games at E3, this is the one year that Microsoft could have really benefited from emphasizing the Xbox One X’s power, and wheeling out the big guns in an effort to convince consumers to not only make the jump to their new console, but to 4K in general. Unfortunately their E3 press conference failed to deliver in this regard, making that $499 price tag seem a lot less appetizing as a result.