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 the Xbox One X is almost the same size as the Xbox One S! We don’t have exact comparisons for speed, but Microsoft spent a lot of time emphasizing 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 (terraflops? “true 4K”), if someone just casually interested in video games walks into a Gamestop 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 in that people are going to end up puzzled as to what console they should get.