Microsoft’s hotly anticipated Xbox Series X is still months away from its holiday 2020 release window, but a slew of information has been shared about their upcoming console, including its specs, new features, and upcoming game library.
With a redesigned look that has more in common with a computer tower than its predecessor, the biggest draw to Microsoft’s next-generation console is the sheer power packed within its walls. Positioning itself as the “most powerful console ever”, The Series X will feature eight Zen 2 CPU cores at 3.8GHz coupled with 12 Tflops of GPU power, which means this system should be able to easily reach 4k resolutions at 60fps, with the potential to reach up the 120fps in certain games like Halo Infinite, which was confirmed in a tweet from the official Halo Twitter account.
The Xbox Series X will also include a 1TB custom solid state drive (SSD) that will provide lightning-fast loading speeds. In a loading times tech demo released by Microsoft, State of Decay 2 was shown loading on both an Xbox One X and an Xbox Series X. The Xbox Series X loads the game in just 11 seconds, 40 seconds faster than the Xbox One X. In addition, the system features 16GB of RAM, a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc drive, and the option to expand the internal memory using an external hard drive.
It’s worth noting that while you will be able to use any USB 3.1+ external hard drive to load Xbox One, 360 and original Xbox games onto the Series X, games optimized for Xbox Series X will only load from the console’s SSD or proprietary cards sold by Microsoft. What all this means is that you can expect the Xbox Series X to be one of the smoothest experiences you can find on a console.
“Xbox Series X is our fastest, most powerful console ever, designed for a console generation that has you at its center. This means a high-fidelity gaming experience enclosed in a quiet and bold design, with the ability to discover thousands of games across four generations, all with more playing and less waiting,” Microsoft stated in an official blog post.
In their recent games showcase in July, Microsoft lifted the veil on some of the upcoming games coming to the Xbox Series X. While Halo Infinite was the crown jewel of the show, presented first in an 8 min gameplay demo, they also highlighted games coming from the studios under their belt. Rare’s Everwild, Obsidian’s Grounded, Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2, and even a reboot of Fable from Playground Games were just some of the standouts from the showcase.
What is even more exciting is that all of the games featured will be made available day one on Game Pass, Microsoft’s premiere subscription service. While Microsoft promises that these games will run best on their new hardware, all of them will be available on PC and some will even be available on the Xbox One.
The new Smart Delivery feature will let you upgrade any Xbox One game you purchase to its Xbox Series X version for free, granted the game supports it. And just in case you were worried about your older games, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer also confirmed in the aforementioned Microsoft blog post that Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Original Xbox games will be playable on the new system. You will even be able to use your Xbox One accessories!
Speaking of accessories, unlike the PS5’s redesign of its controller, The Series X controller is strikingly familiar in its design. Still, there are some new bells and whistles worth noting. The new controller features Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity for pairing with multiple devices, a redesigned D-Pad, a USB-C port for charging and, surprisingly, it still uses batteries.
With all its features laid out before us, two important questions remain — when is it coming out and how much will it cost? Like Sony, Microsoft has kept the answers to both questions close to its chest, but Phil Spencer confirmed that hardware production is on schedule, despite the global pandemic. However, software schedules may be subject to change.
Zackery Cuevas is an avid writer, publishing house veteran and part-time Dungeon Master who loves tech, video games and movies. When he’s not ranting about the latest video game releases, he’s watching (and sometimes performing) comedy in NYC.