Back in 2013 when the original Xbox One launched, it was surrounded by a lot of controversy. If you’ve been keeping up with gaming news since then, chances are you remember the big to-do over ‘Resolutiongate’. This referred to how developers were having trouble getting their games to run at 1080p on the Xbox One since it wasn’t as powerful as the PS4.
Now that the Xbox One X is about to launch, Microsoft has the upper-hand. The system has very advanced specs that are quite an increase over the original Xbox One, and even surpass the PS4 Pro. In a recent interview with GameInformer, Xbox Marketing Lead Albert Penello emphasized how easy it is for developers to make use of the Xbox One X’s power:
We announced Project Scorpio at E3 2016, and people were surprised that we announced an Xbox One S at the beginning of the show, then a new console at the end of the show. We actually had two new consoles that we were doing, because on top of Xbox One X, we had our development kit, which was designed to be the world’s greatest development kit. The numbers, the specs of the console, when you talk about six teraflops and 12 gigs of GDR5 memory… all those performance specs, those are there for a reason.
What was really interesting about the development of Xbox One X is that in typical console generations, you are just starting over; you have new specs and you’re just throwing them out to the world and saying, “Please build the best games you can with these specs.” In this case, we took the existing engines that we had and we ran hundreds of thousands of simulation runs specifically to figure out what it’s going to take to get 4K and 4K textures with this engines running. Every number in the box was specifically designed to do exactly what we said it was going to do. That makes this a very interesting development from a hardware perspective. We made the box from the get-go to have the performance and to have the devkit to make it easy for developers to enhance their games, and I think that’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing so much support so quickly for a product that hasn’t even launched yet.
Penello was asked if Microsoft expects a lot of developers to truly utilize the Xbox One X’s added power. He emphasized that the decision is up to the individual developers/publishers:
I certainly hope so. Like I talked about, we really tried to make it easy for developers who are building these great, high-end assets on PC to have another platform to bring that to. The speed with which we’ve seen support has been outstanding, and my hope is that going forward every game is Xbox One X-enhanced. Ultimately, those are decisions that each developer and publisher are going to have to make. I’m very encouraged based on what we’re seeing right now.
At this time, there are 160 Xbox One titles that will be receiving Xbox One X enhancements in the coming months. It’s unlikely that every single game will get this treatment, but the real concern is how many future titles will make use of the system’s power. Perhaps this will be determined by how the system sells. The general development process may be easy, but every studio is going to have a different experience. If sales don’t really take off, then perhaps a lot of developers will turn away from pushing the One X and would end up just sticking to the basics. Of course, only time will tell.