LOS ANGELES - Microsoft announced Sunday it will launch a higher-powered version of its Xbox One video game console this holiday, as it attempts to catch up to the sales of Sony's rival PlayStation 4.
The tech giant says the Xbox One X will launch on November 7 at $499. On several occasions during a press briefing ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft pointed out how their new home device is the world's most powerful console.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer said the goal of Xbox One X was to deliver a device that would "empower developers, delight gamers and deliver true hardware and technical innovation."
The Xbox One X boasts a 6 teraflop graphical processing unit, 12 GB GDDR5 of graphic memory, and an 8-core custom AMD central processing unit. The technical upgrades support the ability to run video games in native 4K resolutions, while also allowing games to run faster and pack a lot more detail.
Microsoft rolled out several games with the hopes of selling its fanbase on the need for Xbox One X, including Ubisoft adventure game Assassin's Creed Origins and the Electronic Arts game Anthem, developed by Mass Effect studio BioWare.
Some current Xbox One games will gain a boost from the Xbox One X's horsepower. More than 30 third-party games will receive free updates to 4K resolution, as well as Microsoft exclusives including Gears of War 4 and Minecraft.
The newer Xbox will also support current controllers and accessories for earlier Xbox One models.
Microsoft's latest console is part of an effort to gain ground against Sony's PlayStation 4. When both consoles launched in 2013, PS4 benefited from a $100 lower price, racing out to an early sales lead it has never relinquished.
Last year, Sony rolled out a similar console refresh through the PS4 Pro, which is priced at $100 less than Xbox One X. IHS Markit analyst Piers Harding-Rolls doesn't expect price to have an impact for Microsoft's target audience.
"Xbox enthusiasts will pay significant sums to get hold of the latest and greatest," he said, forecasting Microsoft will sell 500,000 Xbox One X consoles during the fourth quarter.
However, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter says the "pricey" Xbox One X could become a hard sell for Microsoft. "A consumer can buy Xbox One S and PS4 for the same price," he said. "I think it is a hard sell at two times the S price."
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