Ever since Xbox Series X was revealed at The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft has been drip-feeding information about its next-gen console. Within the first few months of 2020, Microsoft has revealed additional details for how Xbox Series X will handle backwards compatibility and also announced the console’s specs–including the console’s hardware power, variable-rate shading and ray-tracing, improved quick resume function, and brand-new “smart delivery” feature.
If you’re just interested in what we learned about Xbox Series X during both The Game Awards 2019 and our exclusive interviews with Xbox head Phil Spencer and Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald, we have a roundup of the latest Xbox Series X details. Below, we compile everything there is to know about Xbox Series X–from its announcement as Project Scarlett to now. So if you’re looking for a more comprehensive overview, keep reading. We’ll update this article as more details are shared; critical details like an exact release date, price, and whether there will be more than one model of the system in 2020 are among the many topics we’re still waiting for Microsoft to nail down.
- Release Date
- Backwards Compatibility
- Performance And Specs
- Confirmed Console Exclusives
- Game Services
Once known as Project Scarlett, the official name for Microsoft’s next-gen console is Xbox Series X. Spencer explains that the name allows a certain flexibility when it comes to additional model names in the future, lending credence to the rumors that Microsoft actually has two next-gen consoles in development–Xbox Series X and a cheaper, possibly all-digital version codenamed Project Lockhart.
- How Xbox Scarlett’s Official Name Hints At The Future
- Xbox Series X Name & Look Revealed At The Game Awards
Microsoft announced that Xbox Series X is currently scheduled to release Holiday 2020. This is about seven years after the launch of the original Xbox One. According to Microsoft, COVID-19 will not impact the console’s launch.
Microsoft hasn’t announced an official price for Xbox Series X yet–the console isn’t even up for pre-order. Before trying to sell customers on the console, Microsoft wants consumers to have a chance to better understand what Xbox Series X can do. The Game Awards presents an ideal stage for announcing a product, but it’s not a very good place for getting tech into the hands of the public. Though Microsoft hasn’t confirmed anything, this probably means we can expect additional Xbox Series X reveals during E3 2020.
- Why You Can’t Pre-Order Xbox Series X Right Now
- Everything Microsoft Has Said About How Much Xbox Series X Will Cost
- Xbox Boss Says Project Scarlett Price May Depend On Trump’s Tariffs
The Xbox Series X looks an awful lot like a PC desktop tower, though–like the Xbox 360, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X–you can lay it down horizontally too. Though the console looks massive, it’s actually not all that big. Grab an Xbox One controller if you have one handy and lay it down on the table. The Xbox Series X is about that wide. Now stand the controller upon its grips and multiply that height by three–that’s the approximate height of the Xbox Series X. Since the console is a square tower, it’s as deep as it is wide.
Like the Xbox One, most of the Xbox Series X’s ports are on the back of the console. The only features on the front are the Xbox button, disc drive, and the eject button. There doesn’t appear to be a USB port on the front (like with the Xbox One X) for easily connecting a wired controller.
- Xbox Series X Doesn’t Look Like Any Xbox Before It
Speaking of controllers, the Xbox Series X controller is almost identical to the one for the Xbox One. The major difference is the addition of a Share button–which is positioned in the middle of the controller below the power button. Like on the PS4 DualShock 4, you can press this Share button to easily take screenshots and capture video clips.
There are few other minor differences between the Xbox Series X and Xbox One controllers. The Xbox Series X has a modular hybrid d-pad, making it easier to do diagonal inputs. The controller’s overall size is also slightly smaller, and the back of the controller is curved differently. Other than that though, the Xbox Series X and Xbox One controllers are basically identical–which makes sense given that both sets of controllers can be used with either console. You’ll be able to play on Xbox Series X with your Xbox One controllers or take your Xbox Series X controllers to go back and play on Xbox One.
- Xbox Series X Controller: Share Button And New Design
- Xbox Project Scarlett Aiming To Support All Xbox One Games And Accessories
The Xbox Series X supports backwards compatibility for all three previous generations of Xbox console, and according to Microsoft, they’ll play even better. At the very least, Xbox Series X will be able to play all Xbox One games day one. The company hasn’t clarified the same for original Xbox and Xbox 360 games–but it’s probable that Xbox Series X will be able to play all Xbox and Xbox 360 games that are currently backwards compatible on Xbox One. Whether Microsoft adds more Xbox and Xbox 360 games to that list remains to be seen. It’s worth noting that Xbox Series X will support cross generation multiplayer.
- Xbox Series X Will Play “Thousands” Of Xbox One, Xbox 360, And Original Xbox games, “Even better” Than Xbox One
- Xbox Series X Will Be Backwards Compatible With All Previous Generations
Currently, there are only a few games confirmed for Xbox Series X, which includes Halo Infinite, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, and Cyberpunk 2077. It’s likely Microsoft will confirm more new games on the platform, so be sure to check back often as we update this feature with more Xbox Series X games as they get announced.
Given that Xbox Series X is backwards compatible, the console will support a Smart Delivery feature in order to make sure you’re always downloading the right version of the game you want to play.
Performance And Specs
The Xbox One X is already a powerhouse–currently the most powerful console on the market–but the Xbox Series X is even faster. Spencer says Series X’s GPU is eight times faster than that of the base Xbox One, making it twice as fast as the Xbox One X. The CPU is purportedly much stronger than what’s been seen in consoles before. Spencer says it’s four times more capable than previous consoles, but he hasn’t confirmed which exact consoles.
Xbox Series X supposedly runs real quiet too (at least as silently as the Xbox One X), managing to keep itself cool with one fan and additional heatsinks. We don’t have all the specs for Xbox Series X yet, but we’ve compiled what we know into a feature that compares the console to Sony’s PlayStation 5.
Confirmed Console Exclusives
Currently, Xbox Series X doesn’t definitively have any console exclusives. Halo Infinite–the sixth mainline game in Microsoft’s shooter franchise–will be available for Xbox Series X on day one, but the game will release for Xbox One too.
During The Game Awards, Microsoft announced that a sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, would be coming to Xbox Series X at a future date. Given that Ninja Theory is now an Xbox Game Studio, it would make sense for Hellblade II to release as an Xbox exclusive (even though its predecessor launched as a limited-time PlayStation exclusive), but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed whether the game is only releasing on Xbox Series X (and likely PC). Like Halo Infinite, Hellblade II could release for Xbox One too.
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