Xbox Series X: everything you need to know!

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Philippe Gloaguen
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A little surprisingly, on the stage of The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft has removed the veil from its new generation of consoles which takes the name of Xbox Series X, which will officially debut on the market at the end of next year. To put things in order and try to better understand what it is, we have put together everything we know about the new Xbox in this guide.

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The announcement

As mentioned, at the opening of the event, a video dedicated to the new hardware of the Redmond house was shown and, immediately after, he took the stage and spoke no less than Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox division. In no uncertain terms, Spencer called the new Xbox Series X "the fastest and most powerful console ever created". At the center of the experience, there are games and players and from the stage it has been repeated several times that the fifteen proprietary studios of Microsoft are already working to create "immersive gaming experiences like never before".


Here is "the fastest and most powerful console ever created so far"

In support of this presentation, the announcement trailer - run with the game engine - of the new chapter of a successful series called Senua's Saga: Hellblade II. It is a title currently still in the early stages of development for which it is difficult to imagine a launch window while, as regards the new console, we have once again spoken of winter 2020 as the period chosen for the arrival on the market.

The design and the new pad

The television timing of the event did not leave room for great insights or chat but luckily, to come to our aid there is an interview published exclusively by the colleagues of Gamespot, in which some more details emerged on the console and on the strategy. from Microsoft. In particular, the American magazine has collected the statements of both the aforementioned Phil Spencer and Jason Ronald, Partner Director of Program Management of the Xbox Team.



Design at the service of practicality

Starting from the design, the two reaffirmed the company's desire to create a console devoted to utility and practicality: the impactful black monolith designed by the team is also designed to be as quiet as possible, without compromising. Once the console is turned on - which can be positioned both vertically and horizontally - a green light appears to softly illuminate the upper part, thus making the object even more intriguing and elegant.

Speaking instead of the controller, Spencer admitted that, although present, the steps forward in this field are less relevant since both the design and the usability of the current pad already represent an excellent standard of quality. The new controller therefore borrows the D-Pad from the Xbox Elite Controller and is generally barely lighter and therefore easy to handle. As already done by the competitors, it was decided to introduce a Share button in the center to share our images and game actions on the net.

The controller will also be compatible with all Xbox One models and with Windows 10 and, apparently, it will allow you to enjoy a better gaming experience thanks to more accurate haptic feedback and reduced input latency.

The technical characteristics

Between the presentation on stage and the press releases published on the net, the information we have about the new Microsoft console is already different. In particular, the keywords are:

  • Resolution from 4K (30, 60 and 120FPS) up to 8K
  • Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
  • Variable Rate Shading (VRS)
  • Ray Tracing
  • Latest generation NVMe SSD
  • RAM GDDR6

From a purely technical point of view, the console is the starting point of resolution 4K to 60FPS, with the ability to handle games up to 120FPS. For the record, the official website also refers to support for the Variable refresh rate (VRR) and 8K resolution. Of course, the definition will depend on the developers but in any case it seems there are all the conditions for a good generational leap in qualitative terms of the gaming experience.



A very interesting competitive advantage that Xbox Series X could have over PS5, is due to the Variable Rate Shading (VRS) or a proprietary technology from Microsoft designed to improve the visual quality of the image and at the same time optimize its fluidity. It is a technology capable of dynamically and variably adapting the quality and definition of images based on the action that takes place on the screen. Assuming that the player's eye obviously cannot consider and focus equally on every point of the screen, this technology works to produce more accurate shading for the central elements of the action, instead going to slightly 'overlook' all of this. that remains out of focus of the moment. The promise, thanks to this graphic processing optimization process, is of impact with sharper images and an improvement in frame rate of up to 15%.

From 4K to 8K, passing through Ray Tracing!

But not only that: Xbox Series X will also be able to count on the recent as much as talked about Ray Tracing and, on the memory side, on the new generation SSD capable of zero (or almost) the loading times in games. Similarly, as already mentioned for the pad, Microsoft is working on new software optimization technologies designed to minimize any type of latency and thus make the gaming experience responsive like never before. Surely good news that we are sure will also make happy all those who have never owned an Xbox series console who, as had already been anticipated a few months ago, will be able to recover and play titles for Xbox, Xbox 360 and One without problems. thanks to total backward compatibility.

Among the other promises of this Xbox Series X there is, as explained to Gamespot, the unprecedented possibility of managing multiple games in memory at the same time so as to make them available in an instant. Thanks to the aforementioned Next generation SSD and RAM GDDR6, the console can allow the user to resume a game exactly where he left it, for more than one title at the same time, thus easing the transition from one software to another and making the overall experience much more fluid and enjoyable. .



The future of Xbox

Speaking of the future of the platform, Phil Spencer hasn't unbuttoned that much but has somehow confirmed how the term Series X can offer Microsoft "the freedom to create other things under this name". Several rumors are already circulating on the net that would concern new enhanced versions or alternative models of the console that differ in calculation capacity or in the presence of the Blu-Ray player. In any case, even if in the absence of official feedback, it is rather difficult to think of a new iteration of the now well-known business model linked to a life cycle of over five years for a single console.

A new console, xCloud and Game Pass!

In the future of Xbox, however, there is also xCloud, the streaming service that intends to challenge Google Stadia and which will soon arrive on the market, even if Spencer admits: “it will not replace the console or PC gaming. We rather believe that it is important for players to have the opportunity to bring their gaming experience with them, so that when I log in to the service, all my friends, games, achievements and my library are there with me. " .

Finally, with regard to the near future, in particular to a good moment of aggregation such as E3 2020, Spencer confirmed Microsoft's strong intention to put on a great show: "It will obviously be an important year, as we move towards the launch of the new consoles but for our part all eyes will be on which games people play. they will be able to play, when they can be played and what will be the price to pay to be able to do so ".

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