No, that isn’t a PC, it’s the newly revealed Xbox Series X! Microsoft hasn’t been shy about the fact that their new console has been in the works for some time now, but last week’s The Game Awards saw the new console’s design unveiled for the first time. Previously referred to as Project Scarlett, the Xbox Series X is the next generation from the green gaming giant and is set to release holiday 2020. Want to learn more? Let’s dive in with everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X.
What is it?
The Xbox Series X is the first in the next generation of Xbox Consoles. Microsoft reportedly has other models in the works (we expect a slimmed down, digital version at some point down the line) but for now the Series X is the only one confirmed to release next year. The Series X is expected to have excellent backwards compatibility with Xbox One games, and we already know that Wireless Elite controllers will work seamlessly with the new system. Oh, and in case you were worried about fitting that bulky tower in your TV stand, yes, you can lay it on its side.
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Specifications and price
Prior to the official name and design reveal, Microsoft was happy to dish out information on just how powerful the Xbox Series X will be. The important details are that it’ll support 8K graphics, ray tracing, variable refresh rates and frame rates of up to 120 fps, though not necessarily all at the same time. We don’t know many people who actually own 8K TVs but hey, it pays to plan for the future.
As with the PlayStation 5, The Series X will include an SSD to store its data, which should make loading in games remarkably faster once they’re up and running. Combined with a custom processor by AMD, Microsoft claims that the Series X will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, with a 40% increase to performance as well.
Designed to deliver 4 times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.
(And yeah, you can lay it sideways.)
— Xbox (@Xbox) December 14, 2019
The Wireless Xbox Controller for the Series X has retained much of the Xbox One controller’s core design, but following the success of the studio’s Elite Series 2 controllers, it’ll now include a hybrid d-pad. A share button on the controllers face will also let you capture screenshots and record video clips with ease. Naturally the controller will also work with Windows 10 PCs, and you’ll even be able to use it with your Xbox One if you feel like stepping back a generation.
As for price? Microsoft has been tight-lipped thus far, but in an interview with The Verge, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer said that they “will not be out of position on power or price.” Put simply, there’s no firm figure yet, but it’ll probably be a similar price to the PS5 when both are announced. Hardware like SSDs has certainly reduced in price over the years but both machines are expected to be very powerful, so don’t expect these to be budget consoles.
Here’s where things get exciting. Microsoft has been gobbling up studios over the last few years, preparing a strong team for the launch of their next console. Obsidian, InXile, Ninja Theory and more have joined Xbox Game Studios, and that means we can expect plenty of exclusives on the way. Here are the games and the studios we know about so far:
Kicking off with the big guns, Halo Infinite by 343 Industries is set to be one of Microsoft’s core system sellers for the Series X. It’s rumored to feature RPG elements, which would mark a big change in the franchise. Next up we have Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. Sequel to 2017 half-indie, half-AAA hit Senua’s Sacrifice, Hellblade 2 looks no less creepy, and easily had one of the coolest trailers at The Game Awards.
For another sure bet, Playground Games and Turn 10 are most certainly working on a new Forza title that’ll show off the Xbox Series X’s new ray traced reflections to great effect. Sea of Thieves developer Rare is also working on a new Battletoads game, though that may release on the Xbox One first. Beyond that, we know that Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Undead Labs (State of Decay), Mojang (Minecraft), The Coalition (Gears 5) and Microsoft’s secretive new studio The Initiative will have games in the works. When they’ll be revealed and whether they’ll arrive for the console’s launch is unknown as of right now.
As noted above, backwards compatibility is a big deal for Microsoft with this generation. Their announcement post for the Xbox Series X says that it will “set a new bar” for compatibility, “allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you.” To us that sounds a lot like both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games will be fully compatible with the Series X – great news indeed. Achievements from previous generations will also carry over to the new console, and we can expect services like Xbox Game Pass to be up and running for the Series X as soon as it launches.
That’s everything we know so far about the Xbox Series X, but Microsoft has promised plenty more information in 2020 so stay tuned for news of more games and features for the next-generation console.
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