It's easy enough to describe the raw power of the Xbox Series X (or the PS5 for that matter), but according to the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, it's really difficult to give players a feel for what playing next-gen games is going to be like.
Spencer elaborated on this during a recent podcast appearance on Talking Games with Reggie And Harold (opens in new tab), in response to a question from Reggie Fils-Aime about elements of the Xbox Series X that have been shown but not perhaps fully appreciated by viewers (via Game Rant).
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Spencer's response was, "The way it feels to play games on a box where frame rates are higher, frame rates are more stable...just the fluidity of it. Showing that in video form is just impossible. How do you show how something feels?"
As he was speaking to the former Nintendo of America President, he opted to compare it to trying to show off the Nintendo Wii on video with its unique new motion controls, but it was hard not to see the current comparison to VR. That technology has been notoriously difficult to sell to customers that haven't had an opportunity to use it. Not surprising that the Xbox chief wouldn't want to make that comparison though as VR is something they are ignoring.
This complaint is one that we've seen on the PS5 side as well, the comments from Tim Sweeney of Epic Games on how transformative the data management of the PS5 could be are compelling, but it is more experiential than visual.
This also raises an interesting question of how many users are going to be equipped to appreciate the changes even once the consoles do launch. The higher frame rates and resolutions are going to require a 4K TV with a 120Hz refresh rate to really see the best that the console has to offer.
I'm certain both companies are working to crack how to properly convey the improvements through video though and with multiple events coming from Sony and Microsoft this summer there will be multiple chances to do so.
Sony was scheduled to be up next with its games showcase June 4, but has announced that it will be delaying the event due to the ongoing protests in the U.S.