Microsoft’s Xbox One X is a high-end native 4K machine – but who is it intended for and what are the true benefits? We ask the execs who brought it to life

Several years ago, Xbox chief Phil Spencer, went to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, and CFO, Amy Hood, with a somewhat unorthodox plan for the company’s latest console. It is not unheard of for a games machine to receive a hardware update at some point in the middle of its lifecycle – but Spencer didn’t want one new iteration. He wanted two.

The plan emerging from the R&D labs went like this. Xbox One S would add 4K video playback and HDR capabilities, but another more powerful machine, built with a refreshed processor, and using some of the high-end manufacturing technologies previously only found in advanced server systems, could fully support 4K resolutions. It was a risk and it was going to be expensive. “Our pitch had to be more than just kind of a refinement of what was there,” says Spencer. “The idea that we would come up with the most powerful console, with a higher resolution and a higher capability, as part of the Xbox One family. This was something new.”

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