Today, Microsoft revealed its latest console upgrade: the Xbox One X. Sure, it’s powerful. Yes, that design looks sleek. Still, I think the new hardware is going to make things confusing for a lot of people.
The most superficial complaint we can make is that “Xbox One X” is not a good name when compared to, say, “Xbox Scorpio.” Xbox One X also sounds too similar to Xbox One S when you say it out loud, which is likely going to be a nightmare for parents come Christmas time. (“Which one did Timmy want again...?”) But I think there’s a deeper problem here too, based on marketing. During the E3 presentation today, Microsoft said that the Xbox One X was the “smallest Xbox ever.”
As previously marketed, the Xbox One S’s improvements were supposed to be speed and size. I mean—the “S” is widely considered to mean “Slim,”even though that’s not actually official. But now that console is not the smallest Xbox! We don’t have exact comparisons for speed, but Microsoft spent a lot of time emphasising that the Xbox One X will have the fastest processor to ever power a console, and that it has been built for “maximum power and efficiency.”
The message is confusing. I foresee people not actually knowing what console is the “better” one. And with so many buzzwords attached to the Xbox One X (teraflops? “true 4K”), if someone just casually interested in video games walks into a Game or something, they’re going to see the Xbox One X and Xbox One S paired side-by-side, overtly promising the same thing (speed! power! smaller size!), but with one major difference: price. What do you think they’ll go for? I’m guessing it’ll be the cheaper console, the Xbox One S.
My gut tells me that Microsoft just pulled a Wii U, and many people are going to end up puzzled as to what console they should get.