There is again information about Xbox Series X, this time directly from Microsoft, more precisely: from Xbox boss Phil Spencer. The expectations of the fans are high for the new Xbox console, which should be in stores this year, just in time for the Christmas business. With more computing power, shorter loading times and lower latencies, fans should spend more time playing with waiting. Whether this will actually work will be known by the end of 2020 at the latest.
“Pure power” is only part of the story
Microsoft is aware of the expectations fans have of the next-gen console. The graphic power and processor performance of the Xbox Series X should make games look almost alive, promises Phil Spencer and announces “visually outstanding” game worlds. All of this will be possible without long waiting times. “Without long waiting times”, that sounds incredibly good at first, but it is poorly defined and ultimately meaningless.
After all: the pure power resources of the Xbox Series X suggest that the power that comes out in the end actually corresponds to a technological leap in the console area. Phil Spencer describes the progress almost cautiously: "In direct comparison with the previous generation, Xbox Series X stands for a superior balance of power and speed, united in a console design that has evolved on all technological fronts". Nevertheless, “breathtaking, dynamic and lively worlds” should wait for fans and those aspects that stand in the way of immersion should be minimized.
In terms of performance, this means for the Xbox Series X:
- Tailor-made processor from AMD's latest Zen-2 series and the RDNA 2 architecture
- four times as much processing power as the Xbox One
- 12 TFLOPS graphic power
- Hardware accelerated DirectX ray tracing
- More stable frame rates through variable rate shading
Ray tracing in particular should ensure visually impressive moments with photo-realistic light effects and reflections. Increasing the resolution will not have a negative effect on the frame rate with VRS because the graphics resources can be used more efficiently.
Shorter waiting times thanks to fast storage
Wait less, play more - that's what Microsoft wants to offer fans with the new Xbox Series X. There is a comparatively simple concept behind the project: Among other things, Microsoft simply wants to reduce loading times. This is not only made possible by a next-gen SSD, through which game worlds should “load as quickly as lightning,” promises Phil Spencer.
The quick resume feature is more exciting, as it allows players to pause several tracks at the same time and continue directly at the saved position. That doesn't sound like innovative at first, but it is: so far, players have been able to use similar features on consoles, but only for a single game. Several titles are now supported. That could make loading bar a relic of the past, at least in part.
Latency problems in particular are often a nuisance for gamers. Microsoft has this in mind and promises improvement: "We know that gamers need ultra-low latencies," said Xbox boss Phil Spencer. “The team has therefore analyzed every step between the player and the game - from the controller to the console to the screen. And we asked ourselves: How can we do it faster?
Other specifications should support the Xbox Series X in terms of speed:
- Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) for optimizing the latency between player and console in order to allow the wireless controller to react even more precisely
- HDMI 2.1 as the new standard
- Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) allows the Xbox Series X to automatically set the screen to the lowest latency mode
- Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) for synchronization between screen and frame rate
- 120 FPS support
Even if the Xbox Series X is a new, stand-alone console: fans should still be able to use the old games. According to Phil Spencer, the Xbox Series X will be “as compatible as possible” - the statement leaves a lot open, but a large number of titles seem to be running in backward compatibility mode.
In the end, four generations of gaming should be connected. Spencer says: "Our compatibility promise means that all existing Xbox One games, including all backward-compatible games for Xbox 360 and Xbox, look and play better than ever before." Incidentally, the same applies to the Xbox One accessories.
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It is no surprise that the Xbox Game Pass will also run with the Xbox Series X. In the past few months, Microsoft has not skimped on marketing campaigns to make the subscription service popular.
When the console is available in stores by the end of 2020, fans should play a lot, preferably in a comfortable way. "Xbox Series X represents our promise to gamers who want instant immersion in games that look and feel more realistic than ever," said Phil Spencer. The Xbox Series X is - unsurprisingly - Microsoft's “fastest and most powerful console ever”.
Microsoft plans to publish further details in the coming months.
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