Microsoft’s next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, is set to launch opposite its fierce rival, the PS5, in November of this year. We’re expecting a console with some boundary-pushing specs and have already seen how the upright cuboid will look come release day. However, details on huge Xbox games like Halo Infinite, and more, remain up in the air.
While Xbox Series X is set to be the cream of the crop, we are also expecting a more affordable Xbox Series S that’s a bit less of a spec-spectacular. Nevertheless, it’ll still play all of that Microsoft-flavoured gaming goodness we’ve been introduced to in next-gen gaming showcases thus far. We’ve seen the likes of Fable, Forza Motorsport, State of Decay 3, Stalker 2 and more.
The standout game of Xbox’s next-gen game lineup thus far is its famed flagship, but it may not be standing out for the right reasons. Halo Infinite is set to launch for Microsoft’s next-generation console, however, it seems some troubled development has led to upheaval regarding its releasing strategy – leading to uncertainty and, now, a delay.
As with all console releases, there’s a lot of rumours and speculation flying around. So, we here at Trusted Reviews 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.
Xbox Series X – Key facts
- Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next console following the Xbox One, One S and One X
- Launch planned for Winter 2020 alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5
- 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 release date – When is it coming out?
The release date for Xbox Series X could land in November, according to a Microsoft CFO answering a question asked by Bloomberg. For months, the release window of Xbox Series X has been vaguely described as “Holiday 2020” with no exact month or date being brought up by Microsoft.
Now, it seems the dust is finally starting to clear. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood addressed this in a recent investors call, describing the release window for Xbox Series X as “still on track” for a “November holidays” launch. That’s still somewhat vague, but nails things down to a month.
This comment is given further weight by a recently leaked release date for Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, which has been confirmed as a launch title for the upcoming console. According to a recent Microsoft Store listing, it’s set to launch on Friday, November 13, 2020. That sure sounds like a good day to launch some hardware, too.
What are the Xbox Series X games?
Microsoft has now confirmed a long list of titles that will also arrive on the next-gen console including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Forza Motorsport and Fable.
For a full list of the confirmed Xbox Series X games, look below:
- As Dusk Falls
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Bright Memory Infinite
- Call of the Sea
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Dirt 5
- Forza Motorport
- Halo Infinite
- Hellblade 2
- Psychonauts 2
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- Stalker 2
- State of Decay 3
- Tell Me Why
- Tetris Effect Connected
- The Ascent
- The Gunk
- The Medium
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Warhammer 40K: Dark Tide
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
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.
What are the Xbox Series X specs and features?
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 8K gaming and frame-rates of up to 120fps.
Related: Xbox Backwards Compatibility
Despite the amazing spec reveals, we imagine 60fps will likely remain the real benchmark for performance which will result in a silky smooth gameplay experience. The majority of consumers won’t even have a display for taking advantage of 8K at release, or even several years afterwards. 4K, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly common in gamers’ homes and will only become more so once Xbox Series X arrives.
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?
Microsoft is throwing established conventions out of the window with Xbox Series X, introducing a console which has more in common with a gaming PC than a traditional console. It’s a towering behemoth of a machine, with only a handful of buttons located on its front in the form of eject, power and sync buttons. It’s different, and we honestly dig it.
Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X — Which upcoming console will rule the next generation?
While it hasn’t been shown off officially, a recent leak provides us with a glimpse at the console’s backside. If it proves accurate, Xbox One X will have the following ports:
- 2 USB ports
- 1 Ethernet port
- 1 power port
- 1 HDMI port
The lack of another HDMI port for feeding in devices such as television boxes is worth nothing, showing that Microsoft is completely leaving behind the multimedia vision first introduced with the Xbox One. It’s a fairly basic affair, although you will likely still have an option to increase your storage with external drives and other such devices.
Related: PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X
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 synchronizes 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.
Other new features remain unclear, but we’ve love to see improved, more immersive vibration functions and the addition of haptic feedback triggers. Sony has confirmed the PS5 controller will implement such a feature, allowing players to be drawn into their games like never before. We’d love for Microsoft to bite back with a similar idea.
Related: Cyberpunk 2077 preview
Xbox Series X Price and pre-order – How much will it cost?
Having launched at £429/$499, the Xbox One was a very expensive piece of equipment back in 2013, so much so that many opted for PS4 purely because of its fair more appealing price point. If Microsoft wants to get ahead on release, it would be wise to lower this price in its aim to be more competitive with Sony’s console.
Taking into account the planned power the Xbox Series X will boast, it will likely be sold at a loss, it all depends on how big a bullet Microsoft wants to take when it comes to offering consumers a worthwhile price. Who knows, Sony might express a PS3-era level of hubris and charge us £500. Recent rumours suggest that Sony is struggling to keep the PS5’s price down, so could this be a golden opportunity for Microsoft to showcase a cheaper offering for the first time in years? Keep your fingers crossed for now.
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 a few 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.