Hot new Xbox to be re­leased in Novem­ber

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Christo­pher Palmeri

MICROSOFT an­nounced a world­wide re­lease date of Novem­ber 7 for what the com­pany said would be its small­est and most pow­er­ful video-game con­sole, the Xbox One X.

The de­vice, which will be priced at $499 (R6 404), is de­signed to work with a new gen­er­a­tion of 4K tele­vi­sion sets that of­fer bet­ter pic­ture qual­ity, as well as games that of­fer ever-more-re­al­is­tic scenes of car races and fan­tasy worlds.

Microsoft made the an­nounce­ment on Sun­day at an event in Los An­ge­les be­fore the start of Elec­tronic En­ter­tain­ment Expo this week.

The new con­sole will be com­pat­i­ble with older Xbox games and ac­ces­sories.

Microsoft and ri­val Sony are try­ing to up­date their video-game ma­chines more fre­quently to phase out the no­tion of up­grad­ing once ev­ery seven years or so – the rate at which com­pa­nies tra­di­tion­ally have re­leased a new gen­er­a­tion of con­soles.

Microsoft’s lat­est ma­chine is de­signed for the high-end gamer who wants the best fea­tures and per­for­mance and who owns a TV ca­pa­ble of dis­play­ing the most ad­vanced graphics.

“They are try­ing to at­tract peo­ple who want to be able to use the ad­vanced fea­tures of TVs they’ve in­vested in,” Brian Blau, an an­a­lyst at Gart­ner, said. “Not ev­ery­one will want that if they can get a good ex­pe­ri­ence on the less-ex­pen­sive con­sole.”

Microsoft has pre­vi­ously stum­bled by pric­ing an older Xbox too high. Ini­tial sales for the Xbox One when it de­buted in 2013 were hurt by the $499 price tag, and picked up only af­ter the cost was cut. Sony faced sim­i­lar is­sues in 2006 when it re­leased the PlayS­ta­tion 3, which cost $500 to $600.

“Price has played an im­por­tant role in the launch suc­cess,” said Mike Vorhaus, the pres­i­dent of con­sult­ing firm Frank N Magid As­so­ciates. “The guy with the less ex­pen­sive box has done very well. I ex­pect that will con­tinue, ab­sent some amaz­ing par­a­digm shift.”

Core de­mo­graphic

While con­sole mak­ers have failed to demon­strate de­mand for a ma­chine that re­quires an in­vest­ment of more than $400, Microsoft is hop­ing the strat­egy will ap­peal to the most ded­i­cated gamers. That fo­cus marks a con­tin­ued shift back to its core gaming de­mo­graphic, af­ter the com­pany was faulted by some for tar­get­ing the ini­tial Xbox One at more of a gen­eral en­ter­tain­ment au­di­ence. Microsoft showed off 42 games at the event. – Bloomberg

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