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Microsoft’s Xbox One X is a boring black box concealing powerful components

A first look at the latest Xbox

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Microsoft made good on its promise to reveal all the key details about Project Scorpio during its E3 press conference today. We got an official name, a price, and a release date: the Xbox One X, as it’s called, will start at $499 and will start shipping on November 7th. In a demo room following the company’s event, we got a look at the hardware in a side-by-side comparison with Microsoft’s cheaper Xbox One S console.

The Xbox One X looks like nothing special, on the outside

If you’re looking for a radically redesigned device, you will be disappointed. The new console looks pretty much identical to the developer kits we saw earlier this year, minus the OLED display, physical buttons, and real-time clock. In fact, there’s not all that much you can say about the One X itself other than that it just looks like an Xbox.

It’s shaped and designed just like the refreshed slim One S that Microsoft unveiled last summer — albeit slightly smaller. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer proudly proclaimed on stage that the Xbox One X is the smallest console the company has ever produced. It’s also a nice matte black. Microsoft didn’t say whether there would be color options, but it’s safe to say that, for now, the launch version will come in black only.

But the real changes are inside, underneath the generic Xbox shell. Microsoft says that it produces 6 teraflops of graphical power thanks to a custom GPU engine that runs at 1172MHz. Both those metrics put it noticeably ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro, which packs 4.2 teraflops running at 911MHz (in a package that’s $100 cheaper). For pretty much every new game Microsoft touted onstage — and it showed a lot, including 22 exclusives — the Xbox One X will hit 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.

That’s the real value Microsoft is trying to provide here. It doesn’t need to wow you with hardware so much as it needs to deliver on its promise of a premium experience capable of competing with a mid- to high-end PC gaming rig. There will always be the standard console tradeoffs — no upgradability and no choice of where to buy your games, to name a couple. But Microsoft took one step closer today to creating the game console it thinks the enthusiast world wants.