25 things you need to know about Xbox Series X

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Xbox Series X Controller

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft continues to ready Xbox Series X, its next-generation gaming console, on track for release later this year. It marks the latest milestone for the Xbox lineup, pushing unparalleled hardware specifications and performance, leading its ambitions for the upcoming decade. And although Microsoft still stows Xbox Series X information for its full unveiling, we’ve already learned a ton about the console’s offering.

We’ve rounded up 25 must-know Xbox Series X facts, from flagship features, down to the details.

Xbox Series X Game Awards

Source: Microsoft

1. Microsoft leaps to 8K resolution with Xbox Series X, providing gameplay sharper than ever, but still compatible with 4K and 1080p TVs

Topping the various upgrades promised by Xbox Series X, next-generation consoles will target as high as 8K resolution, outputting up to 33 million pixels per frame. That might seem overkill, with 8K displays scarce and mighty expensive, but provides futureproofing the best part of a decade on shelves.

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2. Xbox Series X includes a 12 teraflop GPU, double the graphics performance of Xbox One X, and rivaling top PC cards like the GeForce RTX 2080 Super

That 12TF measurement documents its floating-point performance, essentially providing a glimpse into planned graphical power. That clocks in at double the 6TF GPU used by Xbox One X and even comfortably surpassing high-end PC cards like the GeForce RTX 2080 Super and Radeon RX Vega 56.

Xbox Series X Reveal

Source: Microsoft

3. Xbox Series X includes next-generation solid-state drive (SSD) technology, vastly improving storage speeds, which Microsoft claims can “virtually eliminate” loading screens

Xbox Series X adopts an ultra-fast NVMe SSD setup for Xbox Series X storage, abandoning the spinning hunk of metal found in the current Xbox One consoles. And by fast, we mean never-wait-for-your-console-ever-again, fast. Microsoft claims a “more than 40 times performance increase” over Xbox One, slicing through any loading screens.

4. The CPU used by Xbox Series X promises “four times” the power of Xbox One X, custom-designed alongside AMD

Based on AMD’s latest Zen 2 architecture, Xbox Series X features a custom CPU touting improved performance and efficiency. Microsoft promises four times the processing capability of Xbox One X, likely packing eight cores at 3.6 GHz.

Xbox Series X Controller

Source: Microsoft

5. The Xbox Series X includes a refreshed Xbox controller, featuring a dedicated share button, improved d-pad, and textured triggers

The Xbox gamepad undergoes some welcome changes with Xbox Series X, including a centralized share button for clips and screenshots, coupled with learnings from the Xbox Elite Controller range. Microsoft’s latest design also comes in “ever-so-slightly smaller” than the existing Xbox One model, too, improving ergonomics for all.

6. Xbox Series X provides games with an opportunity to support 120Hz output up to 4K resolution, enabling smoother, more responsive gameplay with capable displays

The Xbox Series X marks Microsoft’s first console to support 4K resolution at 120Hz, equalling a higher number of screen refreshes per second, for more fluid and responsive gameplay. While games must choose to leverage the feature, and used in conjunction with an HDMI 2.1 compatible setup, breaking away from 60 frames per second (FPS) hugely impacts action-packed experiences.

Xbox One February 2020 Home Menu

Source: Windows Central

7. Xbox Series X expands the console’s multitasking capabilities, now able to pause and resume multiple games simultaneously

Xbox Series X makes hot-swapping games easy, attributed its new GDDR6 RAM and SSD duo. Expanding upon the “Instant On” features of Xbox One, the next console can accompany multiple game sessions simultaneously and even retains them through a full system restart.

8. Both horizontal and vertical positioning is supported by Xbox Series X, overcoming a former limitation of Xbox One at launch

Microsoft’s monolithic Xbox Series X design may require a reshuffle of your entertainment setup, but it provides the choice of vertical and horizontal orientation. It skirts a shortcoming that impacted the original Xbox One, with a sturdy rubberized base that won’t necessitate a clip-on vertical stand.

Xbox Series X Vent

Source: Microsoft

9. The Xbox Series X is cooled using a single fan, described as “no louder than Xbox One X,” seemingly inspired by the Mac Pro 2013

Microsoft balances its flagship hardware with a design focused on keeping quiet. Speaking with GameSpot, it details a single, large fan with high air output, described as on-par with Xbox One X acoustics. It’s familiar to the Mac Pro 2013 and its infamous cylindrical “trashcan” form factor, ideally sans thermal throttling concerns.

10. Microsoft goes big with Xbox Series X, sizing up around double the volume of Xbox One X

While Microsoft remains tight on formal Xbox Series X dimensions, we extrapolated an estimated physical footprint from the reveal, using its pictured USB port as a point of reference. It indicates the monolithic design clocks in at 31cm tall, with 16cm width and depth, resulting in 7936 cubic centimeters in volume. That’s one beastly box, almost double the 4320 cubic centimeters of Xbox One X.

Xbox Series X

Source: @Doug_DragoX on Twitter

11. Photos of an Xbox Series X prototype leaked online in January, providing our first look at physical hardware, and confirming planned rear ports

Our first look at the Xbox Series X design came with The Game Awards 2019, and it wasn’t long until images of the real deal surfaced online as well. An alleged leaked prototype outlined planned ports, including dual USB-A, HDMI 2.1, SPDIF optical audio, Ethernet, power, and a potential CFExpress SSD card expansion port.

12. Physical game discs aren’t going anywhere — Xbox Series X features a disc drive for games and movies with 4K Blu-ray support

Yes, the industry increasingly favors digital distribution, bringing added convenience amid the rise of subscriptions and streaming. But the Xbox Series X retains the disc drive, ideal for those who prefer physical games or enjoy the benefits of 4K Blu-ray playback.

Xbox One E3 Original Xbox

Source: Windows Central

13. Xbox Series X commits to full backward compatibility, including support for all Xbox One games, alongside select Xbox 360 and original Xbox releases

Don’t worry about your favorite games. Microsoft has pledged full backward compatibility with all Xbox One titles, covering your physical and digital purchases. The same applies to Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, although only those on the official backward compatibility list.

14. All existing Xbox One controllers, headsets, and storage devices will work on Xbox Series X — but the future of Kinect is uncertain

The Xbox Series X couples with a sleek new controller, but the colorful list of Xbox One controllers extends to Microsoft’s next console, alongside other accessories. Microsoft states all Xbox One peripherals will function, even if the state of the now-discontinued Kinect and its adapter remains uncertain.

Windows Mixed Reality Halo

Source: Windows Central

15. Xbox Series X won’t support virtual reality (VR) headsets at launch, with Xbox head Phil Spencer stating “nobody’s asking for VR” — however, Microsoft remains open to VR in the future

Microsoft has no plans to include VR support with Xbox Series X, with executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, stating he doesn’t envision a return scaling its VR presence. While remaining open to the prospect in the future, it doesn’t appear we’re getting an Xbox VR headset, at least in the near-term.

16. Xbox Series X aims to tackle latency, bundling features to reduce the delay between you and your games

The impressive horsepower of Xbox Series X will be accompanied by various features attempting to cut down latency. That includes dynamic latency input (DLI) synchronizing a game’s rendering path with controller inputs, cutting milliseconds through the hardware. Xbox Series X also features auto low latency mode (ALLM) designed to better harmonize your TV and console, ensuring the best balance of visuals and speed.

Cyberpunk 2077

Source: CD Projekt RED

17. Over one dozen upcoming games have already committed to Xbox Series X upgrades, including those from Microsoft, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, CD Projekt RED, and Bethesda

With Xbox Series X on track for late 2020 availability, the final lineup remains far from complete. However, we already know a handful of confirmed titles, including Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Rainbow Six Siege, and Cyberpunk 2077. Check out our ongoing list of confirmed Xbox Series X titles for the latest.

18. You can get free Xbox Series X upgrades for some games via “Smart Delivery,” already confirmed for Halo Infinite and Cyberpunk 2077

Smart Delivery is Microsoft’s solution easing the transition into next-generation hardware, enabling free graphical upgrades, without the need to buy a second upgraded copy of the game. It’s only optional for developers but provides peace of mind when purchasing the new console.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

Source: Microsoft

19. Microsoft doesn’t plan for Xbox Series X first-party exclusives “over the next year, two years,” pledging Xbox One compatibility for upcoming in-house titles

Even when Xbox Series X hits the market, your Xbox One isn’t worthless straight away. Microsoft plans to release upcoming exclusives like Halo Infinite as cross-generation titles, available on Xbox One, but experienced best on Xbox Series X. “All of our games … will play up and down that family of devices,” Xbox Game Studios head, Matt Booty told MCV.

20. Xbox “Game Core OS” might be the secret sauce behind Xbox Series X’s most impressive features

We’re hearing various Xbox Series X features will be enabled by Game Core OS, the new developer environment readied for the next generation. Based on the upcoming Windows Core OS efforts, the platform would streamline development on the latest consoles, enabling access to APIs for flagship offerings.

Xbox Series X Reveal

Source: Microsoft

21. Xbox All Access grants you an upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch, from Xbox One X or Xbox One S

Xbox All Access packages the full Xbox experience into a monthly subscription, providing an Xbox One S or Xbox One X console, accompanied by Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s all-inclusive membership. Microsoft’s latest iteration of the service includes an upgrade to Xbox Series X, provided you’ve clocked 18 months with the service.

22. Microsoft could revive memory cards, dabbling in CFExpress support to deliver high-speed external storage

The leaked Xbox Series X prototype also provided our first look at a mysterious rectangular port, at the time assumed for high-speed debugging. We now understand Microsoft is experimenting with CFExpress compatibility, providing a new way to upgrade the base storage offering. CFExpress is an SSD storage solution, typically used with higher-end cameras, with up to 4GB/s read speeds to complement the internal SSD.

Halo Infinite

Source: Microsoft

23. Halo Infinite launches alongside Xbox Series X, backing the console with the best-selling sci-fi shooter

Microsoft first teased the Xbox Series X alongside Halo Infinite, coupling the shooter that defined the console’s success with the start of its next-generation. While details on the latest mainline entry remain scarce, it’s built on an all-new custom “Slipspace Engine,” designed to draw the best of the latest hardware.

24. Xbox Series X won’t be the “last” Microsoft console, despite a push for Project xCloud streaming

As Microsoft scales its Project xCloud game-streaming technology, Xbox head Phil Spencer still sees console hardware as intrinsic to the Xbox experience. “I think that getting to a world where you don’t have to own one device to play specific games helps the industry,” said Spencer, speaking on the AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook podcast. “[…] I think I’m going to have a game console plugged into my television for the next decade-plus.”

25. Xbox Series X is on track for “holiday 2020,” with November looking increasingly likely

The next-generation Xbox is closer than you might think, with Microsoft promising a scheduled holiday 2020 release. Although a firm release date isn’t locked down, the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One all launched in November, making the month a likely candidate for Series X.

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