The new Xbox One S was announced at the beginning of this week during Microsoft's press conference at E3. In a subsequent interview with Xbox Games Marketing general manager Aaron Greenberg, we got some idea as to why the platform holder has made some of the changes that they have.
Throughout the reveal of the Xbox One S the message from Microsoft has been a little muddy. For example, on the one hand Gears of War creator Rod Fergusson said we'd see a slight increase in performance with the Slim, while on the other hand the message was that it won't boost performance at all.
While talking to us, Greenberg explains that they felt that the time was right to bring a new console to market, with more people getting 4K screens. That's why the Slim will offer 4K streaming, HDR gaming, and 4K Blu-ray player.
One thing that is getting slightly refined is the HDD. "We haven't talked about the specifics of the hard drive speed. Expect similar performance to what you get from the Xbox One today. Mostly the focus is on making it faster," he told us, a result of using more modern components. (It's also worth noting that the Xbox One S will still be compatible with external hard drives, so those who download a lot of digital content will be able to keep hold of it.)
Greenberg spoke about the changes to the console, and how they have managed to do this so early on in the Xbox One's lifespan. The size change is a big part of the new console, and the 40% reduction makes a massive difference.
However, with size reduction means the possibility of some changes, Greenberg said: "It's the same architecture. But to get that size reduction we did have to make a couple of key trade-offs."
He did move to reassure us that it is still an upgrade, doing so by listing all of its new features, including an IR blaster to connect other media controllers, and the fact that it will support Kinect (moving the connection outside of the box via a free adaptor is obviously one of the trade-offs).
A big engineering feat for the new console is how they have incorporated the power supply brick into the console itself. Greenberg told us that that "power brick produces a lot of heat, so we've now got a much more efficient box. So if people are looking for a more efficient console, significantly benefits there as well."
Greenberg spoke at length about how the changes made were in response to what fans have been asking for since the release of the original Xbox One, and one key addition is the new button on the front of the console to switch it on (so no more accidental boot-ups, hurrah).
"That's the thing about all technology, you can test it as much as you want, but until you put it out in the hands of consumers you never really know what are all the true use cases," he told us.
A large portion of the Xbox community are still 360 players, and naturally Greenberg explained his belief that this is a perfect time for an upgrade: "We really wanted to give them a great opportunity if they've been waiting, there has never been a better time to upgrade."
Alongside this we asked about the future for the original Xbox One, with it now pretty much redundant with the Slim incoming, and Scorpio dropping next year. He explained that from launch in August the Xbox One will be phased out, but promotions will happen so they can shift old stock (again an opportunity for a cheaper upgrade).
In terms of the design it seems that they are sticking with the "robot white" colour, making it more "distinctive, different" and more minimalist. There are no plans for a black version of the console as of yet.
Finally, Greenberg has a few words to say about Project Scorpio: "We know that people also want more performance, more power, and we can deliver that. We wanted to be thoughtful about being able to do that, being able deliver true 4K gaming. Being able to do that does require six teraflops of power; we're building that into Project Scorpio, and in addition to that it also enables us to do things like high fidelity VR as well."
It's no surprise that Greenberg also had some nice things to say about his boss, Phil Spencer. We also talked to the Head of Xbox at E3 this year, and you can see that interview below.