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The Xbox One X - 11 things you need to know for launch

The Xbox One X is Microsoft’s answer to the PS4 Pro. Releasing on November 7th at £449/$499 dollars, it’s basically an enhanced Xbox One, adding 4K gaming, improved performance and a few other bits and pieces. But what's changed and what's stayed the same? Lets brush up on a few things you should probabaly know. 

1. Yes, it’s backwards compatible

Don’t worry, all your old games will work because this is basically still an Xbox, just with a little extra power tucked under the hood. Microsoft has been big on the Xbox One, S and X all being part of the same family, so everything from games to controllers and hard drives will still work on the new machine. Xbox One X Enhanced games will obviously run in glorious 4K, while a lot of un-Enhanced games will see boosted performance, and improved image quality via supersampling. 

2. You can copy your old Xbox One over easily 

Depending on what you want to do, you can just login like any Xbox and start downloading the games on your account, or you can use an Xbox One external hard drive, or Network transfer, to copy over either your entire console, settings and all, or some, of the games you want. Whatever you go for, you can have the X set up quickly and easily. 

3. You don’t need a 4k TV (but it looks great on one)

The Xbox One X is built around being a true 4K gaming machine, but you don't need a 4K TV to see the benefits. You’ll see improvements even if you have a normal 1080p screen - things like HDR to improve colour balance, and supersampling which will downscale a 4K output to 1080p and make things look super crisp. At the same time, increased processing power means faster loading times and frame rates for a lot of games. 

4. 'Xbox One X Enhanced' doesn’t always mean 4K

There are just over 100 Xbox One X Enhanced games, but Enhanced doesn’t always mean 4K by default. For example, some games like Tomb Raider and Gears of War 4 will let you choose between 4K, or a lower resolution but with a faster frame rate. In some cases ‘Enhanced’ might just mean better textures, geometry, draw distances and so on. Basically, Enhanced just means the game does something it can only do on the Xbox One X.

5. You now can set any image as your background

Nothing makes your console feel more like you than a personalised background, and now you can use any image you capture from a game thanks to a recent dashboard update. While you’re playing, double tap the Xbox button to bring up the capture options and hit Y to take a screen. When you get the Screenshot Saved message just hold down the Xbox button and select the Set as Background option. 

6. Use Blocks to keep up with the games you care about 

Blocks group together everything happening around a game, and are a great way to see, at a glance, everything from user videos to updates, DLC and more. You can create a Block for any game by going to My Games and Apps and highlighting the game you want to keep track of. Hit A to bring up the menu, and then Add To Home. All the games you’ve picked will then appear under the main home menu showing everything that's happening. 

7. Pins are good way to get at the things you need fast 

If you want to get to a game you’re playing, or straight to Netflix quickly then Pins are an excellent way of prioritising and organising stuff. From My Games and Apps you can select the game you want with A to bring up a menu and then choose Add to Pins. Anything you pin will then appear under your Blocks. You can reorder them easily with Y, to keep the most important stuff up front, and jump straight in by selecting whatever you've pinned. 

8. You can add a custom gamerpic now

If you want to see your actual face online for your profile then you’ll need a 1080 by 1080 image on a USB or hard drive formatted for Xbox media. When you have that, insert it into the console and then select your Profile from the Home menu, choose Customise Profile and Change Gamerpic. You'll then be able to choose Upload a Custom Image in the top right, navigate to the external storage and select your face. 

9. You’ll need an external hard drive, or get ready to delete stuff

The only downside to 4K gaming is that it eats HDD disk space. The Xbox One X comes with a 1TB drive but because the operating system and other bits take up some space you only really get about 750GB of storage. 4K games like Forza Motorsport 7 are clocking in at around 100GB, while Quantum Break needs a 75GB update to make it 4K (and you can’t play it until that's patched in). That means with 4K games coming in at 100GB and higher you’ll be lucky to get 7 games on the internal drive. Either ruthlessly delete what you're not playing or invest in an external drive.

10. It (still) doesn’t support USB or bluetooth headsets

Xbox consoles only use headsets with a 3.5mm jack which plugs in the controller, or an S/PDIF optical audio cable which plugs in the back of the console itself. And that’s it. There’s no bluetooth or USB support for headsets so you can’t use anything with that. 

11. It’ll play Ultra HD Blu-rays and just about any media you want once you download the app

4K is the main selling point with the Xbox One X so obviously it’ll play 4K Blu-rays as well as normal blu-rays and DVDS. You’ll need to download the Blu-ray player first, which happens automatically when you insert a disk. While you're on the store you can then get then get apps for Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and just about any other media service you can think of. 

Leon Hurley
Leon Hurley

I'm currently GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I've had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website. I'm a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures.