the question is why not also use it as a Windows PC.
Yesterday Microsoft revealed to us the hardware details of its Xbox Series X. The specifications of the future Redmond console are exceptional in many sections, and it is clear that the experience for the players will be better in many sections thanks to these latest generation components.
The question that many of us ask ourselves is obvious: Couldn’t we also use this console as a Windows desktop PC? The power seems more than enough to be able not only to play with these computers, but to use them to work as if we were doing it with a traditional PC or laptop connected to a monitor. At Microsoft, yes, they do not seem very willing to go in that direction.
For hardware power other than
The review we were able to do to the characteristics of the Xbox Series X make it clear that this console will be difficult to put in trouble. With 12 TFLOPS of graphics power, an octa-core CPU at almost 4 GHz, and that ultra-fast SSD, it seems clear that the room for maneuver for game developers is very wide.
In fact, Microsoft’s promise is clear in this regard: gaming in 4K at 60 FPS will be the norm, not the exception, and in fact the intention is to reach 120 fps for competitive gaming.
The hardware acceleration support for raytracing and the latency improvement that Microsoft pursues with different technical improvements are changes that will influence that gaming experience, but it is likely that among the great differences compared to previous generations is the fact that SSD drive will pose really short video game launch and load times.
All these advantages are totally geared towards video games, without a doubt, but all that power could perhaps also be used in another way: What if the Xbox Series X could be used as a desktop PC?
My PC is (or could be) a console
With Xbox One there was some approach to that possibility. Microsoft and its attempt to create a great single and universal platform allowed us for years to have access to a browser like Edge on the Xbox One and also to some notable applications.
It is true that many of them are oriented to the field of content: the Netflix client joins specific versions for the Xbox One of applications as famous as VLC or Kodi.
For example, there is no access to an office suite in use, but both in this and in other sections we could always use web services and applications.
Office 365 or Google Docs are an option for this case, and although productivity could be logically more limited than on a conventional PC, the browser has become for many the most relevant application on their computers, and many of the things we do on a daily basis are done within the browser. Google knows this, and precisely created Chrome OS and its Chromebooks with that idea.
This element is joined by another that promised a lot and that has been somewhat abandoned. The eye-catching mouse and keyboard support Microsoft added to the Xbox One More than a year ago it allowed several games (especially FPS) to be played in this way, but the option did not raise changes when it comes to getting more out of UWP applications (and there are a few) like Edge.
However, neither the current Xbox One Dashboard not even those applications take advantage of that power. Yes it is possible to enjoy keyboard shortcuts that allow you to move around the desktop instead of doing it with the remote, but it seems clear that Microsoft has no interest (at least, until now) to raise that option.
Xbox Series X … Dual Boot Edition?
Our hypothesis is that Microsoft offered the Xbox Series X, but with a kind of dual boot. On the one hand, the normal console, with its desktop and its games.
But on the other we would be agreeing to a fully functional Windows 10 system partition, with mouse and keyboard controllers as well as controllers for the rest of the Xbox Series X hardware components. The console doesn’t just look like a PC by design: it could also behave like a PC.
That Windows partition could be totally isolated from the Xbox, although there are other options such as virtualization that could pose alternatives. In fact, those external SSD cards that can be used in the Xbox Series X could also be another way to have that separate boot to turn the console into a PC when we need it.
What seems evident is that we are facing components that could be part of any conventional Windows PC, and that therefore could make users not only play with their Xbox Series X, but also use it as a desktop PC.
Microsoft is not interested in that option (or maybe it is)
The problem with that idea is that it would divert attention from the Xbox Series X to a field that Microsoft does not seem to care about. The sale price at which the Xbox Series X will be released is not yet known, but with those specifications it seems difficult for it to fall below 600 euros.
Even costing those 600 or 700 euros, the console is a bargain in terms of its price / performance ratio. Building a PC with a similar power is much more expensive right now, and we have the key data in the graphics card. An NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card with 8 GB of GDDR6 memory is currently around 750 euros alone, and offers 11 TFLOPS of power. The graphics of the Xbox Series X will offer 12 TFLOPS, and although comparing that number is not ideal – other parameters influence here, such as NVIDIA and AMD architectures -, the data is certainly overwhelming.
Microsoft’s approach is to turn the console into a way for users to buy games and, above all, subscribe to their services. With this “PC mode” there would also be another potential disadvantage —or perhaps not—: that in that Windows 10 session, any user could also install for example games from Steam or other stores that are not available for the Xbox Series X and play them from the console converted to PC.
That argument would make the team was also interesting for gamers that their PCs are built to play games, for example, and that they would have an interesting alternative in that “dual” console if Microsoft offers it at a competitive price.
This is how the accounts come out, because It is likely that except for surprise the Xbox Series X will be sold at a price with which Microsoft will lose money. However, subscriptions to Xbox Live and Game Pass pose a recurring source of income that would make this increase in the number of users compensate in the medium and especially in the long term.
Put on sale a console that could also behave like a PC it would probably not be interesting economically for Microsoft.
Not only is there the fact that it would compete with its partners in this segment (PC and laptop manufacturers), but a PC with the console configuration and at that price would be too attractive: many would buy it to use it as a PC without further ado, and that would mean that the ultimate purpose of the console – a vehicle for selling services – would be compromised.
Unless, of course, Microsoft offered that edition with dual boot or with some alternative way of operating in “PC mode”, but increasing the price of the console in that case significantly. That alternative could make Microsoft an interesting alternative to traditional PCs and add its “PC mode consoles” into one more element of its Surface family of laptops and convertibles.
The idea is certainly inevitable, but we fear that it is just that, an idea: Microsoft is unlikely to take that step in the future, but the truth is that having an Xbox Series X with that “PC mode” would be great for many users. I, of course, would sign up.