The Xbox and I go way back. Back when I still lived at home with my parents, my brother and I shared consoles. More often than not, the original Xbox was in my room because I had an obsession with Return to Castle Wolfenstein and it’s multiplayer. When I got my first full time job after college, the Xbox 360 was the first big purchase I made and most of my gaming took place on that console even though I also owned the PS3. When the Xbox One was announced, I was staunchly in the crowd against the system, but later came around when they relaxed on the launch day decisions they initially were going to stick with (no used games, always on internet, etc.) While I bought the PS4 first and it was my primary gaming console, the Xbox One enjoyed relative success in my basement as my backup console for exclusives. But those exclusives were few and far between. Gears of War 4 was underwhelming as was Halo 5 and I have never been a Forza guy. I was content to just let my Xbox sit idly by, waiting for exclusives to come out until some decisions were made at Microsot HQ. The first of those decisions was that any exclusive released for the Xbox One would also be available on the PC.
Xbox Play Anywhere
The Xbox Play Anywhere program was announced as a way for people to play games on both the Xbox One and the PC. One purchase, two ways to play. People with gaming rigs though, saw it as a way to make their Xbox One’s obsolete. The PC, with the right hardware, is always going to be the most ideal way to play video games. You can play at a desk with a monitor or hook up an HDMI cable and push the video output to a TV and play on your couch. Microsoft was giving gamers who don’t own the Xbox One a way to play on the PC as well as those with a gaming PC and an Xbox One, a more ideal way to play the games. Since my only reason for turning on the Xbox One anymore was for exclusives, and with them now being offered on the PC, I didn’t see a need to ever turn the console on again. This decision was further cemented for me at E3 this year when the new console from Microsoft was announced.
The Xbox One X Console
With the announcement of the Xbox One X, and it’s price point ($500), the decision was all but made in my mind that I would not be taking the leap into 4K gaming on the Xbox One X. This console is being released without any exclusive games for it. That means that any game that comes out will play on the original Xbox One but have a slight upgrade for those who own the premium console. If that’s your thing, by all means, jump on it. For me, I decided to take a different approach. For years I have wanted to get back into PC gaming and with a new, un-upgradeable Xbox console coming out, I figured there was no better time than the present.
Building a Gaming PC
The idea of building a gaming PC was a daunting thing for me. There’s a lot of expensive parts that go into building one and tons of things could possibly go wrong. I eventually got over my fear and started buying individual pieces for it over time to offset the large upfront cost. The grand total was a little more than I wanted to spend, but if you are very conscientious about what you’re buying, you could easily build a gaming PC for under a grand. Putting the computer together was stressful (mainly because I had a bad motherboard I had to return) but once it was up and running, it was a beauty. I can play Witcher 3 on the highest settings with framerates in the 100’s and gaming hasn’t been this smooth in years! Even after going through all of this though, I recognize that not everyone can afford to get into PC gaming. That’s where consoles come in, just look at all of the pros and cons for each before making a purchase or deciding on which will be your main.
My Gaming Setup Going Forward
With each generation of gaming, I feel the need to pick up all major consoles. So, in my house, we have a PS4, an Xbox One, a Switch, and a gaming PC. My Xbox One has been turned on maybe a dozen times in the last 6 months and each of those times was by my son wanting to play Goat Simulator or Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. If I’m playing a console game, it’s on the PS4 and going forward if I want to play an Xbox exclusive, it’ll be on the PC. I love the Xbox brand, but it has done itself no favors this generation by it’s weird launch and constant upgrades to consoles which confuse the market. With the release of the Xbox One X this holiday season, that confusion will continue to grow as multiple SKUs sit on shelves. If you’re looking for a high end gaming console, I would still pick up the PS4 Pro over the Xbox One X. The Playstation brand is so far out in front of the Xbox that I don’t think additional hardware will do anything to save it this generation. I think this trend will continue as Microsoft tries to bounce back from the missteps they made when the system launched. I don’t think releasing a high end console will solve that. Games will. Exclusive games that are not available anywhere else. E3 was the time to show this off and Microsoft really didn’t wow with anything outside of a couple titles. I’ll be playing those games on the PC as I think that will be the most ideal way to play. The Xbox brand just isn’t what it used to be.