Microsoft reveals Xbox One X, its most powerful console ever

The next version of the Xbox makes a giant splash at the world's biggest video game conference, E3 2017.

Ian Sherr Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
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Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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3 min read
Watch this: Xbox One X arrives November 7 for $499

Bye Project Scorpio, hello to the new Xbox One X.

The console, revealed by Microsoft at its E3 2017 conference on Sunday, is promising better graphics for players, whether or not they have a 4K television.

They do this by using a technique called "supersampling," where the computer creates images at a quality far higher than the TV can show, and then shrinks it down. This, Microsoft said, makes games look that much better. 

The new console is one of the most important product releases from the Xbox team in years. The Xbox One, while highly regarded by many, is estimated to have undersold the Sony PlayStation 4, its biggest competitor, nearly two to one. For Microsoft, that not only knocks a sense of pride, but it also puts the company at a disadvantage when striking deals with game publishers and attempting to invest in new technology and groundbreaking new games.

Meanwhile, Sony's released a series of hit games, such as the Indiana Jones-inspired action adventure game Uncharted 4, that is only playable on its PlayStation 4. In addition to that console, which was first released in 2013 and currently sells for $250, the company last year released an Xbox One X-like competitor called PlayStation 4 Pro. The PlayStation 4 Pro sells for $400.

Sony's been pushing its competition against Microsoft in other ways too. While Microsoft struck a partnership with Facebook's Oculus virtual reality goggle maker, Sony released a device it had been developing for more than three years, called the PlayStation VR. Having sold nearly 1 million units in less than six months, the device has beaten Sony's internal expectations.

Sony isn't Microsoft's only competition. Nintendo's new Switch console, released in March, has also been given high marks by reviewers.

Super powerful tech

Some of the games Microsoft showed off during the event are enhanced by the One X's more powerful chips, which were mostly revealed earlier this year. They include a custom microprocessing brain and a super potent chip to power the slick visuals the company showed on stage.

In techie speak, that's a custom eight-core x86 chip clocked at 2.3 Ghz, integrated AMD graphics with 6 teraflops of performance, 12 GB of GDDR5 memory, 1TB of storage, a 4K/HDR Blu-ray drive along with support for 4K and HDR television sets. This all translates to sharper looking games that can play on next-generation TVs and look even better on older ones too.

And in addition to being the most powerful video game console it's built, Microsoft says it's also the smallest the company's ever released (a crowd pleasing line, considering some of its previous devices have been rather bulky).

Microsoft has been building the hype for its Scorpio-code-named device slowly over the past year, discussing the technology behind it in dribs and drabs, but not sharing other details like what it looks like or its price until Sunday's press conference. 

The new Xbox One X up close and in pictures

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The console is expected to be released worldwide on November 7 and cost $499 in the US. 

Xbox One X and games: All of Microsoft's E3 2017 announcements

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For more on E3 2017, check out complete coverage on CNET and GameSpot.  

First published June 11, 2:15 p.m. PT.
Update, June 12 at 8:25 a.m.: Adds more details about the device and background.

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