The Xbox Series X, Microsoft's powerful next-gen console, has been available for a few days now - and "Team Xbox" is celebrating the elegant black block. Not only because the console hardware accelerates old and new games enormously, but because Microsoft is bringing a process to a climax that started years ago: The Redmond company has a unique understanding of next-gen.

For Microsoft is the release of the Xbox Series X | It's more than just praising new hardware. Sure, the console offers that too: Lots of power, fast loading times, quick resume, even 4K in 120 Hz, provided you have it has the appropriate hardware. It comes as no surprise that Microsoft's flagship accelerates gaming. The slim block delivers, impresses with its performance, but basically offers much more than just technology. With the release of the Xbox Series X | S Microsoft has brought a process that has lasted for years to a climax in the meantime.

Xbox Series X gives old games a leg up

The jump to the Xbox Series X is impressive, in direct comparison with the previous console, however, currently small - at least partially. What is offered graphically is improved in detail: more beautiful lighting effects are often visible in games, the comparison of is sometimes impressive Assassin's Creed Valhalla on the Xbox One X and Xbox Series X. Otherwise, fans are currently benefiting from significantly faster loading times. But you don't have to dismiss this as "nice to have", especially with open-world titles, the shortened, sometimes hardly available loading bar ensures that you can delve even deeper into limitless worlds.

From a purely technical point of view, the Xbox Series X makes the software work with its RDNA-2 GPU and Zen-2 CPU from AMD. The neat block provides up to twelve teraflops, and the console does not get particularly hot, even in continuous operation. Another advantage: The Xbox Series X runs incredibly quietly. Due to the new resources, some games already receive inherent increases in performance: Images are then displayed at 60 FPS, where on the Xbox One X you had to be far less satisfied. The differences are visually impressive. The games run smoother because the Xbox Series X does not have any problems with backward compatible titles to play to its strengths. This does not apply to all games, especially for titles that have an FPS lock, the Series X will not increase frame numbers either. Developers are required to submit improvements so that older titles can benefit from the resources that have become free.

Under the perforated cover there is a powerful propeller on the top. Photo: Volkmann

Under the perforated cover there is a powerful propeller on the top. Photo: Volkmann

There is fun when you tackle Forza 4 again, this time in 4K and with 60 FPS: Then the question quickly arises how you could do the pretty racer in the past with inferior quality at all. Nevertheless: Basically what is currently on offer is only the start of the new generation. You will now have to wait for developers to use the power resources of the Xbox Series X consistently and optimize games specifically for the new console. We also know that at Xbox: Phil Spencer recently made it clear that the key titles for the new generation of consoles will be launched on the market for the 2021 Christmas season. A comprehensible assessment, because publishers and developers need time to be able to call up the full performance of the console.

The shape and structure of the new console support the basic technical framework. The heat dissipation upwards is a great idea: warm air rises automatically due to its lower density, the gigantic fan inside the console thus reinforces a kind of tunnel effect in order to be able to cool the Xbox Series X well despite its comparatively small size. Although the Xbox Series X can also be laid down, the console does not seem to be really made for it, which is indicated by the base plate, which does not look particularly elegant when stored vertically. After all: there are four small knobs to lie down, but we think that standing mode is much more suitable because the main fan is located in the upper area. The less it has to turn, the quieter the console will ultimately run - this should be supported by the type of setup. Nevertheless: There is not much to consider when it comes to the parking or laying space, only the air flow should remain free, so that the ventilation outlet of the console should be given at least a hand's breadth - better still a little more - space.

Even the rather shallow revision of the controller does not seem to be a coincidence: the new control unit has a share button, thanks to texturing it has more grip on the back and in the area of ​​the triggers, but is otherwise subtly improved rather than innovatively reworked. Only the new eight-way control pad is a matter of taste. Although the control reacts precisely, it is much more "crisp" than, for example, with the Elite controller's D-Pad - and "crisp" is to be taken literally here.

Highlight: short loading times

One of the core pieces - the Xbox Series X has several of them - is the internal NVMe SSD with a terabyte of storage. This is not significantly large by today's standards, but the memory is incredibly fast. This is not only impressive, but actually proves to be practical when playing: While loading bars were previously a real brake on fun, the gaming sessions now run almost seamlessly. The Xbox Series not only loads significantly faster on paper, it actually cuts times in practice drastically. With Gears Tactics, a roughly three-fold reduction can be determined, with Red Dead Redemption 2 the loading times tumble from several minutes to almost 30 seconds and with Gears 5 the loading times are so short that you hardly notice them.

The connections, including the slot for the plug-in NVMe SSD, are located on the back. Photo: Volkmann

The connections, including the slot for the plug-in NVMe SSD, are located on the back. Photo: Volkmann


You have to feel for yourself how significant the change is. The bare numbers indicate what is so clearly noticeable in-game that you will never want to do without it in the future. The fairy tale of limitless game worlds could now also become a reality on consoles, up until now that was something that was only reserved for PC gamers with appropriate NVMe hard drives.

Around 800 gigabytes of free memory are available for games. That sounds like a lot, but it should turn out to be tight in the future when memory-hungry games appear - and these may then be enlarged by patches and expansions. Sooner or later you will either have to constantly install and uninstall games or through a memory expansion.

USB 3.0 hard drives can be connected to the Xbox Series X to play backward compatible titles that have not been optimized for the Series X. If you want the maximum performance including optimization, you can only use Microsoft's internal memory or a special memory expansion - currently only developed in cooperation with Seagate: the NVMe expansion SSD for Xbox Series X | S holds a terabyte, but costs a whopping 240 euros.

Microsoft's next-gen isn't just hardware

What Microsoft actually understands by the next-gen is not just new hardware: The Redmond-based company has been working tirelessly for years to create its own ecosystem around the Xbox - and this is no longer just geared towards console gamers. Microsoft uses its position as an IT giant and links the worlds of PC and Xbox, at the latest with the Xbox Series X this process is now reaching its climax: Countless downward compatible games; a subscription flat rate that can be used on Xbox and PC, and now also a cloud gaming service for which players do not have to pay extra, but which fits seamlessly into Microsoft's microcosm.

In many places you can feel further development and next-gen. Photo: Volkmann

In many places you can feel further development and next-gen. Photo: Volkmann

With the completely redesigned controller of the Xbox Series X - and of course any other compatible Bluetooth controller - games can also be played on the tablet or mobile phone or, better yet, continue to play. Microsoft is relying on a gaming experience that, despite the new console hardware, is no longer just geared towards gaming on the living room TV. You can feel Microsoft's drive for efficiency on every corner and edge of the Xbox Series X. It is hardly a coincidence that the console is simple and elegant and not flashy and futuristic. Despite the boring, simple look, you don't miss anything in terms of the technical equipment - and who knows: Perhaps the look reminiscent of a PC is another subtle indication of the merging of target groups. No matter how you twist and turn it: For just under 500 euros, the Xbox Series X is a console that is similar to a PC, but a model whose hardware you would have to pay many times more for.

Coupled with the urge to expand competencies in game development, meaning the steady expansion of the Xbox game studios, you can't get rid of the feeling that the Xbox Series X is not the end of a process, but just the beginning.


Last updated on 26.01.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API