The upcoming Xbox One X is touted to be the most powerful console ever built, so why will it only play classic Xbox games? We spoke to two top Xboxers to get the scoop on what’s behind Microsoft’s strategy and what we can eXpect from the Xbox One X.
NewsReparter: So a lot of people were excited to hear that the Xbox One X is going to be the most powerful console ever, but were confused when it was later reported that the console would only be capable of playing classic Xbox games; that is games from the early 2000’s, 2001 to about 2007. Can you tell us how that decision was made?
Peter: We felt that it was time to recapture that feeling [of when] the Xbox was really original and exciting, we thought how can we go back to that space? Nintendo had just come out with the “NES Classic” and Jim said, “Hell, lets just re-release the same stuff we did back then but we’ll do it at full price, giant crab controllers… everything,” and we were like, can we do that? It seemed so crazy and simple but it was also really fresh and eXciting sounding.
Jim: We’re even going to have the special launch edition with the faulty power cable that can catch fire!
NewsReparter: Some of that makes sense, Nintendo’s had huge success using nostalgia to lure customers back, but if the Xbox One X is essentially a re-release of the classic Xbox why is it so eXpensive(est. $499 usd)? Why is it being called the most powerful console ever?
Peter: The most powerful console, yeah, i mean power is all about confidence right?
Jim: …and looking strong! We’ve got a huge black box and its just filled with confidence.
Peter: And we’ve got all the games people loved, Halo 1, Halo 2, Fable 1, Project Gotham Racing 1, Halo 1, Jade Empire, Madden 06, Fusion Frenzy, Halo 1… The list just goes on.
Jim: It’s worth noting that we’re sticking to the original release schedule so when the Xbox One X launches it’ll pretty much just be Halo 1 and Fusion Frenzy.
Peter: Don’t forget about Kabuki Warriors!
Jim: (deranged laughter) HAHAHAHAHA!
Peter: And in about 3 years gamers can look forward to Halo 2!
NewsReparter: Wow, replicating that original release schedule is a huge commitment to nostalgia…
Peter: The original Xbox was where Microsoft entered the console market, it was a crazy time, Sega was getting out of the business and we went in big time, the biggest console, the biggest controllers, lots of wild new experimental titles, things that are household names now like Halo got their start there, but we also got a lot of sequels that were Dreamcast refugees and even from Sega themselves, titles like Jet Set Radio Future and Panzer Dragoon Orta that don’t really exist anywhere else.
Jim: But we haven’t forgotten about PC gamers, Microsoft has been making a bigger commitment to bringing the games back to PC lately and we’re extending this nostalgia trip from the Xbox to the Beige Box! The plan is to roll out Games For Windows Live 2 alongside our new Operating System: Windows XXP.
NewsReparter: Are you at all worried about the negative press associated with GFWL (Games For Windows Live)? Is GFWL2 something different from before?
Jim: Games For Windows Live 2 is a new full service gaming network that also functions as a great DRM solution for developers and we’ve got a number of your favorite game studios signed up to coat GFWL2 all over the stuff you want to play.
Peter: We know people are worried that GFWL2 is going to break games or get in the way of playing (without jumping through crazy workarounds) just like the original GFWL and we just want to assure people that that is absolutely the case. We keep saying it and we really mean it, Microsoft is going all in on nostalgia so I’m going to promise you right now that GFWL2 will definitely impact your gaming eXperience. If you think about it, a lot of those games that were impacted by the original GFWL are much more memorable because of it. Nobody looks back at an old game and says, “Hey remember how effortless it was to just launch that game and play it?” but people are still talking about how impressively broken Grand Theft Auto 4 was on PC.
NewsReparter: You do have a point there. Getting back to the Xbox One X, why is the price $500, the original Xbox was only $300 at launch, is this added cost due to inflation or something else? And a second point; consoles make most of their money off of software, If the Xbox One X is re-releasing old games, won’t people just buy really cheap old copies or play the games they still have?
Jim: I think I can address both of those.
Peter: Go ahead, Jim.
Jim: While the Xbox One X is internally built on the same technology as the original Xbox console, this new version does NOT have a disc drive, that’s where the real money behind the Xbox One X comes in, the crystal chamber. Newly released games don’t come on discs anymore, they come on these giant chunks of crystal, these cubes, we call them “Gamecubes”.
Peter: It’s an amazing technology because when you put the “Gamecube” onto the crystal chamber it becomes uniquely encoded to your Xbox, so there’s no way to take it to a friend’s house or resell it, we’re really excited about that. Plus nobody’s proven that the crystal chamber gives you cancer, even though the “Gamecubes” get insanely hot due to all the radiation [the crystal chamber] puts out.
Jim: The radiation is this really cool green color so its totally classic Xbox.
NewsReparter: Thanks for your time.
Peter: Thank you!
Jim: Our pleasure.
The Xbox One X is eXpected to be available for preorder later this year.