Months of teasing preceded Microsoft’s Xbox One announcement last week. To be honest, part of me was elated that real details had arrived after a year of hints and photos of its processor. The other half was happy we could finally put conversations of the Xbox One X price to rest. Not for the first time, I was wrong.
The Xbox One X costs $499, and some people seem very pissed about that. They believe that Microsoft should have sold the console for a loss. They think that Sony’s PlayStation 4 enjoys such great sales and recognition that Microsoft should have used a cheap way to play 4K games to lure over folks that might otherwise buy a PS4 Pro.
I’m not upset about the console costing this much at all. It was reckless for any “industry insider” or rumor monger to suggest that it might cost any less. Xbox One X has a more powerful processor, more RAM and a GPU that beats anything the Xbox Team has ever shipped. This thing is a gaming PC with an Xbox logo on it. I can finally play games in full 4K on the television I purchased for Xbox One S.
Selling a console at a loss doesn’t guarantee you success. Especially with the crowd the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are aimed at. Any gamer that knows enough to want a 4K capable system for their 4K television is savvier than the average person. Perhaps if the console didn’t offer HD the guy down the street rocking a Clippers jersey might care. As it is, he’s only worried about news from the offseason and playing NBA 2K17’s MyCareer Mode before NBA 2K18 arrives. Tell him he can’t play in HD and maybe you have a problem. Tell him he needs to pay $399 for 4K gaming and he’ll buy a $249 Xbox One S with Minecraft and take his girlfriend out with the extra cash.
Diehards and media fans with legit 4K and Dolby Atmos setups are the target market for this new console. They’re willing to pay the Xbox One X price Microsoft announced; I’m sure of it. I know this because they were willing to buy a 4K television when an HD television would have worked just fine.
But let’s set the Fan vs Normal people argument aside for a second. There’s also an argument to be made that going with $499 and no less was also a responsible business decision.
The internet and phones with contracts have folks believing that electronics are cheap. The gaming industry perpetuated the same belief amongst console buyers by selling their hardware at a lost. They banked on high games sales and online subscriptions to help make up the loss. When that didn’t happen, they went bust.
In this climate of changing tastes, petty wars and everlasting video game sales, selling a console at a huge loss is irresponsible. Even selling at cost is dangerous. Console attachment rates can’t be nearly as good as they once were. Your shaving kit needs new blades. If you don’t shave, you don’t feel like yourself. Also, you could be violating your office’s dress code. You don’t need to buy Mass Effect Andromeda. Not with sales going every week and so many free games available with an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
So, leave Microsoft alone about the Xbox One X price already. If you have a 4K TV and really care that much about games, get ready to pre-order. If you have an Xbox One S and a 4K TV, trade the console in for a discount on Xbox One X. If you have neither, get or keep your original Xbox One and play some games already.
Fam, Team Xbox knows what they’re doing. Relax and play more Halo Wars 2.