Holiday 2020 is fast approaching, and gaming fans everywhere are waiting anxiously to know when they can expect to pre-order the Microsoft Xbox Series X, and when they will be able to pick it up on launch day! Whether you aren’t sure what to expect with Microsoft’s upcoming console, or you are looking for a little more information on it, I will cover everything you need to know!
What is it? Xbox Series X
Release Date? November 10, 2020
Preorder? September 22, 2020
Price? $499.99 USD
Backwards Compatibility? Yes! All Xbox One games are playable, along with XBOX and Xbox 360 games that are currently available on Xbox One.
What are the specs?
We’ve known for a little while now that the Xbox Series X will pack some power! Microsoft pleasantly surprised fans with a rundown of the packaged hardware.
Processor: AMD Zen 2 8-core CPU at 3.8GHz
Ram: 16GB GDDR6 at up to 560GB/s
Graphics: AMD Navi 12 Teraflop GPU 52 CUs at 1.825GHz
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD (2.4GB/s RAW)
All this provides a console four times as powerful as the last-gen Xbox One. Microsoft is boasting 120fps and 8k resolution, but you shouldn’t expect to get those simultaneously. 60fps at 4k resolution has been the goal of last-gen consoles, and those numbers should be achieved with the Series X.
The improved SSD storage paired with GDDR6 RAM will allow game developers to take advantage of the new technology and drastically reduce load times. Microsoft is toting open world games with little to no loading screens. There are many gamers who will be relieved by this as some games on the Xbox One have been plagued with painfully long load times.
One of the big talking points brought up by Microsoft in the Series X announcements has been the introduction of ray tracing. Ray tracing is a rendering feature that improves the look and feel of light and shadows in real-time with the game. Currently, ray tracing is only available on high end graphics cards which means it is strictly a feature that PC gamers get to enjoy. Well, no longer! With the help of the custom built Navi GPU by AMD, the Series X will give console gamers this exciting feature never seen on a console before.
The series X comes packed in a shell that is commonly referred to as a “fridge”. It sits on a 6” by 6” square base, and stands 18” tall. For some, this could be a refreshing change from the “VCR” looking original Xbox One. On the housing, Microsoft is providing 3 USB-A ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 ethernet port, and 1 port specifically used for SSD expansion.
This SSD expansion system will be a praised addition by most. On past consoles, once you maxed out your internal storage, you were stuck with the need to purchase an external drive that would connect through USB and speeds would be throttled even more than what was experienced on the internal drive. With this new addition, Microsoft has teamed up with Seagate to provide 1TB expansion SSD’s that connect via PCI Express 4.0. With games only set to grow in size, another 1TB of storage will almost certainly be used by most gamers. Currently AAA games have been known to exceed the 100GB mark, which fills storage quickly.
Currently, there has not been many announcements for accessories that will be available at launch. Microsoft has stated that they have not been working on any VR components for the Series X. This does not come as much of a surprise to most after the failure that was the Kinect. VR could be an option in the future for the Series X as the greater compute power could give developers the edge they need to create an enticing and realistic virtual reality.
The Series X controller slightly resembles that of the Xbox One controller, but Microsoft has claimed it is smaller, lighter, and more ergonomic. While the button layout stays mostly the same, the d-pad has been replaced with the same one currently on the Elite series 2 controller. The most notable change is the addition of a “share” button. This will enable the user to share gameplay easily to various streaming services. Similar to the current Xbox controllers, they will be compatible with Xbox, PC, iOS, and Android.
Microsoft has made a welcome, but surprising decision with the Series X’s controller compatibility. They’ve ensured that previous Xbox One controllers will all work with the new console. This is great news for those who have invested in multiple controllers; some of which, such as the Elite Series 2 controller, can cost just under $200.
Game compatibility is something that Microsoft has focused a lot on with last-gen consoles, and that will not be changing with the Series X. It has been confirmed that all of the backwards compatible games from the Xbox and Xbox 360 will be available on the Series X. Microsoft is constantly adding titles to this collection, so it will only get larger in the future.
Along with the massive collection of older games, all Xbox One games will work on the Series X, and Microsoft has stated that Xbox One will be supported for another 2 years (although this timeframe has been debated recently with comments from other Microsoft employees). Just like with past consoles, Series X owners will not have a lack of games to enjoy.
Microsoft has been busy with game announcements over the last few months. The classic AAA titles such as Halo, Assassins Creed, Madden, and Forza will all be coming to the series X, along with some other exciting games.
To see all the newly announced titles, check out Microsoft’s Game Showcase from July 23 below.
Microsoft has been the target of many angry fans saying that there are not enough console exclusives to keep buyers interested instead of moving towards Sony’s PlayStation 5. But the latest Game Showcase should prove all the naysayers wrong. Along with some of the above mentioned exclusive’s, Microsoft announced State of Decay 3, Fable, Everwild, Avowed, and many more!
This is an exciting time for fans of the line of past Xbox consoles. Microsoft’s newest addition, the Xbox Series X packs four times the power of the original Xbox One, and is introducing new hardware advancements never before seen in a console. Microsoft has taken their time to improve the ergonomics of their already impressive controller, and has focused on bringing more exclusive games to the Series X. It is only a matter of time before we hear the announcement regarding the retail price and release date. Then we all get to enjoy the new console in our homes!