Last night at The Game Awards, Microsoft announced their next console, the Xbox Series X. It’s only been two years since the arrival of the Xbox One X, but this is Microsoft’s new approach to console gaming. Rather than releasing a new console once every seven or eight years, the company wants to be more iterative like an iPhone where you get a slightly improved console every couple of years. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got the Xbox Series S or something in 2022, but for now we’ve got this.
Here’s the boilerplate on what makes the newest Xbox better than the previous generation:
“From a technical standpoint, this will manifest as world-class visuals in 4K at 60FPS, with possibility of up to 120FPS, including support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 8K capability. Powered by our custom-designed processor leveraging the latest Zen 2 and next generation RDNA architecture from our partners at AMD, Xbox Series X will deliver hardware accelerated ray tracing and a new level of performance never before seen in a console. Additionally, our patented Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology will allow developers to get even more out of the Xbox Series X GPU and our next-generation SSD will virtually eliminate load times and bring players into their gaming worlds faster than ever before.
We are minimizing latency by leveraging technology such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers new functionality like Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to make Xbox Series X the most responsive console ever. Xbox Series X is also designed for a future in the cloud, with unique capabilities built into the hardware and software to make it as easy as possible to bring great games to both console and elsewhere. Xbox Series X will deliver a level of fidelity and immersion unlike anything that’s been achieved in previous console generations.”
This all sounds well and good, but to be blunt, there hasn’t really been a console in the past ten years that’s demanded a day-one purchase. I think some consoles have shown themselves to be good purchases like the Nintendo Switch, but we didn’t know that on Day One. Of course, the early adopters will get this no matter what, and good for them, but for everyone else, I think it’s wiser to wait and see, especially with Xbox. Ever since the Xbox 360, the first generation console has always been far surpassed by its successor, which manages to work out all the kinks and come in at a lower price point.
But again, there will always be people who want to be first with a piece of new technology. Thankfully, Xbox Series X will be backwards compatible across all four generations of Xbox, which is nice, and saves and achievements will be able to transfer across generations as well. The big question now is how much it will cost, especially compared to the PlayStation 5, which will also be released in the 2020 holiday season