The folks over at Xbox HQ are getting ready for the launch of the newest system: the Xbox One X. Microsoft has poured a lot of R&D into this mid-generation upgrade, seeking to provide a premium console-gaming experience by means of the system’s advanced hardware.
When the Xbox One X drops on November 7th, it really will be the ‘most powerful ever’; a line Microsoft has not been shy about repeating over-and-over since the soft reveal of the X last year. So, who is this ambitious console being primarily targetted at? The Marketing Lead over at Xbox, Albert Penello, was recently interviewed by GameInformer. Here’s what Penello had to say about the Xbox One X’s targetted market:
… The nice thing about the what we’re doing with this mid-cycle console upgrade is that a lot of the traditional console generation rules don’t apply. Typically, when this happens, you’re like, “Okay, here’s why I need to convince everyone they need to move from an Xbox 360 to an Xbox One, or an original Xbox to a 360 because that one’s going away and this is the new one.” That doesn’t really apply this time, so it kind of changes the conversation you have with customers, I think. We can basically say that as long as you buy an Xbox, we’re cool! I don’t feel the need to really go prove why you should upgrade because if the inherent value isn’t there for you and you’re not someone who cares about visuals and 4K, that’s totally cool. That’s okay.
I also don’t think the value proposition of X is relegated to hardcore gamers. I think we have seen in Xbox history that when we do premium products, they always do really well. They always surprise us. I’ll use the [Xbox One] Elite Controller as an example of something that we did that we thought was going to have a very small market, and it wildly exceeded our expectations. So I don’t like to segment the Xbox One X and S as “hardcore” and “casual” because I think it’s about performance and what matters to you than how much you game. There are really people who just really love tech and they’re getting a new 4K TV and they want to be able to show off that 4K TV, and that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how much they game.
… I believe that you’re going to see that the best versions of games will be on Xbox One X, and we built the box to be able to do that. Those guys will figure out if the value is in it for them. What I love is that all the games work, the stuff that you have is better on X even if it hasn’t been upgraded.
The part of Penello’s comment that stood out to me was when he said that it’s “okay” if consumers aren’t swayed to upgrade from the Xbox One S (or the original 2013 model) to the X. This kind of echoes what Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox) said a while back when he admitted that he’s expecting the One S to sell more than the One X.
It seems the reality of it all is that Microsoft has put a lot of effort into designing a system to appeal to a very small, select group of consumers. I’m rather curious to see how the X performs on the market.