Microsoft announced the Xbox Series X on Thursday, and there are more reasons to be excited than you can count. This is an extremely early announcement, and there are a lot of specifics missing, but from what we know, this is going to be the console to play on.
For a company which started the console journey with the largest and the weakest console on the market, this is a huge step in the right direction. The fact that Microsoft is pushing for the Xbox platform across all its services/devices resonates a clear message: you don’t even need an Xbox to play Xbox games.
So why would anyone buy them? As we can see, Microsoft is still invested in creating original hardware for Xbox. Well because just like anything built dedicated for a purpose, it provides the best performance at the one thing it does.
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The Series X
With the Xbox One X, Microsoft pushed to make the smallest console possible and ended up with the most powerful one on the market as well. The One X was a relatively weak-looking console. Series X? Everything about it screams power, performance, 4k and 60fps.
The console itself looks like a black slab with a couple of buttons on the side and a rather cool looking top grill mesh. When you look at it first, you won’t be able to tell the difference between this and a high-end gaming PC, and that’s because it is a high-end gaming PC.
It might not fit where you last Xbox was, but going ahead with this design, the Xbox has more thermal headroom than ever. The larger size also means that there’s more room for more power, but as we all know, size doesn’t exactly mean power.
Microsoft claims that the Series X GPU is about twice as powerful as the One X. This means that the Series X should be having something close to 12 Teraflops in terms of graphical performance. The CPU is the most significant upgrade here, being four times more powerful than the One X.
Microsoft is targeting 4k resolutions at 60 or ‘possibly’ 120 fps with Zen 2 and RDNA architecture from AMD, GDDR6 memory and NVMe SSDs that will ‘virtually eliminate load times’.
They also say that the Series X will have support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and 8k capabilities. There’s also a ‘patented’ Variable Rate Shading technology that will enable developers to extract more out of the already pretty powerful GPU that this series is rocking.
There’s also talk of minimising latency using technologies like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers more functionality such as Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to make Series X the ‘most responsive console ever’.
“With Xbox Series X, we will elevate the way games look, play and feel. We 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,” Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, wrote in a blog post detailing the Series X console.
Is this the ultimate console?
Well, looking at the capabilities, you can see that a lot is going on here. The type of performance that Microsoft has reported means that unless you have the best gaming PC money can buy, the Series X will provide a better experience with most games on launch.
The capabilities are well on par with most modern gaming PCs, and hence, it makes a lot more sense to invest in Xbox now. The Xbox UI is not exactly intuitive but beats using Windows with a keyboard and mouse.
There’s also a new controller. On first look, it seems to be just the standard Xbox One X controller albeit with the Elite controller Dpad and a new ‘share’ button that allows players to take screenshots/record videos and share them on the fly. It’ll also be compatible with the One X and Windows 10.
Apart from all the innovations, the Series X features backwards compatibility as well. Pretty much any Xbox game that you own, across all four generations, will run on it just fine. There’s also talk about a future in the cloud. Expect some sort of game streaming service as well.
Microsoft has got a headstart on the competition by announcing their new console this early. However, keeping in mind the speculations about the PS5, which is being built around the same principles, it is too early to say anything.
Eventually, it will trickle down to the price tag Microsoft decides to put on the Series X and how Sony does with its PlayStation 5.