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Xbox Series X

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Xbox Series X
XBOX SERIES X logo.svg
DeveloperMicrosoft
Product familyXbox
TypeHome video game console
Release dateQ4 2020
MediaUltra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, CD
CPUAMD Zen 2
MemoryGDDR6 SDRAM
StorageNVMe SSD
GraphicsAMD Radeon RDNA architecture
Controller inputXbox One controller
Online servicesXbox Live
Backward
compatibility
Xbox One and select Xbox 360, Xbox games
PredecessorXbox One

The Xbox Series X is an upcoming home video game console developed by Microsoft. It was announced during E3 2019 as "Project Scarlett" and scheduled for release in late 2020. It will compete with Sony's PlayStation 5 and the Nintendo Switch.

The console is one of the planned fourth-generation family of Xbox hardware, succeeding the current Xbox One line, and expected to have improved hardware for higher display resolutions and framerate and reduced loading times. Microsoft plans to have this be a soft transition to its next generation of hardware; the Xbox Series X is expected to be fully compatible with all games, controllers, and accessories that are currently supported by Xbox One, including selected Xbox 360 and original Xbox games already backwards compatible on the Xbox One. Further, Microsoft's internal Xbox Game Studios does not plan to immediately produce titles exclusive for the Xbox Series X, but instead will produce titles that are compatible on both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X, with certain titles having enhanced features on the new console.

History

Microsoft first teased new Xbox hardware under the codename "Project Scarlett" during its E3 2019 press conference,[1] Microsoft estimated that Scarlett would be four times as powerful as Xbox One X, with support for 8K resolution, real-time ray-tracing, and 120 frames-per-second rendering.[2] Microsoft said they wanted a soft transition from Xbox One to Scarlett, with Scarlett supporting backwards compatibility with all games and most hardware supported on the Xbox One.[2] Microsoft formally unveiled the console as Xbox Series X during The Game Awards 2019, as well as its final design and a late-2020 release date.[3][4]

Following the unveiling, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that Xbox Series X constituted an entry in a fourth generation of Xbox hardware, which will be branded simply as "Xbox" with no subtitle.[5] Prior to the E3 reveal, it had been speculated that Microsoft was also developing a second, lower-end console to accompany what was unveiled as Scarlett.[6][7]

Hardware

The console's form is designed to be unobtrusive and minimalistic. It is approximately 6 inches (15 cm) wide and deep, and 12 inches (30 cm) tall; while configured in this vertical orientation, the unit can also be used on its side. Its forward-facing features present only the main power button and the optical media slot. The top of the unit is a single powerful fan. Xbox head Phil Spencer said that the Xbox Series X was as quiet as the Xbox One X.[8] Microsoft stated that the console CPU will be four times as powerful as Xbox One X; it features AMD's Zen 2 CPU architecture and RDNA graphics architecture, a custom-designed solid state drive, GDDR6 SDRAM, and support for real-time ray-tracing, up to 120 frames per second rendering, and 8K resolution.[4] Microsoft has also promoted "auto low-latency mode," "Variable Rate Shading," and "dynamic latency input" technology—a new dynamic latency input pathway that allows developers to incorporate potential controller lag into their games and improve responsiveness.[4][9] Spencer has said that with the fourth generation of Xbox, the company is putting smooth frame rates and faster loading as a priority over higher resolutions, which the Series X achieves by better-matched capabilities of the CPU and GPU hardware, whereas previous Xbox had had underpowered CPUs to be able to achieve this.[10]

The console will ship with an updated version of the Xbox One controller, with a slightly more compact ergonomic design, a concave circle pad similar to the existing Elite Controller, as well as a newly-added "Share" button. The new controller will be compatible with existing Xbox One consoles and Windows 10. Furthermore, existing Xbox One controllers and accessories will be supported by the new console.[9][11]

Spencer said that the Xbox Series X will likely not have immediate virtual reality (VR) support on shipping, and that they expect that any virtual reality support will be based on the parts of the Xbox incorporating Microsoft Windows support for VR, but otherwise was not a focus of the console's development prior to launch.[12]

Games

Microsoft has stated that the Xbox Series X will support all games playable on the Xbox One, including those Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles currently supported through backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, thus allowing the console to support four generations of games.[2] To achieve this, Microsoft announced they would no longer be bringing any additional Xbox 360 or original Xbox games into the Xbox One backwards compatibility program in June 2019.[13] The backwards compatibility is planned as a launch feature, and Spencer said in December 2019 that he himself had been helping to test such titles for this.[14] Similarly to Xbox One X, Xbox One games may receive performance and visual enhancements when played on Series X.[15][16]

Developers may release games compatible exclusively with Xbox Series X; in January 2020, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty stated that they had no immediate plans to make games exclusive to Series X, explaining that they planned to take an approach similar to PC gaming, scaling quality and fidelity based on the console's available capabilities. Booty stated that Microsoft wanted to ensure that those who buy Xbox One consoles prior to the Series X launch would still "feel that they made a good investment and that we're committed to them with content".[15] Spencer called this approach was about putting the player at the center rather than the console, comparing it to the current ecosystem in personal computer games where developers can target optimal play on high-end computers but still have the means for older, less powerful computers to play the game with their friends with less graphic fidelity.[17] Several first-party games have been promoted with Series X in mind, such as the launch title Halo Infinite, and Senua's Saga: Hellblade II.[15][16] Spencer stated that they did not make this a requirement for any third-party developer, who are free to develop Xbox Series X-exclusive titles.[17]

New games that have been confirmed to be available for the Xbox Series X since its reveal include:

References

  1. ^ Warren, Tom (June 8, 2019). "Microsoft hints at next-generation Xbox 'Scarlet' in E3 teasers". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 9, 2019. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Greenwald, Will. "Microsoft Teases Xbox Project Scarlett, Tons of Games, Keanu". PCmag.com. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  3. ^ "Xbox Series X Exclusive Details: Meet Microsoft's Next-Gen Console". GameSpot. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Warren, Tom (December 12, 2019). "Microsoft's next Xbox is Xbox Series X, coming holiday 2020". The Verge. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  5. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (December 16, 2019). "The next generation of Xbox is just called ... Xbox". Polygon. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Warren, Tom (June 21, 2019). "Microsoft is only launching one next-generation Xbox, not two". The Verge. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Warren, Tom (December 4, 2019). "Microsoft planning second next-gen Xbox that's cheaper and less powerful". The Verge. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Brown, Peter (December 12, 2019). "Goodbye, Project Scarlett, Hello Xbox Series X - Exclusive First Look And Interview". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Inside The New Xbox Series X Controller: Share Button & More Changes". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  10. ^ Olsen, Matthew (January 29, 2020). "Phil Spencer Really, Really Wants to Push Frame Rates With the Xbox Series X". USGamer. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  11. ^ Byford, Sam (December 12, 2019). "The Xbox Series X controller has a tweaked design and a Share button". The Verge. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  12. ^ Watts, Steve (February 10, 2020). "Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Clarifies Controversial VR Comments". GameSpot. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  13. ^ Lawler, Richard (June 10, 2019). "Microsoft's Xbox, Xbox 360 backward compatibility list ends here". Engadget. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  14. ^ Priestman, Chris (December 17, 2019). "Xbox Series X Will Have Backwards Compatibility at Launch". IGN. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c Barton, Seth (January 10, 2020). ""All of our games… will play up and down that family of devices" – Xbox's Matt Booty ends the next-gen exclusive as we know it". MCV/Develop. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Sarkar, Samit (January 10, 2020). "Microsoft promises Xbox Series X games will also play on Xbox One — for now". Polygon. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  17. ^ a b McKeand, Kirk (February 10, 2020). "Phil Spencer defends the lack of launch exclusives for Xbox Series X – "the player [is] at the center"". VG247. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Wales, Matt (February 11, 2020). "Bulletstorm dev's co-op shooter Outriders coming to Xbox Series X, PS5 this "holiday"". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 11, 2020.

External links