Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One X console is being touted as the world's most powerful console. Sporting an 8-core CPU, 12GB GDDR5 graphic memory, and a 6 Teraflop GPU, it's hard to argue that fact. All that power means true 4K gaming at 60 frames per second, which is no small feat. To achieve the same experiences on PC, you'd likely be spending a pretty penny over the Xbox One X's retail price of just $499.
But I can't help but wonder how important 4K gaming is for console gamers in 2017. A lot of gamers are still rocking 1080p televisions in their homes because 1080p is still the mainstream resolution for nearly everything. Most broadcast television, online video, games, movies, and TV shows are most commonly available at 1080p, so for a lot of people there isn't really a need to splash out the extra cash for a 4K premium TV.
Although the Xbox One X is a 4K console, it will work perfectly fine on 1080p televisions. Microsoft uses something called supersampling, which will detect the resolution of your display, and downscale/upscale a game depending on whatever maximum resolution your TV supports. For example, a 4K game can downscale to 1080p on a TV that doesn't support 4K, while still retaining the same enhanced visuals such as higher quality textures, better draw distances and more.
So even if you don't own a 4K television, you will still see enhancements in games on the Xbox One X. Games will load faster, and perform better overall on 1080p displays. Based on this alone, I don't find 4K gaming to be important at all in 2017. I do own a 4K TV, but if I didn't, I'd be perfectly happy buying an Xbox One X for use on a 1080p display, because I'm still going to see improvements in games.
Then comes the question as to whether developers will even aim for 4K on Xbox One X. Games shown off at E3 will, but developers aren't required to hit 4K on Xbox One X. Some developers may decide to lock in their game at 1440p for example, and use the rest of the extra horsepower from the Xbox One X to add more AI, better textures, or higher frame rates instead. In that scenario, owning a 1080p is more beneficial than a 4K TV anyway.
So if you are a gamer who's interested in the Xbox One X, but don't own a 4K TV, there's still a reason to get the Xbox One X. You may not be able to experience 4K gaming, but you will be able to experience better looking and higher performing games. The overall experience should be much more smooth and faster, especially on the dashboard.
Of course, 4K will soon become the new 1080p; it's just a matter of time. However, I'm not convinced 4K gaming is all that important for console gamers in 2017. I'd much rather see developers target a lower resolution and enhance other elements of the game instead, such as textures, frame rates and more. I may be in the minority for this, so I'm curious as to what you think. Let us know!
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