Welcome back. We’re all very much aware of the PS5 and the XBOX Series X at this point. We’ve also gotten some minor details from the both of them as well as an official look at the XBOX Series X tower style system. However, it wasn’t until just this morning that XBOX announced features and specs that you are going to get from the XBOX Series X. It was interestingly titled “What you can expect from the next generation of gaming”. They don’t say “What you can expect from our XBOX Series X”, so I find that intriguing. Not that they know what Sony is up to, but rather, they’re aware that if they put these features and specs out there, Sony is bound to at least attempt to follow suit. Let’s get right into it, shall we?
They mention that the whole entire XBOX staff has taken these home for internal testing. They have a “Takehome” program so that they can get further feedback from the people using it daily. That is so there are less snafus and hiccups on day one release. They mention that they’re doing this on their lead up to E3. That’s just so that they can show us a more refined product at that time. I’m incredibly excited to see what will change from now to then. This clearly isn’t everything that they’re going to announce and/or talk about at E3. We’re going to talk about what has been put on the table thus far.
Specs and Features:
- Custom Processor. This was their longest section in the article, so I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. They’ve stated time and again that Xbox Series X is their most powerful console ever”. Now they’re specifying that the custom designed processor is one that uses Zen2 from AMD and some RDNA2 architectures. They’re marketing states that this thing now has up to 4x the processing power of the XBOX One (they do not say the XBOX One X, mind you). This will give game devs access to use up to 12 Teraflops of GPU performance. In that regard, you’ll see up to 2x that of the XBOX One X and up to 8x that of the original XBOX One model. It really does jump forward over the last XBOX One if you’re comparing the two specs. Microsoft boasts that the Series X has higher framerates even in larger and more densely populated worlds.
- VRS. Variable Rate Shading is not necessarily a new term if you’ve been gaming on PC for a while. It may have even been brought up when talking about the next generation of consoles. Now we can confirm that the XBOX Series X will have it, albeit modified for the console. But it’s not modified in a bad way. They state that the normal way of doing it using the GPU cycles to show all of the pixels onscreen. This is clearly a taxing endeavor for the GPU. With their method, the devs can specify what aspects on the screen they want to have the priority of the VRS. That gives the edge to XBOX Series X as it saves on GPU but allows for higher framerate and resolution.
- Ray Tracing. Oh boy, these guys keep bringing this up (and so does Sony if memory serves). But now we can actually know to what end XBOX will have ray tracing on their system. Their version of ray tracing will be powered by DirectX and will be hardware accelerated. If you’re unfamiliar with ray tracing and how it may benefit the next generation of games, I figured I’d give you the Wikipedia explanation of it. “In computer graphics, ray tracing is a rendering technique for generating an image by tracing the path of light as pixels in an image plane and simulating the effects of its encounters with virtual objects.” There, now you know.
- SSD. Well, we all know what a solid-state drive is at this point. People have been even upgrading their hard drives in their XBOX Ones and PS4’s with these for a while now. So it’s definitely nothing new here. However, the XBOX Series X will come with one preinstalled. They know we all know about it already and how fast it is and how it will lend itself to console gaming. Here’s the entire quote straight from the article. “With our next-generation SSD, nearly every aspect of playing games is improved. Game worlds are larger, more dynamic and load in a flash and fast travel is just that – fast.”
- Quick Resume. The XBOX Series X is introducing a new feature that they haven’t really had before called Quick Resume. It allows you to make a save state or a suspended state for multiple games. When you’re ready, just jump back into it at the very frame that you left off on. How fast this feature truly is remains to be seen. It has to be faster than how much time it takes to get back into an XBOX One game.
- DLI. With Dynamic Library Input you now get a higher bandwidth between your controller and console. To cut through all of the technical talk and marketing mumbo jumbo just means in order to keep the latency down both on and offline, they’ve found ways to make the time between your button press and the onscreen action even faster. Heck, it may even be almost exactly spot on. This is another one that I know will get tested to no end by gamers once the console has been released. But I’m sure Microsoft can and will push controller firmware updates over the life of the console to help increase speed and decrease latency.
- HDMI 2.1. This was the second longest section in the whole article. Just know that they’ll be featuring HDMI 2.1 on their system day one. You can also be rest assured that Microsoft is working with TV manufacturers to see about getting more of them on board with HDMI 2.1 support. 2.1 enables auto low latency mode and variable refresh rate. These are even more features that help keep your experience as lag free as possible.
- 120 FPS. “With support for up to 120 fps, Xbox Series X allows developers to exceed standard 60 fps output in favor of heightened realism or fast-paced action.” So the aim here is to not only give you great resolution but also up to 120 fps. Will there ever be a combination of the 2? Somehow I doubt that, I’m sure that you’ll be given the choice of framerate or resolution in every XBOX Series X game worth its salt.
- Backward Compatibility. Originally they made it seem as though every single game from all four generations would work in their disc form. Now…now it seems as though it’s not all of them. With phrases like “backward-compatible Xbox 360 [titles]” and “Your favorite games” make it seem like not every game will be supported, or at least not at launch. If it would be that way, they simply would’ve said it. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with playing your XBOX, XBOX360, XBOX One, and Series X games all on the same system. I’m saying that there’s some smoke and mirrors here. It’s going to be a lot, it’s not going to be all.
- “Smart Delivery”. This is a new feature for developers and gamers alike. The developers can upload a digital version of their game in both XBOX One and XBOX Series X flavors and the system will deliver to you the correct one based on your hardware. If you buy Halo Infinited for XBOX One, it won’t attempt to install the Series X version of the game and you not be able to play it. Or if you buy it on the Series X, it won’t assume you want to play the backwards compatible version from XBOX One, it will give you the better looking and playing version of the game. Yes, this also means you only have to buy the game once for your account (if the developer supports it). So if you have an XBOX One in your bedroom and an XBOX Series X in your gaming room, you can switch between the two and play the same game, but only have paid for it once. Good guy CD Projekt Red has already made an announcement on this matter, stating, “Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades. Owners of #Cyberpunk2077 for Xbox One will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when available.”
- XBOX Game Pass. This was more of the same, it’s not much to report on. They want you to know that you can still expect games like Halo Infinite and other Series X games to show up on XBOX Game Pass day one of their release if you have an active Game Pass subscription.
If you want to read all of the nitty-gritty details from my source, click here.