At the 2019 Game Awards, Microsoft finally unveiled their upcoming console – the Xbox Series X. Previously known only as Project Scarlett, the next-gen console is quite the departure from previous models. With a new design and improved hardware, it promises to be the most powerful console the company has released yet. Although official information about the Series X is still relatively sparse, there are plenty of leaks and rumors floating around. We have gathered and analyzed them to give you everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X.
Xbox Series X hardware and specs
As every next generation console, hardware and spec upgrades are par for the course. However, the Xbox Series X promises more than marginal improvements from the Xbox One. Microsoft has stated that the Xbox Series X will be up to four times as powerful as its predecessor. The console’s size has increased to accommodate the new next gen tech too. The Xbox Series X resembles a small PC tower that’s approximately 18 inches tall, with a powerful fan on top. According to Microsoft, its size will also guarantee minimal noise.
We already know what hardware the next gen console will sport. Under the hood, the Xbox Series X will feature AMD‘s Zen 2 CPU, as well as a custom-made AMD Navi-based GPU. The new console will also have a custom SSD, with speculated read speeds as high as 2GB per second. The goal is to decrease loading times to a minimum and provide ultra-fast environment rendering.
The next-gen console promises a whopping 120fps video rendering, as well as 8K resolution. Microsoft is also introducing hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which will improve real-time rendering of light and shadows. One thing to keep in mind is that using an ultra-high resolution will likely be impossible in conjunction with high frame rates. You’ll also need a TV or a monitor with a high refresh rate and high resolution to take advantage of Xbox Series X’s great visuals.
With this information, the Xbox Series X already looks to be a herculean console that will offer unrivaled power and performance on the console market.
One new feature that is all but confirmed for the Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s new cloud streaming platform Project XCloud. Similar to Steam Link and Google Stadia, it allows you to turn your console into a server that can remotely stream games to any connected device, including your smartphone.
Microsoft is already touting its superiority over products like Stadia thanks to its access to the massive Xbox content library. But rumors suggest that Project XCloud might have another ingenious use. It might be utilized to reduce wait times, allowing you to stream games as they are being installed.
Another notable change you can expect to see on the Xbox Series X is the new controller design. Series X controllers will be more ergonomic. They are expected to be smaller and lighter, with an improved D-pad similar to that of the Xbox Elite controllers. Following in Sony’s footsteps, Microsoft will also reportedly introduce a screenshot sharing button.
Xbox Series X launch games
Although it’s a bit early for the unveiling of launch titles, we have a couple of confirmed Xbox Series X games already. First is the game series that gave Xbox its meteoric rise – Halo. The latest installment, Halo Infinite, is set to premiere alongside the next gen console. We currently don’t know much about its gameplay, but its cinematic E3 trailer certainly shows off stunning cutting-edge visuals and hints at an intriguing story.
The second confirmed title for the Xbox Series X is Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. The game is developed by Ninja Theory – a studio recently acquired by Microsoft and renowned for its excellent motion capture work. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is a sequel to the critically acclaimed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The new game’s trailer was first shown at the 2019 Game Awards, and Microsoft claims it consists entirely of in-engine footage. If true, it is just another demonstration of how stunning visuals on the new console can be.
Currently, these are the only two confirmed Xbox Series X launch titles. However, Xbox Game Studios and its subsidiaries are working on many new and exciting games that will be available on the Xbox Series X. To give you a better idea on what to expect, here are some of the studios and the games you might know them from:
- Obsidian Entertainment: known for RPGs, with two massive hits – Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth – under its belt
- Mojang: known for Minecraft
- Undead Labs: famous for its zombie games, developed the State of Decay series
- World’s Edge: dedicated studio created for the Age of Empires franchise
- The Initiative: expected to create so-called “AAAA” Xbox exclusive games; an answer to Sony’s SIE Worldwide Studios
- Rare: known for Sea of Thieves, currently working on EverWild – a rumored multiplayer survival game
Backwards compatibility has always been a contentious issue with console gaming, but Microsoft actually has some good news this time. The company has officially confirmed that all Xbox One games will be playable on the new console, including Xbox 360 games that are backwards-compatible.
Xbox Series X release date and price
Unfortunately, you will have to be patient. The Xbox Series X won’t make it to store shelves until the holiday season of 2020, around the same time the PlayStation 5 is expected to launch. If we are to judge by previous Xbox release dates, we can expect the Series X to arrive in November 2020. It is also possible that Microsoft will open pre-orders for the next gen console a couple of months earlier in the summer.
The Xbox Series X’s price is a bigger mystery, however. Both the Xbox One (bundled with a Kinect sensor) and Xbox One X before it launched with a retail price of $499. Yet, considering all the hardware upgrades, the Xbox Series X might command a higher price. We don’t expect a massive increase, however. Microsoft has to offer a product that has mass appeal, but also one that’s relatively affordable. We wouldn’t write off the possibility of multiple Series X configurations set at different price points either.
This is our round up of the currently available facts on Microsoft’s upcoming console, the Xbox Series X. We will update the article regularly as new information is revealed. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the Series X in the comments below.