Xbox Series X: Everything we know about Microsoft’s new console

About Xbox Series X


We are moving ever faster towards the next generation of games and beyond Sony’s Playstation 5 their main competitor Microsoft also has its own monster machine in progress. The sequel to the Xbox One consoles will be named Xbox Series X.

The upload for the next generation console war has been a bit strange. Sony has kept a fairly low profile and mainly leaked information to hand picked media at selected times. Now, Microsoft has used the Game Awards event, of all occasions, to reveal the future of its next gaming console (s).

The Project Scarlett code name is now dead and buried. The official name of the next Xbox generation is the Xbox Series X, which should mean that we should not see one – but several – consoles. Launch is scheduled for November 2020, well in advance of the Christmas trade.

Design

Xbox Series X

In terms of design, the Xbox Series X does not resemble anything else we have seen in console road before. Microsoft has invested in an elongated design that most resembles a desktop PC can. It can be used both portrait and landscape. “Brave and unique, just like our fans,” Microsoft gushes the official press release.

The new handset should work just as well for PC gaming as for Xbox One devices, and has been designed to fit more people’s grip than before. Like Sony’s Dual Shock controls, there is a new split button in the range that lets you record videos and take screenshots.

Specifications

Xbox Series X intersection
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft has now released the official Xbox Series X specifications.

The console will use an in-house AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores and a clock speed of 3.8Ghz each. Something that means about four times more processing power than the Xbox One.

The graphics card is then an in-house AMD RDNA 2 with 12 teraflops and 52 compute units clocking in at 1.825Ghz each. Twice as much as Microsoft’s 4k Xbox One X machine and eight times as powerful as the Xbox One. The increased performance will be used to produce higher image updates as well as larger and more advanced gaming worlds.

The memory consists of 16 GB GDDR6 RAM, of which 2.5 GB is reversed for the operating system. The hard drive is a 1 TB self-built NVME ssd that can also be expanded with external 1TB cards via the back of the console. This means that developers will also be able to use the technology as an additional virtual memory.

The console uses two motherboards, has a 4k Blue-ray player and a 130mm stain for cooling.

The Xbox Series X will also have its own form of Variable Rate Shading (VRS) that can be used to prioritize individual effects or characters instead of spreading performance evenly across each pixel. Something that allows for a more stable image update and higher resolution without affecting image quality.

Support for hardware accelerated ray tracing is also mentioned by Microsoft, as is the Auto Low Latency Mode technology. The feature is shortened to ALLM and is a hdmi-based feature that should give the lowest possible delay when you connect the console to a screen, without having to flip in and flip in settings menus. Game developers are also given the option to control the delay via the Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) function. The Xbox Series will also support image updating up to 120 frames per second.

At a new one podcast salient says Jason Ronald, at Team Xbox, that the console will also have capability for something he calls “audio ray tracing” that will act as a space-conscious sound for Xbox Series X games. Exactly how this works, however, he does not go into. Instead, Microsoft’s audio specialists will give a talk on it during the Game Developers Conference in March.

The first real pictures of the Xbox Series X have now been found online. The pictures posted on Twitter by the user @ Doug-DragoX has been classified as real by Thurrotts Brad Sam, reported The Verge.

The pictures show what should be a prototype of Microsoft’s upcoming console. On the back, you can see the ventilation, as well as optical audio, power inputs, a rectangular port that, according to Thurrout’s Brad Sam, is used for diagnostics, as well as hdmi-out but no hdmi-in input like the Xbox One.

Note that the prototype console in the pictures can still differ in the details from the final version that is released in store.

Games

In addition to Hellblade Chronicles 2 and the upcoming Halo: Infinite, there are no other specific Series X titles announced yet. But Microsoft has lately been diligent with various acquisitions of various gaming studios, including Double Fine (Psychonauts, Grim Fandango and others) and Obsidian (The Outer Worlds, Fallout: New Vegas). So we can expect Xbox Game Studios’ various developers to have projects planned for the new console.

So we don’t know very much about what range of games will be available at launch, but on stage during The Game Awards, Xbox boss Phil Spencer demonstrated the upcoming game Senua’s Saga: Hellblade Chronicles 2. The video above is said to illustrate content taken straight out the game engine on an Xbox Series X.

In an interview with MCVUK Xbox boss Max Booty also confirms that Microsoft’s own first-party games will initially not be exclusive to Xbox Series X. Instead, they will be released to both Xbox Series X and Xbox One for a one to two year transition period between consoles. The approach marks a clear shift between how console releases were handled earlier where new first-party titles were instead completely exclusive to the newer console.

During an event on May 7, Microsoft presented a series of third-party games that will be released to the Xbox Series X. The fast-paced first-person shooter Bright Memory Infinite, the racing game Dirt 5 (which can run at 120 frames per second), the horror game Scorn, the aerial game Chrous, the puzzle game Call of the Sea, the collaboration action game Second Extinction, the cyberpunk role play The Ascent, the horror game The Medium, the vampire role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, the animeactioniret Scarlet Nexus, goose bump Yakuza: Like a Dragon and last but not least, the Viking adventure Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Other features

As with the Xbox One consoles, the Xbox Series X will also be equipped with backward compatibility. This feature allows you to continue playing your old Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games. Just as before, these are both physical and digital purchases, as long as they are on the list of compatible games.

In a blog entry Microsoft writes that older games for Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One will even look better on Xbox Series X by automatically supporting HDR and dual image updating all the way up to 120 frames per second. As if that wasn’t enough, they will also get significantly shorter load times and support for the Xbox Series X feature to pause and resume gaming sessions (see below).

Current Xbox One services like the Game Pass subscription service will also live on for the next generation, which means you can continue to download as many games as you want (available through the service) for a fixed monthly fee.

Streaming is another aspect that is important to Microsoft’s future plans. In addition to the Xcloud service, which is under development, there are also plans to allow Xbox owners to stream existing games to, for example, mobiles and other devices.

In an interview with GameSpot Jason Ronald of Team Xbox reveals that the console’s new hardware will also allow players to pause and resume playing multiple games at once.

– Today we have the opportunity to immediately resume the last game you played. Why couldn’t we do it with multiple games? Many players choose to play more games at the same time and if I have the opportunity to jump between them to where I was last, it makes the experience better. It will be less waiting and more time for gaming, Jason Ronald tells Gamespot.

Microsoft’s Larry Hryb has, in conjunction with a new one podcast salient, also said that the Xbox Series X will allow users to resume their gaming sessions even if the entire console needs to restart, for example a system update.

On March 16, Microsoft released a new clip demonstrating it all.

Launch

In a new interview with CNBC Xbox boss Phil Spencer says that, despite the security work surrounding the coron virus, Xbox Series X will still be released as planned. However, Spencer gave no exact date, more than the console will be out until Christmas 2020.

However, Phil Spencer says it is unclear how the game production for the console will be able to keep its intended deadlines in connection with the fact that developers now primarily work from home and need to share work materials over the Internet instead. Phil Spencer, however, does not mention which productions could possibly be at risk of being delayed.

Microsoft has already delayed Wasteland 3 and Minecraft Dungeons because of the corona virus.

Award

Conscious rumors claim that Microsoft is planning to launch a cheaper, more modest gaming console in the same vein as the Xbox Series X is popping up in-store. But so far there is no price information on either the flagship model or a possible wallet-friendly alternative.


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