During recent weeks all the headlines may have been about the Sony PS5 and its super swish launch line-up, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft unveiling a steady stream of key details about the Xbox Series X.
For those that missed it, the Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next flagship games console. It was unveiled last year and will take over the Xbox One line as Microsoft’s main games platform.
Microsoft hasn’t lifted the lid on all the details about the new console, but from what little we do know it’s shaping up to be a very impressive bit of kit. Microsoft has loaded the Xbox Series X with an abundance of new cutting edge hardware that will let it offer radically improved visuals and performance.
It’s also set to debut a load of new software and services that will let the buyers enjoy a wealth of never before seen features. Only this week the firm released fresh details about the Xbox Series X’s awesome “Smart Delivery” backwards compatibility, confirming saves will be carried over between console generations.
While this is awesome it does make keeping on top of all the latest, legitimate, Xbox Series X information a little tricky. Which is why we’ve collated all the facts on the Xbox Series X into one handy guide. Scroll down to find out everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X including its specs, price, release date and launch line-up.
Also make sure to bookmark and keep checking this page as we’ll be updating it with all the latest Xbox Series X news as and when it becomes available.
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Xbox Series X – Key facts
- Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next console following the Xbox One, One S and One X
- Launch planned for Winter 2020 alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5
- Announced games include Halo Infinite and Hellblade: Senua’s Saga (see here for games)
- Will be backwards compatible will all existing Xbox games and peripherals
- Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass will be supported on release
- Microsoft will hold digital event amidst E3 2020 cancellation
- The full specs list for the Xbox Series X has been released
Xbox Series X release date – When is it coming out?
Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Series X will be launching in “Holiday 2020”. A specific date remains unconfirmed, and likely won’t be announced until later this year.
However, we can look at its sibling to gain a rough idea of when it will arrive. Xbox One launched back in November 2013, so it’s likely Xbox Series X will follow in its footsteps, so it’s in the home of gamers in time for Christmas.
While some feared delays due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Xbox head Phil Spencer has reassured fans that the console is still on track for the end of the year.
“When I look at the hardware production now, I feel really good”, said Spencer in a recent interview with BBC Click. “We probably had a couple [of] weeks missing in our testing cycle, just as we got up to speed with things. But I feel like we’ll be able to absorb a lot of that into the schedule, and I feel really good about our autumn launch”.
Xbox Series X – What about Project Lockhart?
Windows Central has published a new report which claims that Microsoft is planning to hold a reveal event in May for both Xbox Series X and Xbox Lockhart, the latter is being a smaller, less powerful piece of console hardware aimed at casual consumers.
According to the report, multiple sources claim that Microsoft is hoping to hold an event this month which will focus on upcoming console hardware. It will apparently feature the long-awaited announcement of Xbox Lockhart, a less-powerful console which aims to replace the Xbox One X. It will be a 4 teraflop “entry-point” console for next-gen gaming. Halo Infinite and Fable 4 are said to feature at the upcoming event, with the latter being developed by Playground Games
While it won’t possess the same capabilities as Xbox Series X, it could possibly boast some features such as improved loading times and limited ray tracing. All of this remains unconfirmed, but rumours of a second console have been swirling online for a number of months now. The report claims that Microsoft employees have begun taking the console home for internal testing and feedback, hinting that an announcement is imminent.
What are the Xbox Series X games?
While the likes of Halo Infinite and Hellblade: Senua’s Saga were already confirmed as launch titles, Microsoft has now confirmed a long list of titles that will also arrive on the next-gen console insluding Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Dirt 5.
For a full list of the confirmed Xbox Series games, look below:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Bright Memory Infinite
- Call of the Sea
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Dirt 5
- Halo Infinite
- Hellblade 2
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- The Ascent
- The Medium
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
That may look like an underwhelming list so far, but Xbox has said it will be showing off some first-party games in an upcoming July event, while many more third-party games are expected too.
Microsoft has also confirmed that Xbox Series X won’t have any traditional exclusives for a couple of years at the earliest, hoping to maintain parity across its family of consoles, so nobody is left behind as we transition into a new generation of consoles.
This might underwhelm those looking to shell out on a shiny new machine with games you can’t play anywhere else, but knowing those who can’t afford such a thing won’t lose out is excellent to see.
Microsoft has also confirmed that many games will support the Smart Delivery feature, which means anyone who buys a game on the Xbox One / Xbox One X will get a free copy of the Xbox Series X version in the future.
What are the Xbox Series X specs and features?
The Xbox Series X is shaping up to be a significant upgrade over its predecessor, even trumping the Xbox One X when it comes to sheer capabilities and processing power. Sony has also revealed the specs for PlayStation 5. It lags behind Microsoft in some areas, yet steams ahead in others to show that neither company is afraid of pulling punches this generation.
You can find the full list of specs for yourself below:
- CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
- GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
- Die Size 360.45 mm2
- Process 7nm Enhanced
- Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
- Memory Bandwidth: 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
- Internal Storage: 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
- I/O throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
- Expandable Storage: 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
- External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
- Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
Given that the Xbox One X is already capable of running some major blockbusters at a full 4K resolution, it was no surprise when Phil Spencer revealed that the Xbox Series X would support 8K gaming and frame-rates of up to 120fps.
Related: Xbox Backwards Compatibility
Despite the amazing spec reveals, we imagine 60fps will likely remain the real benchmark for performance which will result in a silky smooth gameplay experience. The majority of consumers won’t even have a display for taking advantage of 8K at release, or even several years afterwards. 4K, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly common in gamers’ homes and will only become more so once Xbox Series X arrives.
Xbox Series X will also support hardware-accelerated DirectX ray tracing, a feature which will be one of the main focal points of the coming generation. This feature sees in-game light look and behave significantly more realistically, and adds a beautiful polish to the visuals. The inclusion of support for variable refresh rate meanwhile means the new hardware can eradicate screen stutters and the like for a far smoother look overall.
One of the most exciting additions of the Xbox Series X is the implementation of SSD technology. Replacing the standard hard drive, this new use of memory storage will allow for games to load faster than ever before, while also speeding up general processes around the user interface. Xbox One is notorious for being cumbersome to navigate, so here’s hoping Microsoft has learned a thing or two in this department.
Microsoft has also partnered with luxury audio brand Bang & Olufson to bring high end audio to the gaming sphere. B&O has yet to reveal what exactly it is the company is bringing to the table, but we don’t expect it to be cheap. Xbox Head of Hardware Partnerships Matt Kesselring has described the product as “a new premium tier of gaming audio […] that travels with you everywhere you love to play Xbox”. Whether that means a small wireless speaker or a premium gaming headset, we’ll have to wait to find out.
Design – How does the new console look?
Microsoft is throwing established conventions out of the window with Xbox Series X, introducing a console which has more in common with a gaming PC than a traditional console. It’s a towering behemoth of a machine, with only a handful of buttons located on its front in the form of eject, power and sync buttons. It’s different, and we honestly dig it.
Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X — Which upcoming console will rule the next generation?
While it hasn’t been shown off officially, a recent leak provides us with a glimpse at the console’s backside. If it proves accurate, Xbox One X will have the following ports:
- 2 USB ports
- 1 Ethernet port
- 1 power port
- 1 HDMI port
The lack of another HDMI port for feeding in devices such as television boxes is worth nothing, showing that Microsoft is completely leaving behind the multimedia vision first introduced with the Xbox One. It’s a fairly basic affair, although you will likely still have an option to increase your storage with external drives and other such devices.
Is it better than the PlayStation 5? PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X controller – Has anything changed?
Microsoft has confirmed that the console, and all future hardware, will be “forwards compatible” which means all existing games, controllers and other peripherals will be fully compatible with the new console. However, that doesn’t mean a new controller won’t be introduced, although it remains largely unchanged from the previous iteration.
Phil Spencer recently told gamers: “We’re optimizing latency in the player-to-console pipeline starting with our Xbox Wireless Controller, which leverages our high bandwidth, proprietary wireless communication protocol when connected to the console. With Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), a new feature which synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed, controls are even more precise and responsive.”
The company has said the new controller will be very familiar but comes with a few worthwhile quality of life changes. For starters, it will have a dedicated share button much like the PS4 controller. That means the act of sharing screenshots and video clips will no longer be a nuisance of switching between multiple menus before returning to your game.
Other new features remain unclear, but we’ve love to see improved, more immersive vibration functions and the addition of haptic feedback triggers. Sony has confirmed the PS5 controller will implement such a feature, allowing players to be drawn into their games like never before. We’d love for Microsoft to bite back with a similar idea.
Related: Cyberpunk 2077 preview
Xbox Series X Price and pre-order – How much will it cost?
Having launched at £429/$499, the Xbox One was a very expensive piece of equipment back in 2013, so much so that many opted for PS4 purely because of its fair more appealing price point. If Microsoft wants to get ahead on release, it would be wise to lower this price in its aim to be more competitive with Sony’s console.
Taking into account the planned power the Xbox Series X will boast, it will likely be sold at a loss, it all depends on how big a bullet Microsoft wants to take when it comes to offering consumers a worthwhile price. Who knows, Sony might express a PS3-era level of hubris and charge us £500. Recent rumours suggest that Sony is struggling to keep the PS5’s price down, so could this be a golden opportunity for Microsoft to showcase a cheaper offering for the first time in years? Keep your fingers crossed for now.
Xbox Series X backwards compatibility – Can I play my existing games library
Yes! Microsoft has been leading the charge with backwards compatibility in recent years, bringing a number of Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles to modern platforms with a range of visual and performance improvements. It’s been a delight to revisit classics through digital downloads or simply inserting your disc into a modern console.
While the company has stopped adding games to this library for the time being, it’s bound to kick back into gear once Xbox Series X rolls around. Microsoft has confirmed as such, and from launch you should have access to your entire physical and digital libraries simply by logging into your Xbox Live account. A Smart Delivery system has also been revealed, which means if you purchase something for Xbox One, you’ll automatically be upgraded to the Series X release. Cyberpunk 2077 will the first of many to adopt this feature. If that wasn’t cool enough, Microsoft’s also confirmed any save you have on the older console will also be carried over when you upgrade.
The Xbox Series X won’t be Microsoft’s final console either, as Spencer revealed in an interview with Wired. The more consoles Microsoft releases, the more central backwards comparability will become as gamers seek to upgrade their consoles without losing out on any of their existing library.
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