Microsoft finally revealed the official name for its next-generation game console during The Game Awards 2019: Xbox Series X. Alongside the name announcement, the company also showed the system’s PC-like design and even gave more details on games coming to the system, the controller, and some of its internal specifications. With a year to go before the system’s launch, however, there is still a lot we don’t know regarding Xbox Series X. These questions could determine whether or not it ends up being a worthwhile purchase, and he have five big questions for Xbox Series X that will need to be answered.
What are the launch games?
Thus far, only one game has been confirmed as a launch title for Xbox Series X: Halo Infinite. This game is also coming to PC and the Xbox One, however, and we need information on other games that will be Series X exclusives or console-exclusives on launch day. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II could be one of them, but a release date isn’t available yet.
Microsoft needs to prove itself right out of the gate, as well, because it has been acquiring studios like crazy over the past few years. Playground Games is rumored to be working on a new Fable project, and this would be the perfect complement to Halo Infinite on launch day. A Forza game or something for younger players would also be welcome.
How much will games cost?
AAA games have not seen their price go up on an Xbox platform in more than 14 years, with the Xbox 360 making $60 the standard for home consoles even since. However, this stagnant price hasn’t factored in inflation, and as games have continued to become more expensive to produce, publishers have turned to downloadable content and microtransactions in order to turn a profit.
It has led to far fewer traditional single-player experiences from major publishers, and if Microsoft were price its own games at $70 instead, it could help to make up the difference and lead to less overt cash-grabbing in the games themselves. Perhaps this is wishful thinking, of course, and it would just mean more money for shareholders.
How much will the console cost?
When Sony announced at E3 2013 that the PlayStation 4 would be a full $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, the crowd — and the internet — exploded in celebration. Microsoft can’t afford to make this mistake a second time, and it needs to announce a reasonable price well ahead of the console’s launch in order to avoid another embarrassing situation. $400 would seem like the very lowest it could go, but we could be looking at $500.
That price would not be the killing blow it was in 2013, however, if Microsoft is able to answer the next question on our list.
Is there a second console?
We’ve heard several rumors and reports over the last few months that Microsoft will actually be releasing a second version of the next-generation Xbox, possibly with a different “Xbox Series” name. This console will apparently not feature a disc drive and will be significantly less powerful, but will also have a much lower price to match and thus gives players an easier way to jump into the next generation right off the bat.
Microsoft’s decision to keep this a secret thus far, and even seemingly deny it during E3 2019, is curious, because its messaging regarding games has always been about choice and giving people more ways to play. Especially with Project xCloud on the horizon, they need to unveil the cheaper console soon.
Is it more powerful than PlayStation 5?
The big kicker, of course, is whether or not the Xbox Series X will be more powerful than the PlayStation 5. We’ve heard fairly similar specifications for their internals, with both systems capable of 8K resolution and minimizing loading times due to a solid-state drive in place of the hard drives used on the Xbox One and PS4.
Power still matters, however, even if it’s just a slight advantage and Microsoft found itself behind early in the Xbox One and PS4 generation with a weaker machine. It won’t want to make this same mistake again, and if Xbox Series X does end up being more powerful than PS5, Microsoft will need to make this a key aspect of its marketing.
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