The Xbox One X Is A Tough Sell

The Xbox One X Is A Tough Sell

The Xbox One X does exactly what it’s meant to do, but who is it for? Is it worth buying the most powerful game console ever? Let’s discuss on today’s Kotaku Splitscreen.

First Kirk and I talk about World of Warcraft Classic, the end of Miiverse, and whether the video game industry is really unsustainable. Then we’re joined by indie designer Zach Barth (33:13) to talk about his excellent new game, Opus Magnum.

Finally, Kotaku‘s Mike Fahey comes on the show to talk about the Xbox One X (58:36), a console that does exactly what it promises to do… which probably isn’t enough for most people. (Read his review here.)

Get the MP3 right here. A brief excerpt from our Xbox One conversation:

Kirk: You have all the consoles, Fahey, so how do you see the Xbox One X fitting into your gaming ecosystem?

Fahey: Well, let’s put it this way: Now that I’ve completed my review of the Xbox One X, it’s still hooked up to an HDR 4K TV, and there’s a few things I’ll go and check out some more, and I’ll check out other games as their enhancements get downloaded, and see if that changes them significantly. But I’m glad to go back to my PlayStation 4 Pro.

Jason: Interesting. Why?

Fahey: The game library is what it comes down to. My tastes lean toward anime-type stuff: RPGs, rhythm games. PlayStation 4 has all of that. The Xbox One X, and Xbox in general, has a lot of the same standard triple-A games, not so many indie games, and an absolute dearth of Japanese imports because the Xbox One is nothing in Japan.

It’s hard to say where the Xbox One X fits in. It wants to be competitive with the PlayStation 4 Pro — you can see that in the specs.

Kirk: And it should be said, it’s a much more powerful console.

Fahey: It’s like 1.4 times more powerful than the PlayStation 4 [Pro] is what the spec from Microsoft was bandying about. And it does have an Ultra-HD Blu-ray player, and the PlayStation 4 does not have that. But it also only plays Xbox games, there’s not a lot of them, the exclusives the Xbox One gets aren’t as amazing as, say, Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Kirk: And you can play them on PC. Forza Horizon 3, for example, I love that game but I play it on PC, I don’t play it on Xbox One.

Fahey: And the thing is, 4K is more important on the PC, because you sit at a desk, you’re a couple feet away from your monitor. So that pixel density makes a big difference.

There are charts online that show you the viewing distance for a 140cm 4K TV, for it to make a difference with the human eye, and it’s like, you have to be 1.07m away for it to really make a difference. And I’m not sitting 1.07m away from my 4K TV.

Fahey: If someone had no console at all right now, and they didn’t have an HDR TV and a 4K TV, and they said I have no console, I want to play the system with the most games, that’s PlayStation. It’s hands down PlayStation. The Xbox One’s been struggling to keep up with the PlayStation since 2013.

And it’s almost as if — PlayStation’s had two iterations, but Microsoft’s done three, and it’s almost as if they brought their sandwich to the sandwich building contest and they’re like ‘Nope, yours isn’t good enough’ and Microsoft says, ‘Hold on a sec,’ and they lift the bread up and throw some more stuff in there and they’re like, ‘How about now?’ ‘Not quite.’

And [Microsoft] says ‘Be right back. Here we go. Four times the meat. How about now?’ It’s still the same sandwich, but OK.

There’s lots more discussion of the Xbox One X and much more. As always, you can find Google Play. Leave us a review if you like what you hear, and reach us at [email protected] with any and all questions, requests, and suggestions.


  • I’ve been saying this for ages like since the ps3 days

    but Kotaku seem very anti Xbox… it’s kinda funny

    Don’t see any articles mentioning how PS4 Pro is barely a 4K Console with very little native 4K support and at the same price point almost?

    pretty happy with the One X and it must be doing well considering it smashed Xbox’s previous pre order records so it can’t be that hard of a tough sell… It’s even sold out in japan apparently?

    • The Xbox One X, as a raw piece of hardware, is fantastic. And as a piece of engineering it’s really top notch.

      But you’re buggered without decent internet.

      And right now, there’s really bugger all exclusives worth playing on it. No Sea of Thieves. No Crackdown. Forza Motorsport is a very niche game. There’s not as many indie games (partially because Sony allowed unrated games to be sold on their platform; Xbox didn’t).

      The PS4 Pro also really isn’t at the same price point. You can pick PS4 Pro bundles up for around $200 cheaper than an Xbox One X right now. That’s nearly a third of the price of the console (or almost half the price of a PS4 Pro bundle).

      That’s a huge, huge difference.

      Again, great piece of hardware. Nobody’s denying that.

      But that’s only half the puzzle. I think that’s completely fair to say.

      • I agree that This review is a little weird. The amount of articles I’ve seen on kotaku about how much better the ps4 is at playing cross platform games is ridiculous. Then this consoles comes out, smashes every existing consoles performance in the face, and it’s suddenly not what we want?

        I get the the whole exclusive games deal, I really do, but if you want to play most games with the best performance. You get an Xbox. That’s it market

        • This isn’t a review; it’s a podcast with a partial transcript (for those who can’t listen at work or whatever reason), but I get where you’re coming from.

          Gamers always want more power, more performance, more games, for cheaper. The lived in experience of something is often secondary to those considerations. But a lot of time it’s actually more important.

          The Switch is a perfect example of this.

          • I think this console caters for a specific demographic thanks to its premium price point. Relative to other consoles, because at $650 it’s actually close to being on par with the original Xbox One and much cheaper than say the PS3 when that came out.

            It’s for console gamers that are the equivalent of PC gamers wanting the latest 1080 graphics card. Not everyone wants or can afford that, but plenty do/can.

            It’s not for everyone, but there plenty of people that will get them.

          • Couldn’t agree more. I’d pick a fun game over a good looking game every single time. The switch is currently my favorite console by a long long way. Plus I’m one of the 5 people on the planet that liked the wiiU. I just think there is a market for the X and if someone wanted the best experience from a cconsole (pc’s are not in this conversation) they should buy it.
            I own every console just so I can play every game but if a game is not exclusive you guarantee I’ll be playing it on the X. ….. unless it’s on the switch…. I want it portable….. S&$!#

        • I’d argue if you wanted the best performance you’d go for a high end PC, I consider consoles to be more about convenience.

          Part of me is considering getting an X.B.O.X so that I have a 4k player (getting a 4k tv tomorrow but won’t have any 4k content), but outside of that one use case I just find Xbones to be seriously painful to use.
          My job has meant I’ve used both the xbone and ps4 consistently since launch, and the ps4 is hands-down a much better user experience.
          Really sad considering (until it’s laser broke) I always opted for my 360 over my ps3. The 360 was super pleasant.

          Maybe in a year or so the 1X will be cheap enough for me to just pick one up for high-deffy purposes, and maybe by then they will have made the thing nice to use.

          • Yeah I like to leave pc’s out of this conversation. I just don’t like to game on them and they are kind of in a different market … if ya feel me.

      • Why is decent internet such an issue? If you are that worried about it you could just unplug the internet from it and disc games will play without updates. How is it any different to buying the game off steam and installing the hi-res texture packs?

        Again with the exclusive thing? MS finally did a good thing and make their exclusives available to pc users and stopped performing the dick move of paying for 3rd party exclusiveness that screws everyone over and they get reamed for it?

        There’s still only $100 difference between rrp on both consoles (XBONEX and PS4PRO) and yes i know you can get the pro cheaper but its older now – the x just came out – when the pro came out it wasnt on sale either.

        I have all 3 consoles and a gaming pc (console agnostic? lol i dunno what you would call call it), and i have to agree there is major ps4 bias at kotaku au.

        • The key difference there is that users make an active choice to install those hi-res texture packs; they’re basically free optional bits of DLC. Having the choice is important.


      The cry of a salty fanboy.

      People are allowed to hold negative opinions of things you like. Stop acting like kotaku has insulted your firstborn.

      I own an xbox one and the criticisms that have been raised are quite valid. You are blinded by your fanboyism.

        • im loads of fun, I dont cry over someone saying negative things about xbox. I enjoy the party 🙂

      • I don’t think you have to be a fanboy to make this observation. There is a pretty clear lean towards Playstation when it comes to the article choices. The website is sourced from tons of writers so it’s not a 100% Playstation rules XBOX drools website, but they used to jump at the chance to point out every little graphical edge the PS3 had over the XBOX 360.

        As for why the writers seem to prefer pointing out the flaws of Microsoft consoles while praising Sony consoles, the website is called Kotaku. So it’s bound to cut the Japenese product more slack. There’s also some legitimate fatigue with these upgraded consoles.

    • The preorder records are compared to previous XOne consoles. Japan sold out because they only had enough for the pre orders. As in they didn’t stock anything but the preorder stock because they won’t be selling much more than that.
      It’s definitely a hard sell. Playing the same multiplats I play on my PS4 with a nicer shine isn’t really that big a reason for most people to buy a console that’s more expensive than consoles at launch when in about 2 to 3 years the next gen should be coming out. It needs the exclusives with it to match. If they were able to snatch Anthem and make it an exclusive and bundle it with the console for launch I’d tell you it would sell its socks off.
      Yeah and I haven’t even mentioned all the other reasons why it would be a hard sell.

  • An Xbox that loads games faster and plays them at a more solid frame rate and at true 4k HDR 10 on my 4k HDR tv… And it has a 4k blu ray player built in to get the decent bitrate video… a tough sell? Doesn’t seem so tough to me.

    I acknowledge I’m the target audience too (250+ digital x1 games, including my backwards compatable games and a 4k telly).

  • I have to agree with grummm_didley but to be honest the indie games on PS4 are pretty bad including some of the Japanese Rpgs so really when you look at it they are even matched for games. Xbox One X is more powerful even without a 4k TV and is native 4k compared to the PS4 Pro. Assassins Creed and Gears of War 4 look amazing so does Halo 5. Call of Duty WWII looks a lot better as well. All i can say is please do more research before putting your review up as it does seem a bit bias when you haven’t tried the console fully.

  • I’ve really wanted to enjoy the Xbone, but the Xbone UI is a mess and way less responsive and user friendly than the Switch or PS4. The only reason I got an Xbone in the first place was because I was so into Rock Band on the 360, that in order to keep my song library alive in the next gen, it was my only option.

    Since then, the amount of stuff I’ve played or watched on my Xbone has been hardly anything. In the years since I’ve had the console, I’ve used it to play Rock Band 4, Far Cry 4 and Cuphead. The amount of blurays I’ve watched on it I could probably count on one hand, since the PS4 was way better for it (faster startup from being off).

    I upgraded to the XboneX since I’ve got a 4K HDR tv and still had a first gen Xbone, but the X still has all the frustrations I’ve loathed all along. Tried to fire up a 4K bluray the day I got it and the bluray player app kept hanging. Got it to finally work after putting a normal bluray in first. It shouldn’t be so painful.

    If the lineup of exclusive games hooked me enough, I’d probably be able to look past some of the issues, but if I can play the same game and encounter less headaches on my PS4 (non-pro), that’s what I’m gonna do.

      • It’s fast, that’s for sure. Kind of wish they went back to the old 360 dashboard design, myself. But it’s quick.

      • Yeah, it’s a positive step and long overdue.

        My first gen Xbone frustrated the hell out of me many times, so I’m hoping that’s all in the past. I’ll probably go the Xbone copies of RDR2 and A Way Out next year.

  • Seems to be selling out across the globe.

    Each day we read about increasing games old, new, enhanced, not enhanced all running and looking absolutely incredible.

    Seems it’s a very easy sell to MS

  • Sounds like someones salty they purchased PS4 Pro. Now that thing is a hard sell, can’t do native 4k outside some crappy indie games & no 4k blu-ray. I wonder what they were smoking when released that half baked console.

  • If you need one console to rule them all, I daresay the PS4 (Pro) is still where your going.

    But by golly my socks were blown off with the X1X.

    Every other multiplat game on this thing just runs better. Even where a game isn’t ‘enhanced’, there’s less frame hitching and fps drops.

    Being honest, as commentariat, I don’t think many get what this console is.

    However once you go the average age of gamers is what, 32, and with resulting disposable income (and not all of us are gaming on PC), the console starts making more sense as ‘the best experience you can have sitting on your couch’. As really, the west in general is still mostly playing the western multiplatform games, not the Japanese PS4 only stuff.

    • With the XboneX, it’s definitely leveled the field a bit, but like they mention above though – it needs some solid exclusives.

      While I love the PS4, I was actually totally caught offguard by how much I’d love the Switch.
      I was never a Zelda or Mario guy growing up, but I haven’t been able to get enough of BotW and Odyssey. As it stands, I’d recommend the Switch over the other two for gaming.

      • I wouldn’t go that far – my Switch has generally sat unused after I finished Zelda. Odyssey is okay, but to me was ‘just another Mario game’ mostly.

        Nothing on the Switch atm is what I would mindblowing. There’s a few solid firstparty stuff, but that’s about it.

        That being said, I sit here typing this whilst I have a BNIB switch sitting in the cupboard, hoping for exploits so I can get RetroArch on it > <.

  • It’s pretty easy to see why it’s a hardsell. At the same time its not. The people buying this have enough money to not care about the negatives, don’t know about the negatives or have just always been Xbox gamers.

    There are a lot of reasons why this is a difficult console to sell. Especially in Australia.

  • i just want it to act double duty as a pc with access to GOG and steam and office and win10.
    that would suit me great for a pc.

  • I quite openly abuse my XB1, what sort of piece of …. can’t run DVDs but can run Blu ray perfectly fine. I understand not having backwards compatibility for games, it requires code and graphics engines etc, but DVD technology hasn’t changed ….

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!