Microsoft unveils the $499 Xbox One X, the most powerful console ever

The true form of "Project Scorpio" lands on November 7th.

Say hello to the Xbox One X, the next member of Microsoft's Xbox One family. Previously known as "Project Scorpio," it was first teased at last year's E3, and we caught a glimpse at its powerful hardware a few months ago. At E3 today, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox One X will land on November 7th for $499/£449. The big takeaway: It's significantly more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro, so much so that it can run some games at 4K/60 frames per second.

We also finally got to see what the console will look like. It's black and boxy, like the original Xbox One, but its top portion hangs over a slimmer base. It looks like Microsoft tweaked the Xbox One S design a bit to be even more streamlined. Surprisingly, the company claims the Xbox One X is its smallest console ever.

Under the hood, the Xbox One X features a custom eight-core AMD CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, a six-teraflop GPU clocked at 1.17GHz and 12GB of GDDR5 video RAM. And, as we've previously heard, Microsoft says the console is capable of 4K/HDR gaming with Dolby Atmos support (something the Xbox One already offers). If you don't have a 4K TV, the Xbox One X will also make games look better in 1080p, thanks to supersampling and its added horsepower.

The Xbox One X also features a 4K Blu-ray drive, like the Xbox One S, something that even the PlayStation 4 Pro doesn't support. You also won't have to rebuild your game library or buy new accessories for the Xbox One X, as it'll be compatible with everything from the Xbox One.

In another console first, Microsoft developed a liquid-cooled vapor chamber to keep the Xbox One X's hardware from overheating. That's something we've seen on PC gaming hardware, and given the amount of horsepower inside of the console, it makes sense for Microsoft to go the liquid cooling route. The last thing the company needs is a repeat of the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death fiasco.

One bonus to being the most powerful console ever made: The Xbox One X is also exactly what Microsoft needs to bring VR into living rooms. While the PlayStation 4 was just powerful enough for virtual reality (with a bit of assistance from additional hardware), that simply wasn't possible with the Xbox One. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn't say anything about how VR would play into the Xbox One X at E3, but last year it mentioned that it was definitely thinking about virtual reality. There are a slew of inexpensive headsets coming to Windows PCs later this year, and it would be interesting if they eventually worked with the Xbox One X.

A new console wouldn't be anything without games, of course. Microsoft revealed that Forza Motorsport 7 will be launching alongside the Xbox One X. And yes, it'll be running at 4K/60fps. Based on a short clip we saw, the game's rain and sky effects look much more realistic than before (which, admittedly, were already pretty great). Forza 7 will also feature over 700 cars, a new record for the series.

Much like how Sony is handling games built for the PlayStation 4 Pro, Microsoft is listing games that can take advantage of its new hardware as "Xbox One X Enhanced." That means they'll still be able to run on the Xbox One and One S, though you can expect significantly slower performance and fewer visual effects.

4A Games is also working on Metro: Exodus for the Xbox One X, the latest title in their long-running post-apocalyptic shooter series. Everything about the game looked incredibly detailed, from the way the player's helmet slowly chips away as they're attacked, to the expansive destroyed environments. There's a wonderful Fallout and Half-Life vibe throughout as well, if a short 4K demo we saw is any indication.

If you haven't gotten sick of Assassin's Creed yet, you can also look forward to a new entry on the Xbox One X, Assassin's Creed: Origins. It's set in Egypt and, as you've probably guessed, it explores how the order of the assassins was formed. While the gameplay looks a lot like the rest of the series, based on some alpha footage, it's significantly more detailed than before. You can also now control an eagle that flies over cities and tracks specific people.

Microsoft also revealed that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will be headed to the Xbox One X exclusively later this year. The game has been a huge hit on PCs already, so nabbing an early console launch is a big get for Microsoft. It's one of many Battle Royale-esque multiplayer titles, placing you on an island with 100 other players in a fight to the death.

Overall, it looks like the Xbox One X has a strong lineup of supported titles coming, including State of Decay 2, Deep Rock Galactic, and Dragonball Fighter Z. Some of them are timed exclusives, and they're not all landing this year, but the pile of upcoming games is a good sign for Microsoft. After all, having the most powerful console around doesn't mean much if it doesn't have games people actually want to play.

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