Posted June 15, 2017 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

E3 2017: Hands-On With The Xbox One X

Last year Microsoft revealed that they were working on an upgraded Xbox One that would release late this year codenamed Project Scorpio. The goal of Project Scorpio was to release a console that was powerful enough to run games at a native 4K resolution without compromise. With the E3 2017 Xbox press conference out of the way, we now know that Project Scorpio will officially be known as the Xbox One X and will be the most powerful home console ever released. Adam had the chance to go hands-on with an Xbox One X unit at E3 2017 and got to see just how games will look running on the console.

As you may have already understood from the Xbox press conference, with every trailer possible running in 4K, the biggest focus for the Xbox One X is indeed to run games in a 4K resolution with HDR. However, if you don’t have a TV that goes beyond 1080p you’ll still see a benefit with the Xbox One X. For TVs running under a 4K resolution, the Xbox One X will use Supersampling to render games in 4K and then downsize the content to other HD resolutions while retaining all of the quality. Microsoft also confirmed that the extra power should push games running at lower resolutions to more stable framerates than what you may currently get. This means that no matter what type of TV you have, the Xbox One X will still have a noticeable benefit to image quality and stability for you.

The Xbox One X will also be the first console to utilise Dolby Atmos. If you’ve heard Dolby Atmos in cinemas before, you’ll know that it’s truly atmospheric and sounds really accurate – especially in terms of spatial positioning. This is one feature that not all games will support on Xbox One X, with a developer from The Coalition confirming that it needs to be specifically engineered for, as their Gears of War 4 update has done.

A number of games will be receiving graphical updates to make specific use of the power of the Xbox One X, with the differences being quite noticeable. This is especially true for Minecraft, with their Super Duper Graphics Pack update making specific use of the extra power. It includes specular maps – allowing for light to react differently to objects, and can be added to every block or map. Emissive maps can be added to blocks to make them generate light, adding to the effects. There’s time of day lighting, directional lighting, atmospheric lighting, an increased draw distance, better water effects and more. Mojang is also looking at foliage effects, like grass moving in the wind, for future updates.

Gears of War 4 will also receive a free update, if you already own the game, which adds dynamic shadows, higher resolution textures, god rays and Dolby Atmos, using the power of the Xbox One X to make an already visually impressive game even more impressive. There’s no doubt based on these demos that the Xbox One X will bring the best visual experiences for Xbox One games going forwards.

The actual experience of playing an Xbox One X is no different to a normal Xbox One, with the user interface and controller being completely unchanged. However, playing with a 4K displayed is impressive, especially in games like Forza Motorsport 7. The sharpness of the image is fantastic, like you’re playing a high-end PC. One cute feature of the Xbox One X development kits that won’t be part of the final consumer model is an LCD screen on the front which can display dot-matrix logos, like Assassin’s Creed Origins if it’s playing. It’s similar to the screen you would see on car stereo head units and was interesting to see, even if we won’t see it on our own machines at home.

The Xbox One X features an 8-core AMD CPu running at 2.3GHz per core, 12GB of GDDR5 graphics memory, 326GB/s of memory bandwidth, a 1TB HDD and an advanced vapour chamber liquid cooling to create a powerful console that is somehow also the smallest Xbox ever created. Keep your eyes peeled and get ready for a visual treat when the Xbox One X launches on November 7th at AU$649, with pre-orders yet to open at any stores.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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