The Xbox Series X is Microsoft's next-generation console, previously known by its codename Project Scarlett.
The console was announced at The Game Awards in December 2019, and, thanks to recent information drops and blog posts by Microsoft, we now know more than ever about the Xbox Series X.
Gone is the cuboid-type design that gamers have been used to over the past 18 years of Xbox in favour of a block-esque tower that can be positioned vertically or horizontally.
The square footprint is around the same width as an Xbox controller and about three times as tall. Gamers will be happy to know the Series X does feature a disc drive, unlike the Xbox One S All Digital released last year, so you will be able to play old games.
The new Series X controller has also been redesigned with its size and shape refined.
A new Share button has been added so gamers can capture screenshots and game clips easily – Google incorporated a similar button on its Stadia controller to facilitate live-streaming, as a nod to how social media dominates so much of the gaming world now. This new controller will be compatible with Xbox One.
Here's everything we know so far:
What is Xbox Smart Delivery?
This is a brand new feature coming to Microsoft consoles.
Say you buy a game at the moment on an Xbox One console, but that exact game is also coming out on the Xbox Series X.
Smart Delivery means that any compatible game you buy on Xbox One will be upgraded to the Xbox Series X version of the game completely free of cost.
This means you'll only have to buy an Xbox game once and it will be available on the Series X when it launches if the game explicitly states that it will be available through Smart Delivery.
At the moment, Halo Infinite is confirmed to be a launch title as well as multiple others we've covered in this list.
Ninja Theory, the Cambridge-based development studio which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, announced the follow up to the award-winning Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice with the trailer for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. We expect this to be a launch title, but this seems increasingly unlikely considering how we've yet to see more since it was revealed.
The first game in the instalment won five awards at the BAFTA Game Awards, including one for a new category that year named Game Beyond Entertainment, for its exploration of mental health issues and psychosis in a fantasy setting.
Microsoft's Phil Spencer said Hellblade II has been built to “leverage the full power of Xbox Series X.”
Specifications and features
Compared to the previous generation, Xbox Series X represents a superior balance of power and speed in console design, advancing on all technological fronts to delivering dynamic, living worlds.
Xbox Series X is the most powerful Xbox console ever, powered by their custom-designed processor, AMD's Zen 2 and RDNA 2.
This will reportedly deliver four times the processing power of an Xbox One and enabling developers to leverage 12 TFLOPS (teraflops) of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) performance – twice that of an Xbox One X and more than eight times the original Xbox One. Not just that, but the next Xbox will have 16 GB of RAM
Xbox Series X promises to deliver a true generational leap in processing and graphics power with cutting edge techniques resulting in higher framerates and larger, more sophisticated game worlds.
You can expect more dynamic and realistic environments powered by hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing – a first for console gaming.
This means true-to-life lighting, accurate reflections and realistic acoustics in real-time as you explore the game world.
Solid State Drives (SSD)
Using an SSD, nearly every aspect of playing games will be improved. Game worlds are larger, more dynamic and load in a flash and fast travel is just that - fast.
With this in mind, Xbox claims to incorporate a new Quick Resume feature, which lets you continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, returning you to where you were and what you were doing, without waiting through long loading screens.
The Xbox Series X SSD will reportedly run at 3.75 GB/s, which is considerably lower than the PS5's purported SSD running at 5.5 GB/s.
Microsoft custom-built the SSD with speed in mind and, clocking in a 1 TB (terabyte) on an SSD, this is well above the average size of a typical one.
Frames per second
The Xbox Series X will also support up to 120 FPS, allowing developers to exceed standard 60FPS output in favour of heightened realism or fast-paced action.
Working together with powerful TVs, the Xbox's Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) will allow Xbox One and Xbox Series X to automatically set the connected display to its lowest latency mode.
VRR synchronizes the display’s refresh rate to the game’s frame rate, maintaining smooth visuals without tearing. Which means bye-bye lag and hello responsive gaming.
Xbox Series X will feature four generations of backwards compatibility, allowing players to experience numerous old Xbox games from the original, Xbox 360 and the Xbox One.
This means existing Xbox One games, including backwards-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, will be playable (and hopefully, look beautiful) on the Xbox Series X.
Further to this, titles available through Xbox Game Pass will benefit from steadier frame rates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity.
Release date and price
Xbox Series X is slated for a Holiday 2020 release, which will be the same window Sony hopes to release their rival PS5 console, it is currently unknown how much either of the consoles will cost.
Overall, Xbox Series X is looking like the most powerful Xbox console ever, designed for a console generation that has players at its centre. This means a high-fidelity gaming experience enclosed in a quiet and bold design, with the ability to discover thousands of games across four generations.
You can certainly expect some more Halo games and quite possibly more Gears of War as both are Microsoft exclusive IPs. Ubisoft confirmed that their tactical online shooter Rainbow Six: Siege would be playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X.
2020 is certainly looking to be an interesting year for the gaming community. Nintendo is working on its next console, thought to be the Switch 2 or the Switch Pro, whilst Sony’s PlayStation 5 is also set to be released towards the end of the year, which will support 8K gaming and offer faster loading times.
Start prepping your 2020 Christmas wish list now.