The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s beastly next-gen console, boasting 12TF of graphical computational power and a range of features designed to power the next generation of fidelity in games. The Xbox Series X looks like it’ll snatch the power crown from all but the most powerful PCs when it comes to next-gen visuals, but pixel counts are only part of the story.
Here’s every way the Xbox Series X will give you a leg up over the Xbox One consoles and PlayStation 4 if it hits its planned launch window later this year.
1. SSD tech
Among the biggest boons of the next-gen systems is the SSD tech being baked into the pipeline. The PlayStation 5’s SSD is speedier, but the Xbox Series X’s is no slouch either, boosting loading speeds across the board by a ridiculous amount. All of those moments in games where you have to wait for a loading screen, loading new areas or “fast traveling,” or your character is arbitrarily slowed down by an in-game obstacle to allow assets to stream in — all of those things will be eliminated next-gen, or at least drastically reduced.
Another benefit of the SSD is that it will retain software states directly in storage, allowing you to fast resume multiple games without actually closing them, even if you turn off the console entirely.
Xbox Velocity Architecture and some other fancy APIs will also allow developers to decrease hardware workloads by offloading operations to the SSD, something that has been up until now impossible to do with slow mechanical HDDs. Expect more dynamic, more detailed worlds, complete with rapid loading times. It could be a while before we see this technology fully utilized outside of loading speeds, but once we get there, it will be glorious.
2. More powerful processing
In combination with the SSD, and more powerful GPU, the Zen2 CPU architecture will help create bigger, more dynamic worlds, with more complex A.I. operations, more A.I. combatants on-screen potentially, as well as a whole host of other improvements. The CPU also benefits physics handling, and in some cases visual effects depending on the engines and middleware used.
3. Latency-reduction for more responsive play
4. Ray-tracing focus
Right now, lighting, shadows, and reflections typically use all sorts of tricks to create the illusion of these things, with varying results. Ray-tracing, however, creates these visual effects more dynamically, which not only look more vivid, but they also look more immersive and dynamic, reacting to a scene more realistically. This is what will immediately make games look better on the Xbox Series X over the Xbox One or PS4 generation consoles.
5. 4K 60FPS baseline, up to 120FPS
Beyond resolution, we also have the promise of 60 frames per second as standard as well. Many games, particularly single-player titles, opt for 30 frames per second with detailed environments, sacrificing smoothness for cinematic quality. That won’t be necessary next-gen. Microsoft has also said some games could reach as high as 120 frames per second, with Gears 5’s multiplayer tweaked up to 100 frames per second in quick testing, with the goal of hitting 120 frames per second with more optimization. Of course, you’ll need a 120Hz display panel to match the output, but the potential for multiplayer competitive gaming is compelling.
A range of other small improvements
Microsoft is gunning for a holiday 2020 launch for the Xbox Series X, and we can’t wait.