If the Xbox Series X is so powerful why don’t Microsoft prove it?

A reader asks why if the Xbox Series X is so powerful hasn’t Microsoft released a trailer or tech demo to show exactly what it can do?

Like many people I was very impressed by the announcement of the Xbox Series S. The price is great and the only major thing it’s missing is native 4K resolution, which I’ve always considered highly overrated. I’m seriously considering buying the console and, given the price, perhaps even before the PlayStation 5. But there is one little problem: I don’t trust anything Microsoft say or do and their attitude towards the Xbox Series X and its graphical power is ultra-suspicious.

Not that I trust Sony either, but so far they haven’t been making over-the-top promises with nothing to back it up, or rather they haven’t been making over-the-top promises and then showing the exact opposite. But it’s now taken as fact by most gamers that Xbox Series X is going to be the most powerful console ever made. Nobody seems to disagree on this point, because apparently tech specs have never been misleading before (yes, I’m being sarcastic). I don’t know anything about such things though so I can’t argue anything on that point.

What I do know though is what I judge by the evidence of my eyes and I have seen absolutely nothing on the Xbox Series X – and by association Xbox Series S – that couldn’t be done on the current gen and several things that look below average for a current gen game – naming no names, Halo Infinite. So what gives?

Are we really to believe that in the 10 months since the Xbox Series X was announced (which was before the pandemic, I might add) nobody connected with Microsoft has been able to create a single tech demo to show off how powerful it is? Instead, all they’ve managed to do is make Halo Infinite look laughably bad, unintentionally confirming everything anyone ever said about first party games being dragged down by not being next gen exclusives.

There was those few seconds of Hellblade 2, that looked very good, but the caveat for that video says it was capture ‘in engine’ so not gameplay and running on a PC and not an Xbox Series X. And that’s the closest Microsoft has even come to showing off the graphics, beyond a minute or so of Forza Motorsport that looked like… a car game.

As many have already suggested, where is the next gen equivalent of the PS1 T-Rex demo? The original PlayStation didn’t launch with many games either, but that’s fine, people understand these things take time – especially in the middle of a pandemic. So why not create a tech demo to show off what the hardware can do and get potential punters excited about the console?

Sony did exactly that with their Unreal Engine 5 demo. That wasn’t a game and never will be, but it looked great and a real step up from the current gen. You saw that and you got excited about what the new consoles could do. Why hasn’t Microsoft done something similar? Especially considering they need the proof more than Sony and, if the specs are true, should be able to score major points against Sony by showing graphics even better than the PlayStation 5 can produce.

I ask these questions because I have no idea what the answers can be. I do assume Microsoft isn’t lying about the specs but as we’ve seen time and again they do seem weirdly bad at marketing. From the stupid names they give their consoles to the laughable gameplay reveals so far, especially Halo Infinite.

I cannot believe that nobody in the entire company looked at the Halo Infinite demo and thought, ‘You know what, we should give this a few more months in the oven – let’s just throw out a cool looking tech demo and blame coronavirus for the delay’. That would have been totally reasonable in my book, but instead they make themselves look like chumps that thought they could get away with Halo Infinite and only delayed it when the internet started laughing at them.

When pre-orders open I will be very much considering getting an Xbox Series S, but I need that final push. I need something to inspire me other than numbers on a tech specs list or next to the buy now button. How have we got this far without Microsoft making any attempt to prove that the Xbox Series X is the most powerful console ever made? As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

By reader Deckmin


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