Xbox Series X: Microsoft is finally delivering a console for hardcore gamers

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No more ‘all-in-one entertainment system’. With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is finally going all-in on appealing to hardcore gamers.

Remember when marketing the Xbox One, Microsoft was so obsessed with it becoming the center piece of your living room? It seems in marketing the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is no longer concerned about the Xbox console being your “all-in-one games and entertainment system.”

Sure, the Xbox Series X will have all the popular streaming service apps like Netflix and and Spotify and HBO Now and YouTube and so on. But there seems to have been a clear cut shift in focus when it comes to marketing the Xbox Series X.

Microsoft no longer seems to care about branding the Xbox an “entertainment system.” With the Xbox Series X, they want it to be to be the “fastest” and “most powerful” console ever. Judging by their revealed specs, its well on its way to becoming just that.

In the marketing for the Xbox Series X, we’re seeing a clear focus on features that appeal to hardcore games. Microsoft is touting 12 TFLOPS of GPU, Variable Rate Shading, SSD storage, 120 FSP support, backwards compatibility, Smart Delivery and all sorts of technical jargon that appeals to hardcore gamers.

Microsoft seems less concerned about appealing to the masses. They want to win over the hardcore gamers. They want Xbox to be viewed as the premiere gaming console.

It’s such a refreshing shift from the Xbox One’s initial marketing which, to be blunt, was a complete debacle. From the Kinect to always-on DRM, the Xbox One was viewed as non-gamer friendly. Fast forward almost seven years later, and it can be argued that Microsoft is the most gamer-friendly of the Big Three.

Xbox Game Pass is probably the best value money can buy when it comes to video games. Not only do you get access to a  large library of games, but you also get every new first-party title on day one included with your subscription. And this will apply to Xbox Series X, meaning Halo: Infinite — the newest installment in Xbox’s flagship series — as well as future first-party releases will be playable in full as long as you’ve got Game Pass.

Microsoft has championed backward and forward compatibility. They’ve got great backward compatibility support on Xbox One with Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. This will carry over to Xbox Series X where you’ll be able to play all existing Xbox One games without having to re-purchase them.

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Smart Delivery is another consumer friendly feature aimed at making the transition from Xbox One to Xbox Series X a little easier on your wallet. All Xbox Game Studios titles coming out for Xbox One and Xbox Series X will upgrade automatically at no additional cost. So if you buy them on Xbox One and then upgrade to Xbox Series X later down the road, you won’t have to re-buy them.

This feature is also available for third-party developers and publishers. CD Projekt Red has already voiced their support for it and will be applying Smart Delivery to Cyberpunk 2077.

Microsoft has pushed for cross-platform gaming not only within its own ecosystem (Xbox One and PC) but with Nintendo and PlayStation. Even though they may have had ulterior motives for this, cross-platform play is incredibly popular among gamers.

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The point is, every decision Microsoft has made with the Xbox One has been made with the gamer in mind. It’s the most consumer-friendly gaming platform available and now, with Xbox Series X, they’ve got a console to finally appeal to the hardcore gamers. They’ve finally gone all-in on gaming.

It used to be Sony touting itself as the console “for the players.” Well, they clearly aren’t the only one anymore.