It's happening. Digital Foundry has received its Xbox One X review unit and behind the scenes, our exploration of the hardware and its capabilities is beginning to take shape. But for now at least, it's all about the unboxing, a time-honoured ritual we've filmed for you and embedded on this page. Spoilers: expect a console, controller and possibly some cables within. To add some spice, we've included some physical form factor comparisons with PlayStation 4 Pro and prior Xbox One hardware.
Beyond a look at the box and its surrounding packaging (we were sent the non-Scorpio vanilla retail edition, by the way), we thought we'd clue you in on some of our plans for the new machine. Put simply, we have a big list of questions that demand answers, like how loud is the console under load? How much power does it consume? What does it look like through the lens of a thermal camera? And more pertinently, to what extent does its launch line-up live up to the true 4K promise? And on top of that, just how good is Xbox One X as a 4K media machine - is this the all-in-one box your ultra HD screen has been waiting for?
And then there's the backwards compatibility functionality - to what extent are existing Xbox One titles really improved? Can we finally brute-force Just Cause 3 to run consistently at its target 30fps? Does the Project Cars stress test that performed so much better on Xbox One S deliver a locked 60fps? To what extent do Halo 5's blurry ground texture improve with 16x anisotropic filtering - a promised back-compat upgrade? Does the Witcher 3 on Xbox One really have a dynamic scaler, and if so, does Xbox One X bring the the current, non-X code up to a flawless 1080p30? In fact, how do dynamic res titles scale in general? I mean, we're unlikely to find the time to test everything we want to before the review embargo lifts, but the list of games we'd like to take a look at is currently 50-strong.
And then there's Microsoft's intriguing work in supporting its extensive Xbox 360 library. Just how much of an enhancement do the X-optimised Xbox 360 titles offer and do games based on 720p assets hold up well rendered at full 4K? Can we finally run the likes of Bayonetta and the COD games - including the all-important Black Ops 2 - at a locked 60fps? And thinking about it, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto 4 actually runs with an unlocked frame-rate, so what happens there when confronted with the raw horsepower of the Scorpio Engine?
In addition to exploring those elements, we'll be analysing as many of the Xbox One X enhanced titles as we can before the year's out, with the likes of The Witcher 3, Halo 5, Forza Horizon 3, Titanfall 2, Doom, Wolfenstein 2, Gears of War 4, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Assassin's Creed Origins, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 4 and Final Fantasy 15 especially of interest to us. Whether we'll see PS4 Pro comparisons resolve as dramatically as Shadow of War remains to be seen, but we'll be on the case on each and every key title. Additionally, while it may take a little more time, we'll also be looking into FreeSync monitor recommendations too, assuming the functionality has made it into the launch dashboard.
The bottom line is that we've got lots to getting on with and from our perspective, it's delivery time for Microsoft. We're promised a dramatic gaming upgrade worthy of 4K displays, and all-encompassing super-sampling support for users with 1080p screens. On top of that, the unit's physical construction and build quality looked exceptional in Microsoft's labs - does the final retail console deliver here too? What we can tell you in the here and now is that it's an exceptionally small and compact package for a six-teraflop piece of hardware, and it's surprisingly heavy too. Embargoes prevent us from saying much more, but what we can say is that we love covering new console launches and can't wait to get to grips with this one.
Will you support the Digital Foundry team?
Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of. In order to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like we needed to build our own platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing. So we did.
Our videos are multi-gigabyte files and we've chosen a high quality provider to ensure fast downloads. However, that bandwidth isn't free and so we charge a small monthly subscription fee of £4.50. We think it's a small price to pay for unlimited access to top-tier quality encodes of our content. Thank you.Support Digital Foundry