The Xbox Series X made its official debut at The Game Awards 2019, and while Xbox fans have known the console by its working title—Project Scarlett—they have suspected for months that the revelation of the device’s official name, architecture, and specs was imminent. However, few predicted that the Xbox Series X would make its first appearance at The Game Awards 2019, culminating in its surprising attendance of this year’s ceremony.
With the momentous surprise comes more information regarding Microsoft’s next-generation console, and everything known about it should be a subject of interest for both Xbox loyalists and general video game connoisseurs.
Hardware & Specs
The team working on the Xbox Series X claims the console’s CPU will be four times as powerful as the Xbox One X—released on November 7, 2017. Like its immediate predecessor, the Xbox Series X brags 8K capabilities at 120 frames per second. Moreover, the console will utilize ray tracing, a feature that has surged in popularity with the rise of the RTX series of graphics cards.
Specifically, according to Phil Spencer in an interview with Gamespot, the Xbox Series X’s graphics card will be an AMD Navi-based GPU, sporting approximately 12 teraflops. Adding to the console’s power will be an AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU.
In addition, the Xbox Series X will contain a new generation SSD (NVMe SSD) with an unconfirmed capacity, as the Xbox team zeroes in on reducing load times alongside GDDR 6 SDRAM.
While the Xbox Series X has 8K capability, the console will also focus on the more common 4K functionality at up to 120 frames per second, as well as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).
The console will also utilize a technology known as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) to help minimize latency in players’ games, as well as Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to increase the console’s responsiveness.
Furthermore, Xbox Game Studios (XGS) claims the new system will be both quiet and efficient, allowing gamers to play their titles without the irritation of hearing the console’s fan kick up when trying to keep itself cool.
Moreover, the new Xbox Wireless Controller was unveiled with the Xbox Series X. “Its size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people, and it also features a new Share button [in the center of the controller] to make capturing screenshots and game clips simple and a hybrid d-pad inspired by the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.” The controller will ship with the Xbox Series X and will be compatible with every Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
Along this same trend, all Xbox One accessories—including the new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2—will be compatible with the Xbox Series X, allowing gamers to transfer some of their hardware from the current generation to the next.
One curiosity that has gripped the Xbox community since Project Scarlett’s announcement was what the new Xbox generation will look like. Sating that curiosity at The Game Awards 2019, it was revealed that the Xbox Series X will have a similar aesthetic to a gaming PC. Shaped as a black, rectangular (brick) box, the console can stand vertically or lie flat without compromising performance.
However, an important facet of any gaming device is the ability to dissipate heat. To facilitate this, the Xbox Series X will have vents on the top of the system (if standing upright).
Naturally, the console will support the use of discs for those gamers who prefer to purchase or rent physical copies of their games. To that end, the Xbox Series X has a disc drive on one of its flat surfaces—a thin slit similar in style to that of the Xbox One X—near the tiny, circular sync button to which Xbox fans are accustomed.
Finally, the system’s power button is the same neon circle at the apex of one of the system’s flat surfaces (the same surface as the disc drive), as luminescent and welcoming as the previous symbols glowing true on the Xbox One family.
The original Xbox One (2013) had several critiques thrown at it by fans, though, among the largest and most frequent was the lack of emphasis Microsoft placed on the console’s ability to perform the one task fans desired: Play video games. The console’s marketing was a rollercoaster, dragging fans in several different directions, bragging about the ability to stream movies and TV shows, listen to music, and several other unessential tasks for which fans use their gaming systems.
With the Xbox Series X, Xbox Game Studios has vowed to return to the crux of what players crave: Gaming. Thus, the company has claimed the Xbox Series X will be their fastest, most powerful console (as mentioned above). Honoring that commitment, Xbox Game Studios is ensuring players will be able to access games from the three previous console generations (Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One) in addition to next-gen titles.
With the Xbox Series X, Xbox Game Studios doesn’t want to focus on gamers alone, but also on the developers that bring video games to life. From Phil Spencer, in a post on the official Xbox website: “When [XGS] started work on the Xbox Series X, it was vital [the company] continue to advance state-of-the-art visual capabilities for developers, while also ensuring they could realize even greater feeling, emotion and empathy in their games… [XGS] will also remove the technical barriers faced in previous generations and enable developers to create more expansive, immersive gaming worlds that invite more players to play.”
Xbox Game Studios also promises that fans’ achievements, save data, and other cross-generation entitlements will be compatible with the Xbox Series X, meaning players will be able to download saves from games on an Xbox One to an Xbox Series X.
The Long Road
Xbox Game Studios has made a conscious effort to increase fan loyalty through the enhancement of both their hardware and the way users play their games. The utilization of subscription-based services, such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, is one of the methods the company is using to keep bringing consumers back as well as attempt to aid gamers in the never-ending war to save money in an expensive hobby (or profession in some cases).
While the Xbox Series X’s hardware and specs, architecture, and overall features are impressive, the long road suggests the real test of loyalty will be the utility of the aforementioned subscription-based services in conjunction with the next-generation’s purported return to a gaming focus.
The Xbox Series X is due to release in Holiday 2020, with Halo Infinite presumably being one of the system’s launch titles. With more than enough power to allegedly supersede that of the previous most powerful console in the world (the Xbox One X), Xbox Game Studios must follow through on its promises that the Xbox Series X will further enhance the immersion players feel when interacting with their games.
In addition, while it does seem Xbox Game Studios is looking to remedy their inability to compete with other gaming devices in the first-party market, the company needs to churn out quality content with their upcoming wealth of first-party titles, if they wish to regain the confidence of an often-harsh community and make the Xbox Series X the console to beat.