Both Microsoft and PlayStation have finally released the full details of the their respective next-gen consoles, with the Xbox Series X expected to be the most powerful console of the lot.
Microsoft has confirmed the Xbox Series X will cost £449/$499 (the same price as the PS5) and will launch on 10 November, with preorders opening on 22 September.
Not bothered about 4K gaming? Then you’ll be pleased to hear that Microsoft will also be launching the Xbox Series S, which will be limited to a 144op performance and cost a very affordable £249/$299.
We have compiled an easy-to-read guide of all you need to know about the Xbox Series X – from games and specs to release date and hardware design. Keep reading on for all the latest information.
Xbox Series X – Key facts
- Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next console following the Xbox One, One S and One X
- The next-gen Xbox will launch on 10 November
- The Series X will cost £449, while the Series S will cost £249
- Announced games include Halo Infinite and Hellblade: Senua’s Saga (see here for games)
- Will be backwards compatible will all existing Xbox games and peripherals
- Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass will be supported on release
- The full specs list for the Xbox Series X has been released
Xbox Series X news – Loading times will be a game changer for next-gen
Hands-on impressions for the Xbox Series X have begun emerging across the internet, providing a small yet valuable look at some of the next-gen console’s features. Gamespot‘s Michael Higham spent this past weekend playing with a variety of backwards compatible games on the console such as The Outer Worlds, Final Fantasy XV and NieR: Automata.
Microsoft has limited exactly what outlets are allowed to talk about right now, with the recent previews being restricted to select titles, quick resume and the quality-of-life changes we can expect from the Xbox Series X. Some of the changes are fairly substantial, with the ability to switch between six games at any time proving relatively seamless, largely thanks to vastly increased loading times (via The Verge).
|Game||Xbox Series X Loading Time||Xbox One X Loading Time|
|Control||10 seconds||58 seconds|
|The Outer Worlds||11 seconds||53 seconds|
|Final Fantasy 15||13 seconds||1 minute and 11 seconds|
|Call of Duty Warzone||16 seconds||21 seconds|
|Destiny 2||43 seconds||1 minute and 52 seconds|
IGN also notes that the available memory of Xbox Series X will peak at 802 GB, with the rest of its internal SSD being dedicated to the operating system and other essential system files. So if you’re hoping to hold a bunch of games, you might need to shell out some extra pennies for external storage solutions – which aren’t cheap.
Xbox Series X release date and pre-order – When is it coming out?
The Xbox Series X is confirmed to launch on the 10 November, alongside the more affordable Series S console. Both are now available to pre-order, and you can find out more details here.
The PS5 is confirmed to launch a week later on 19 November in the UK, with pre-orders already live. However, with limited stock it’s proving difficult to secure the console.
Xbox Series X Price – How much will it cost?
The Xbox Series X is confirmed to cost £449 / $499. That’s the exact same price as the PS5, although Sony is also selling a Digital-Only model that lacks a disk drive and costs a more affrodable £359.
The less powerful Xbox Series S will be able for a much cheaper £249 / $299 price point, but will lack native 4K support.
Xbox Series X games – What are the launch games?
Microsoft has now confirmed a long list of titles that will also arrive on the next-gen console including new Halo and Fable entries. But which games will be avaialbe on day one?
For a full list of the confirmed Xbox Series X launch games, look below:
- Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- Dirt 5
- Gears Tactics
- Tetris Effect: Connected
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
There are many other AAA games expected to arrive beofre the end of the year, including CyberPunk, but Halo Infinite has sadly been delayed to 2021.
Microsoft has also confirmed that Xbox Series X won’t have any traditional exclusives for a couple of years at the earliest, hoping to maintain parity across its family of consoles, so nobody is left behind as we transition into a new generation of consoles.
This might underwhelm those looking to shell out on a shiny new machine with games you can’t play anywhere else, but knowing those who can’t afford such a thing won’t lose out is excellent to see.
Microsoft has also confirmed that many games will support the Smart Delivery feature, which means anyone who buys a game on the Xbox One / Xbox One X will get a free copy of the Xbox Series X version in the future.
Xbox Series X specs – Is it the Xbox more powerful than PS5?
The Xbox Series X is shaping up to be a significant upgrade over its predecessor, even trumping the Xbox One X when it comes to sheer capabilities and processing power. Sony has also revealed the specs for PlayStation 5. It lags behind Microsoft in some areas, yet steams ahead in others to show that neither company is afraid of pulling punches this generation.
You can find the full list of specs for yourself below:
- CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
- GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
- Die Size 360.45 mm2
- Process 7nm Enhanced
- Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
- Memory Bandwidth: 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
- Internal Storage: 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
- I/O throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
- Expandable Storage: 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
- External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
- Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
Given that the Xbox One X is already capable of running some major blockbusters at a full 4K resolution, it was no surprise when Phil Spencer revealed that the Xbox Series X would support 4K gaming and frame-rates of up to 120fps.
Related: Xbox Backwards Compatibility
Xbox Series X will also support hardware-accelerated DirectX ray tracing, a feature which will be one of the main focal points of the coming generation. This feature sees in-game light look and behave significantly more realistically, and adds a beautiful polish to the visuals. The inclusion of support for variable refresh rate meanwhile means the new hardware can eradicate screen stutters and the like for a far smoother look overall.
One of the most exciting additions of the Xbox Series X is the implementation of SSD technology. Replacing the standard hard drive, this new use of memory storage will allow for games to load faster than ever before, while also speeding up general processes around the user interface. Xbox One is notorious for being cumbersome to navigate, so here’s hoping Microsoft has learned a thing or two in this department.
Microsoft has also partnered with luxury audio brand Bang & Olufson to bring high end audio to the gaming sphere. B&O has yet to reveal what exactly it is the company is bringing to the table, but we don’t expect it to be cheap. Xbox Head of Hardware Partnerships Matt Kesselring has described the product as “a new premium tier of gaming audio […] that travels with you everywhere you love to play Xbox”. Whether that means a small wireless speaker or a premium gaming headset, we’ll have to wait to find out.
Xbox Series X Design – How does the new console look?
Now that the console has been officially revealed, it is much easier to determine the exact parts of its design. Recently, The Verge posted images of the Xbox Series X being compared to the Xbox Series X and Xbox One X. It is one chunky fella, towering over both all of its siblings in terms of both height and width.
In addition to these new images and size comparisons, we also have a concrete idea of all of the ports the Xbox Series X will have in both the front and back. We’ve listed all of them below:
- 2 USB
- 1 HDMI
- 1 Ethernet
- 1 Storage Expansion port
On the front you’ll find another USB port, the power, eject and sync buttons. It’s a simple and elegant design, even if the sheer size of the system will take some getting used to. However, Microsoft has said it will be whisper quiet when running games, which has become a trend with the majority of its consoles in recent years.
Xbox Series X controller – Has anything changed?
Microsoft has confirmed that the console, and all future hardware, will be “forwards compatible” which means all existing games, controllers and other peripherals will be fully compatible with the new console. However, that doesn’t mean a new controller won’t be introduced, although it remains largely unchanged from the previous iteration.
Phil Spencer recently told gamers: “We’re optimizing latency in the player-to-console pipeline starting with our Xbox Wireless Controller, which leverages our high bandwidth, proprietary wireless communication protocol when connected to the console. With Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), a new feature which synchronises input immediately with what is displayed, controls are even more precise and responsive.”
The company has said the new controller will be very familiar but comes with a few worthwhile quality of life changes. For starters, it will have a dedicated share button much like the PS4 controller. That means the act of sharing screenshots and video clips will no longer be a nuisance of switching between multiple menus before returning to your game.
Related: Cyberpunk 2077 preview
Xbox Series X backwards compatibility – Can I play my existing games library
Yes! Microsoft has been leading the charge with backwards compatibility in recent years, bringing a number of Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles to modern platforms with a range of visual and performance improvements. It’s been a delight to revisit classics through digital downloads or simply inserting your disc into a modern console.
While the company has stopped adding games to this library for the time being, it’s bound to kick back into gear once Xbox Series X rolls around. Microsoft has confirmed as such, and from launch you should have access to your entire physical and digital libraries simply by logging into your Xbox Live account. A Smart Delivery system has also been revealed, which means if you purchase something for Xbox One, you’ll automatically be upgraded to the Series X release. Cyberpunk 2077 will the first of many to adopt this feature. If that wasn’t cool enough, Microsoft’s also confirmed any save you have on the older console will also be carried over when you upgrade.
The Xbox Series X won’t be Microsoft’s final console either, as Spencer revealed in an interview with Wired. The more consoles Microsoft releases, the more central backwards comparability will become as gamers seek to upgrade their consoles without losing out on any of their existing library.
Should you wait for the Xbox Series X?
With just two months left to go, the answer to this question will be an emphatic ‘yes!’ to hardcore Xbox fans. However, with the Series X’s killer app – Halo: Infinite – being delayed until 2021, Microsoft’s current band of consoles might be a better buy for anyone hoping to dive into some casual gaming.
After all, with the Xbox One being at the end of its lifecycle, the console has a huge library of games just waiting to be played, not to mention that the Xbox One X can now be picked up for a fraction of its original price.
If you also nab a Game Pass subscription, then you’ll have access to several of the Xbox One’s top tier titles from the get-go. For anyone who hasn’t made the jump to Xbox, current-gen exclusives like Gears 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Forza Horizon 4 are well worth a look.
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