The Xbox Series X has been officially unveiled by Microsoft at this year’s The Game Awards.
The console formerly known as Project Scarlett got a brand new trailer which showed off the bold look of Microsoft’s next-gen console. It’s due out in Holiday 2020.
The actual machine is about as wide as an Xbox One controller, but will be substantially taller, think a square base but with rectangular height.
Xbox’s Phil Spencer told GameSpot that the team were heavily focused on finding a happy marriage between design and function: “There’s always this tension between design and the kind of acoustics and cooling and function of the console,” Spencer said, “and we were not going to compromise on function. I’m just incredibly impressed with the design that they came back with.” According to the same story, the console will be about three times as tall as an Xbox One controller, so you might want to reconfigure your home setup.
We also know that the Xbox Series X will feature a NVMe SSD and GDDR6 memory as RAM. Partner Director of Program Management for Team Xbox, Jason Ronald, told GameSpot, “Today, we have the capability of instantly resuming the last game that you were playing. Why can’t you do that for multiple games?
Many players choose to play multiple games at the same time, being able to instantly jump right back where I was, those are things that we can do with the platform level to make the gaming experience better. It’s really about ensuring there’s less waiting and more time playing because that’s ultimately what we all want to do with a with the consoles and with the services that we have.”
And the controller? Well that hasn’t changed much, save for the addition of a share button, a hybrid d-pad, and a slightly smaller design that will fit 98% of hands (my tiny palms are grateful). Okay that’s a fair bit, and in a great bit of news, if you’re planning to keep your Xbox One, Microsoft have confirmed the new pad will work with the current-gen console, as well as PCs.
As for the name, it’s certainly a departure from Project Scarlett, and implies there could be more Series [Insert letter or number here] in the future. “Obviously,” Spencer said, “in the name ‘Series X’, it gives us freedom to do other things with that name so that we can create descriptors when we need to.”
Xbox Series X is slated for a Holiday 2020 release, which will put it right up against Sony’s PS5. Based on previous console launches, we’re expecting it to hit sometime in November.
Xbox Series X price
Xbox Series X doesn’t yet have an official price, but we expect it to go for a premium given its high-end specs. For context, both the original Xbox One and Xbox One X launched at a $499 price point.
However, you will have an option to pay for your Series X in installments. The upcoming console has been added to Microsoft’s Xbox All Access program, which allows you to finance an Xbox One S or Xbox One X for as little as $19.99 per month. All Access members can upgrade to Series X starting in Holiday 2020 once they’ve made 18 payments.
Xbox Series X pre-order
Xbox Series X isn’t quite available for pre-order yet, but we’ll be sure to update this section once it is. However, if you sign up for Xbox All Access now, you can eventually upgrade to a Series X starting Holiday 2020.
Xbox Series X specs
Xbox Series X features a custom AMD Zen 2 processor that promises four times the power of the Xbox One X. Other features include ray tracing support, up to 120fps gameplay, 8K resolution, GDDR6 memory and variable refresh rate support. The system will also have a custom SSD that promises a 40x performance increase and virtually no load times.
Other key features include Variable Refresh Rate support, meaning the console can change the refresh rate on the fly based on what type of TV or monitor is connected (that means that support for G-Sync and FreeSync monitors may be possible). Series X will offer Microsoft’s Variable Rate Shading technology, which improves rendering performance without sacrificing picture quality.
With features like Auto Low Latency Mode and Dynamic Latency Input, Series X should offer more responsive inputs than previous Xbox consoles, which could be key for competitive games.
In an interview with Gamespot, Xbox chief Phil Spencer stressed that Microsoft is focusing on getting games to run at 4K at a steady 60 frames per second on Series X. Spencer also noted that fast load times is a major design priority, which is where the system’s custom SSD will come in.
While Xbox Series X’s high-end specs should easily power a VR headset, don’t hold your breath for virtual reality on the next Xbox. Speaking to Stevivor, Spencer noted that VR is not a priority for Microsoft’s next-gen console.
“I have some issues with VR — it’s isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience,” Spencer told Stevivor. “We’re responding to what our customers are asking for and… nobody’s asking for VR.”
Xbox Series X controller
Xbox Series X will launch with a new version of the Xbox Wireless Controller. While it looks fairly identical to the current Xbox One controller, the gamepad will feature a dedicated Share button for easily capturing screenshots and game clips, as well as a revised d-pad based on that of the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller.
In a blog post, Microsoft also says that its “size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people.” Better yet, the new controller will also work with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
Xbox Series X games
Halo Infinite, the highly anticipated next installment in Microsoft’s flagship shooter series, will launch alongside Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020.
At The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft studio Ninja Theory revealed Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, the sequel to the beloved 2016 psychological action game. The game is being built exclusively for Xbox Series X and PC, and the debut in-engine trailer should give you a solid idea of what the console is capable of.
We don’t know much else about the launch lineup, but the Series X will support all existing Xbox One games, including the vast library of backward compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 titles.
Other titles confirmed or expected to be in development for next-gen consoles include The Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield and Grand Theft Auto 6, so it seems safe to assume that those will land on Xbox Series X as well. According to TechRadar, Rage 2 developer Avalanche Studios is working on a next-generation title.
During its fall 2019 earnings call, EA confirmed that it has a new Battlefield game in development for next-gen consoles (according to GameSpot). The publisher is also skipping this year’s installment of NBA Live to focus on a next-gen version for 2020, as reported by Polygon.
This article originally ran on gamesradar.com.