Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s answer to the upcoming Sony PlayStation 5. Which next-gen console will come out on top? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, fans in both camps have been waiting years for the release of these consoles and the excitement has now reached palpable levels – especially in these unprecedented times that find most people stuck at home.
In the lead up to Xbox Series X, Microsoft has launched a monthly showcase, Xbox 20/20, to build excitement and feed its fans a constant stream of updates about the upcoming console. From hardware specs to gameplay footage to software enhancements, fans now have a much better idea of what’s in store when Holiday Season 2020 rolls around.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of information to keep you up-to-date about Xbox Series X.
What’s the latest news?
- Watch a trippy new Xbox Series X trailer featuring Daniel Kaluuya
- Next-gen price hike issue is “complex”, says Xbox exec
- Xbox Series X will allow users to “selectively uninstall” parts of games
What is Xbox Series X?
Xbox Series X is the fourth generation of the Xbox console. Its predecessors are the Xbox One (2013), Xbox 360 (2005) and the original Xbox (2001).
When will Xbox Series X be released?
On September 9, Microsoft announced that the Xbox Series X would be released on November 10, the same launch day as the previously revealed Xbox Series S. The Series X will retail for £449/US$499, with pre-orders starting from September 22.
Consumers will also be able to purchase the Series X through a monthly payment plan called Xbox All Access. The method will cost £28.99/US$34.99 a month with no upfront charges, and will come bundled with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
On September 8, Microsoft officially revealed the Xbox Series S, the more affordable and lower spec-ed version of their next-gen console. The announcement came just hours after renders of the consoles leaked online. The company confirmed that Series S will cost US$299 at launch, while describing the system as having “next-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever”.
Later that day, the tech giant revealed that the Series S would launch on November 10. Alongside the announcement was a new trailer which showed off the design and a slew of its features, including the fact that it is all-digital and is 60 per cent smaller than the Xbox Series X, which comes with a built-in disc drive.
What are the specs of Xbox Series X?
Instead of drowning you in a pool of stats and figures, here are a couple of important highlights of the Xbox Series X specs:
- Xbox Velocity Architecture: Xbox Series X’s new architecture is built for speed and power. The combination of its hardware and software is touted to improve the way games – even those from the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox – perform, from improved boot and load times to more stable frame rates and higher resolutions.
- Massive Storage and Memory: Xbox Series X boasts 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and a 1TB SSD, which is plenty of storage and speed. But if that’s not enough, there’s the option of a proprietary 1TB expansion SSD for the system that will provide even more storage for games. While third-party SSDs will work with the Xbox Series X, games will need to be transferred to the console’s storage for play.
- 4K Visuals: At launch, Xbox Series X will deliver native 4K 60 frames per second gaming. However, Microsoft claims that the console will also be 8K ready and be able to deliver up to 120 frames per second.
And if you’re interested in the numbers, here they are:
- Processor: 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2-architecture CPU at 3.7-3.8GHz
- Graphics: AMD Navi/RDNA 2-family GPU with 52 CU at 1.825GHz (12TFLOPS FP32)
- Video memory: 16GB GDDR6 (10GB at 560GB/s allocated to GPU, 6GB at 336GB/s allocated to rest of system)
- Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD; proprietary 1TB SSD add-on module; USB 3.2 external HDD support
- Optical drive: 4K Blu-ray
- Maximum output resolution: 8K
- Maximum frame rate: 4K/120fps
- Backwards compatibility: Xbox One and supported Xbox 360 and Xbox games
Microsoft has confirmed backwards compatibility for the Xbox Series X
Jason Ronald, director of program management for Xbox Series X, has confirmed on a Xbox Wire blog post that “thousands” of backwards compatible games will be available on the console at launch.
“With more than 100,000 hours of play testing already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favourites,” Ronald said.
“Many of us in Team Xbox play on the Xbox Series X daily as our primary console and switching between generations is seamless. By the time we launch this holiday, the team will have spent well over 200,000 hours ensuring your game library is ready for you to jump in immediately.”
Ronald added that older games will run “the peak performance that they were originally designed for, many times even higher performance than the games saw on their original launch platform”. This will result in “higher and more steady frame rates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality”.
In the post, Roland also the console’s Quick Resume feature, which allows players to start a game exactly where they left off previously, will be available for older titles too. “The new Quick Resume feature was designed to not only work with new games, but it can also be enabled for backward-compatible titles,” he said.
What’s the latest update for the Xbox Series X?
On October 12, Microsoft released a new launch trailer for the upcoming Xbox Series X and S consoles, featuring Black Panther and Get Out actor Daniel Kaluuya.
The trippy launch trailer follows Kaluuya as he boots up the next-gen Xbox system, only to get pulled into another dimension. As he floats through time and space, Kaluuya is transported to the world of Valhalla, from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed game, and later has a run in with Halo’s Master Chief.
In early October, Aaron Greenburg, the general manager of games marketing at Xbox, responded to the next-gen game price hike issue. During an appearance on the Real Deal podcast, he described the issue as “super complex”, noting that titles no longer launch at a uniform price point.
“In the old days, every game launched at one price and that was it,” he said. “But we launched Ori And The Will Of The Wisps at $30, and Gears Tactics is a new title launching this holiday and it’s launching at $60. State Of Decay 2 launched at $40. So there’s not a simple answer to that.”
The Xbox marketing chief then suggested that a price increase for next-gen might be the expectation rather than the rule, noting that upcoming titles like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077 and Dirt 5 are all set to launch at US$60.
The Xbox Series X and S will allow players to “selectively uninstall different components” of games, according to Jason Ronald, the director of programme management on the Xbox team.
Bandai Namco has announced Scarlet Nexus pre-orders
Scarlet Nexus, Bandai Namco’s upcoming action RPG game has received the pre-order treatment for both current- and next-gen consoles. Set in the near future, the game revolves around Yuito Sumeragi, a new task force recruit on a mission to eradicate an invasive mutant species. Pre-orders are available on Amazon now.
Microsoft has confirmed Halo Infinite showcase for July’s Xbox 20/20
Halo Infinite is one of the launch titles Microsoft has announced for the Xbox Series X. Players have yet to get another glimpse of the title since it was first unveiled in 2018, but that will change in July’s edition of Xbox 20/20.
“You may have seen people talking about this lightly before, but we’re extremely excited to confirm that Halo Infinite will be one of many first-party titles included in the Xbox 20/20 event in July. Get ready,” said Halo’s community manager on the game’s official blog.
Fortnite will be available on the PS5 and Xbox Series X at launch
Good news for Fortnite fans: the game will be available on Xbox Series X at launch, Epic Games has confirmed. According to a post on the Fortnite’s official blog, the game will not be a brand new version, but one that’s optimised “to take advantage of the new hardware and features on next-gen consoles”.
Xbox has revealed 13 third-party games for Xbox Series X
During the inaugural Xbox 20/20 event, Microsoft kicked things off by showing gameplay for 13 games that will be available on Xbox Series X this holiday season. All 13 games were entirely developed by third-party studios. The titles include:
- Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
- Madden NFL 21
- Yakuza: Like A Dragon
- The Medium
- The Ascent
- Dirt 5
- Bright Memory: Infinite
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Call Of The Sea
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
Destiny 2 will be released on PS5 and Xbox Series X
Bungie has confirmed that its free-to-play online multiplayer FPS, Destiny 2, will be available on next-gen consoles. Responding to a Microsoft tweet regarding publishers that will feature on Xbox Series X, Bungie said: “Destiny 2 will be on next-gen platforms! More details to come.” See the tweet below.
Destiny 2 will be on next-gen platforms! More details to come. pic.twitter.com/1ZZqGZjjjg
— Bungie (@Bungie) May 7, 2020
Microsoft has unveiled a new Xbox 20/20 monthly event will showcase the future of Xbox
In a bid to ramp up promotions for Xbox Series X, Microsoft has announced a monthly showcase event called Xbox 20/20. According to the developer, the showcase will feature “what’s next in the world of Xbox”.
With the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft has had to switch up its promotional plans for Xbox Series X. It originally planned to reveal games for the upcoming console at E3, but with the event’s cancellation, Microsoft has now turned to a monthly digital update format, instead.