Xbox Series X is poised to dunk on this next console generation
Can Microsoft start the next-gen console race on top?
Interestingly enough, the Xbox Series X is going into this next console generation – that may begin this year due to COVID-19 – looking its strongest since the Xbox 360. Does this mean the Xbox Series X has this generation in the bag? No, of course not, but Microsoft is in a great position to take to the crown.
Xbox Series X enters this generation with a ton of momentum
Superior hardware specs aside, the Xbox Series X kicks off this generation with the best value proposition. Xbox Game Pass continues to be the best bang for your buck. With a library of games available on both PC and consoles, Xbox Live Game Pass is a no-brainer. If you think that they aren’t going to take the opportunity to integrate this service into the Series X, you aren’t paying attention.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that Xbox is making their console endeavors redundant with their successful services. While that may seem mostly true at this point in the Xbox One X’s lifetime, there’s plenty of indication that Microsoft will tweak the system to be more beneficial for the Series X in the future. Microsoft is a company known to give you just enough of a taste to get you hooked. It’s like their modus operandi at this point.
The Xbox Live services, like xCloud and Game Pass, are currently firing on all cylinders. They are successfully doing what PlayStation and Stadia dream of accomplishing at this point. Project xCloud is showing the world that game streaming to other devices not only works but works well.
Microsoft has also been much more transparent with what they are working on. We’ve known the design and specs of the Xbox Series X well in advance. This shows that Microsoft is clearly trying to avoid the confusion the Xbox One had during the system’s launch.
While Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is poised to go into this console generation the most future-ready, the hardware specs have a lot to say too. When you look over the spec comparisons of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, you will notice that Xbox strives to be the stronger console this generation. While I’d love to say that this will make decisions easier, we all know it isn’t that simple.
It isn’t just about what is under the hood but also how efficiently it is used. In the last few console generations alone, we could give you hundreds of examples of the more powerful system running games at a lesser quality. Microsoft should be the team that can get the most from their mini-fridge console.
The Xbox Series X is looking to be the more powerful console by a fairly large margin. The Microsoft team is going to allow game devs to choose how much of the console’s processing power they want to use as well. That means that games will likely be highly optimized for the Series X. This could also be a huge advantage for indie devs in the same way that the Nintendo Switch is enjoying success currently. If the Xbox Series X is the easier console to develop for, the decision will be easy.
It’s all up to the devs
What about those people that believe that paying for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will trivialize a new console purchase? With the differences between the four main systems people will be playing games on, there’s an interesting issue at play. Have you ever noticed how often a PC port comes out months after a console release? A lot of that is tweaking the game to work around the power (or lack thereof) that PCs have. With multiplatform games coming out to Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Switch and PC, it will be interesting to see how game devs handle the difference in power.
While PlayStation is going to include multicore processing by default, Xbox will make it optional. As mentioned, that will make the console a bastion for old school indie games. It will also allow people to stream a lot easier as well. I’m thinking Mixer integration will be an even bigger deal during this next console gen. Streaming is Microsoft’s jam for the next-gen Xbox, they’ll get you coming and going. Will Josiah leave Twitch for Mixer, just like his forebearers? I dunno, probably if they pay him to do so.
Honestly, no one really knows what this next console gen will look like. Hell, it may not even launch this year. All this has really been is me just spit-balling and applying a decade and a half of game industry knowledge to what info we have. What will be interesting this time around is that it does seem that every gaming platform has a clear idea of their identity this time around.
Microsoft spent an entire generation failing on their console to be able to cultivate some great ideas and foster goodwill. I can’t wait to see how they use it.
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