Games

Everything we know about the Xbox Series X

Everything we know about the X...
Microsoft's Xbox Series X
Microsoft's Xbox Series X
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Microsoft's Xbox Series X
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Microsoft's Xbox Series X
Halo Infinite will be a launch title for the Xbox Series X (and also available on PC and Xbox One)
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Halo Infinite will be a launch title for the Xbox Series X (and also available on PC and Xbox One)
The Xbox Series X controller
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The Xbox Series X controller
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Microsoft’s next-generation gaming console, the Xbox Series X, is due out by the end of the year, but information has been coming out in dribs and drabs. Here, New Atlas gathers everything we know and don’t know about the next Xbox’s hardware, games, controllers, features and services.

We’ll continue to update this post as new details come to light.

The basics


  • What: Microsoft’s fourth-generation games console
  • Release date: Quarter 4, 2020
  • Price: Unknown
  • Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 12 in (15 x 15 x 30 cm)
  • Shape: tower, can be stood upright or laid on its side
  • Disc slot: UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, CD

Hardware


  • CPU: Custom AMD Ryzen Zen 2, 8 cores @ 3.8 GHz
  • GPU: Custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2, 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
  • (That GPU is eight times more powerful than Xbox One and twice the Xbox One X)
  • Storage: 1 TB Solid-state drive (SSD), 2.4 GB/s raw read speed
  • RAM: 16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM
  • Connection: HDMI 2.1 (Ultra-high speed HDMI cable included)

Technical capabilities


Frame rates: up to 60 and 120 frames per second
Resolution: HD, Full HD, 4K, 8K

Expandable storage
The SSD is expandable through a proprietary 1 TB Expansion Card, produced by Seagate and available at launch. The console is also compatible with an external hard drive through USB 3.2, for previous-generation games.

Quick Resume
Several games can be suspended at once, so players can return to exactly where they left off without having to go through menus and long loading screens. The console will even remember these suspended states after a reboot.

Variable rate shading (VRS)
Allows developers to prioritize effects on certain characters or objects. That means the most important parts can look their best, while maintaining higher resolutions and more stable frame rates.

Hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing
This technique involves tracing the path of light and rendering its interaction with objects in real time. That makes for far more realistic shadows, reflections, and other lighting effects.

Audio raytracing
Applies the same principles to sound. That makes audio acoustics more three-dimensional as sound wave projections bounce off and around objects.

Xbox Velocity Architecture
A new system architecture designed to speed up asset streaming and save memory. It's made up of four components: the custom SSD, a dedicated hardware decompression block, a DirectStorage API, and Sampler Feedback Streaming.

Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Allows the console to automatically set the connected TV to its lowest-latency mode.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Syncs the refresh rate of the display with the frame rate of the game, to minimize the visual “tearing” effect.

Dynamic Latency Input (DLI)
Makes for more responsive input by apparently synchronizing input with what’s on-screen. (That’s what Microsoft says, anyway. We’re not entirely sure how that’s any different from any other controller input system).

Controller

The Xbox Series X controller
The Xbox Series X controller

Very similar design to the Xbox One controller, with a few differences.

  • A new Share button in the middle, for quickly capturing screenshots and video clips
  • New D-pad is a hybrid between that on the classic Xbox One controller, and the circular pad on the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller
  • Rounder edges and slightly smaller controller, designed to fit better in the hand
  • Tactile dot pattern on triggers adds grip

Games

Halo Infinite will be a launch title for the Xbox Series X (and also available on PC and Xbox One)
Halo Infinite will be a launch title for the Xbox Series X (and also available on PC and Xbox One)

Games confirmed so far for Xbox Series X

  • The Lord of The Rings: Gollum
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Gods and Monsters
  • Halo Infinite
  • Outriders
  • Senua's Saga: Hellblade II
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Quarantine
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • Gears 5
  • Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2

Services


Backwards compatibility

  • The Xbox Series X will be able to play digital versions of games from all three prior generations – original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • These will have updates taking advantage of the new hardware, including faster load times, higher resolution and better visuals
  • Old save files will carry across
  • Xbox One controllers and accessories will work on the Series X
  • Series X controllers will work on the Xbox One and Windows PCs
  • Xbox Series X players will be able to play multiplayer games with Xbox One players

Smart Delivery

  • Buying a game on either Xbox One or Xbox Series X means you get the other version free as well.
  • Applies to all in-house Xbox Game Studios titles (such as Halo Infinite)
  • All developers and publishers can choose to use this feature too (Ubisoft has confirmed it for Cyberpunk 2077)

Xbox Game Pass

  • Microsoft’s game subscription service will be available on Xbox Series X
  • A monthly or yearly fee includes access to over 100 games, playable on Series X, Xbox One and PC
  • The library of titles will continue to grow

Xbox Live
Microsoft’s online multiplayer service carries across from previous generations.

Project xCloud
The Xbox Series X will have some kind of capability with Project xCloud, Microsoft’s streaming game service. This may mean Xbox Series X games will join the service, allowing users to stream them onto Android phones and tablets. Or it could mean players can stream games onto their Series X consoles.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in February 27, 2020. This revised and updated version was published on March 17, 2020.

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