We review all the information about the next home machine of the Xbox family, the beginning of the new generation of Phil Spencer's.
Xbox Series X is the name of the new Microsoft console. The American giant has been paving the ground for the next generation for years, when they understood that this cycle marked by Xbox One should serve to set positive precedents with which to start from scratch with all guarantees, without making mistakes. Fixed shot.
Phil Spencer's team is moving token before its great rival, PlayStation 5, does a strategy where the Xbox label takes the lead in public communication. In spite of everything, there are many unknowns, doubts; but Xbox Series X – in the absence of knowing if there are more models within the new range – has made clear its credentials.
In this report we will review all the information, certainties and known details that surround the system, which is postulated to be not only the most powerful domestic console of all time, but also the one that has the most sophisticated cutting-edge technology and Thinking about player comfort.
We will not talk here of what we do not know. Speculation around the price is left out; although with everything we do know we already have enough material to prepare this article where the bug or, as some begin to call it, the Microsoft monster begins to show its letters.
This is Xbox Series X.
Xbox Series X: five great features
Let's start at the beginning, which is both the latest. What is inside Xbox Series X? Apart from the name, which he gave for all kinds of opinions, we can summarize in five the great assets of a total system. "The future of video games has never been so inspiring before," said Spencer, Xbox leader, on Xbox Wire this February 24.
The console architecture will not only prioritize power, but a balance between power and speed. One of the shortcomings of the current systems are the loading times, the black screens where the user's time is not valued as he would like. Thus, we expect "advances on all technological fronts to offer incredible and dynamic animated world, as well as to minimize any aspect that could hinder your experience."
Ray tracing used in the movie 'Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens | Disney
- CPU: The processor is the first point to detail. The brain, the thinking head, the operating table. The system has a Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture from AMD. In practice, four times more powerful than an Xbox One through its 12 teraflops of graphic processing in the GPU; twice the performance of an Xbox Series X. The console will be able to offer graphics with refresh rates of up to 12 'FPS, on “larger and more sophisticated” worlds and “an immersive experience like never before seen on a console video game".
- Variable Rate Shading (VRS): technicalities and new technological concepts are part of the marketing strategy in this type of products, but what is that of VRS? Broadly speaking, a new Microsoft technology patent that allows developers to more efficiently use the power of Xbox Series X. As they explain, instead of using GPU cycles uniformly for each pixel on the screen, they will prioritize individual effects on specific characters or important environmental objects. "This technique allows more stable and higher resolution frames per second, without any impact on the final image quality." It is, possibly, the biggest move towards guaranteeing the coveted 4K / 60FPS that we have not had except in a few occasions this generation.
- Ray Tracing: The ray tracing has been playing for several years, although more in the world of PC and cinema. This technique is based on a series of algorithms that allow lighting calculations to run at full speed, which will result in an immediate deduction of the place of recidivism of light to improve effects and reflections in real time. In Xbox Series X it will be hardware accelerated for DirectX applications. "This function provides true-to-reality lighting, accurate reflections and realistic acoustics in real time."
- SSD storage memory: solid state memories are here to stay. The new generation of SSDs with which Microsoft works will memo “virtually every aspect of the game”. From larger and more dynamic worlds to “instant” loading times, with quick trips in the blink of an eye. Immediacy
- Quick Resume: being able to instantly resume a game, almost immediately, will be a reality in Xbox Series X. We can return to our last save point without having to wait for loading screens; a substantial improvement of the current standby mode of the consoles, because in this case it does not depend so much on the state of suspension of the console as on the acceleration of the CPU in each specific video game.
Xbox Wireless Elite Controller 2, compatible with Xbox Series X
Other details highlighted in the recent Microsoft statement is the presence of the optimized DLI, a dynamic latency input in the player-console relationship processes starting with the wireless controller, where the greater bandwidth power will ensure that the latency and synchronization between the command and the game is total, close to the precision of playing with cable. Also, there will be support for HDMI 2.1 to improve the gaming experience and update rate. ALLM and VRR for the console to connect to the screen with a low latency mode automatically. However, the game support at 120 frames per second will cease to be a desire of the future to be a real possibility.
Back in December, when from the Xbox offices in Redmond they discussed how to announce the name of the console, among other details, there was a person in charge of the marketing department who said: "We should do something brave, something that we have not done before, let's do it, we are not in a market position that we would like to be in during this last generation. I don’t think we’re going to alter or grow our business if we do the same thing again. just a few weeks, he acknowledges that the presentation "could have been a disaster" to be before millions of people in front of the screen, but the reception was, judging by the feedback reported in forums and social networks, very positive.
"We will be brave in what we try to do," said the manager. Because they want to take risks with Xbox Series X and take advantage of that “advantage” referred to by Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, on more than one occasion.
Phil Spencer during the Xbox Series X presentation at The Game Awards 2019
The ecosystem concept has been evident in several ways. One of them, the Smart Delivery, which we will detail later in this report, for which we will buy an Xbox video game, regardless of the platform, because the console itself will be responsible for downloading the data of the appropriate version.
"We want you to know when you invest on Xbox that you can bring back all that legacy content library," said Booty regarding the confirmed backward compatibility. “For that reason we believe that we have an advantage with Xbox Project Scarlett, because our goal is that any game that runs on Xbox One can also run on Scarlett. It is not a transfer to a different operating system; it's not a transfer to an API with different graphics: you just run an Xbox game. ” And so it will be.
What the Xbox Series X video game industry says
Phil Spencer is the envy of the biggest fans of the company. As he said, he already has an Xbox Series X at home. Back in December, after showing a picture of the machine's CPU, he commented briefly: “This week I brought my (Xbox) Project Scarlett home and it has become my primary console; In which I play my games, I connect with the community and yes, I use my Elite Series 2 controller, I'm having a great time. Great work of the whole team, 2020 is going to be an incredible year. ”
Xbox during E3 2019
The video game industry is excited about the capabilities of the next generation of consoles. Especially, SSD storage memories generate great appeal for them. Beyond VRS technology, such rapid memories will help creatives to "create much richer worlds," will allow "drastically improve loading times" and reduce development times "significantly."
Tomohiko Sho, director and producer of Warriors Orochi 4, stated that “We hope that it improves the efficiency of developments or the progress of automation; therefore, we can focus more on details and content. ” Likewise, Rockfish Games, in the voice of Michael Shade, explained that the new next-generation CPUs will also allow improvements in destructible environments and a greater number of NPCs on the screen at the same time.
All games confirmed for now for Xbox Series X
Despite all that has been said, without games there will be no paradise. Spencer and his team know it, so they are traveling to Japan to close agreements with large Japanese publishers, because in the Asian continent the presence of Xbox is completely relegated to the background and inconsequence. That situation will try to change from before the departure of Xbox Series X, with movements such as the legacy of the Yakuza saga to Xbox Game Pass, all deliveries from Kingdom Hearts to Xbox One and endless Final Fantasy titles on said content platform on demand.
Forza Motorsport 7 | Turn 10 Studios
From FreeGameTips we have compiled in this article all the confirmed games for Xbox Series X at the moment, a catalog that is slowly growing as the big publishers confirm their plans for the next generation; although many of them are intergenerational. Cyberpunk 2077, for example, is the last to know that those who buy the game on Xbox One will automatically have the XSX version if they start the game on that platform. It's that simple, although this won't always be the case, the third publishers will have to decide.
Regarding the first parties, where we have the complete team (16 studios) of Xbox Game Studios, we have the following names already working on their next projects: 343 Industries; The Coalition; Compulsion Games; Double Dine Productions, The Initiative; inXilie Entertainment; Mojang; Ninja Theory; Obsidian Entertainment; Playground Games; Rare; Turn 10 Studios; Undead Labs, Moon Studios, World’s Edge and Microsoft Casual Games.
We are certain that there is a new Forza Motorsport in development and that Turn 10 Studios works with ray tracing techniques. The list, with name and surname, is as follows:
- Halo: Infinite (343 Industries)
- Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (Daedalic Entertainment)
- Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft)
- Watch Dogs: Legion (Ubisoft)
- Gods and Monsters (Ubisoft)
- Rainbow Six: Quarantine (Ubisoft)
- Outriders (People Can Fly)
- Gothic Remake (THQ Nordic)
- Nascence: Anna’s Song (Dreamppainters)
- Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt RED)
Enhanced backward compatibility; or how to perfect a wish
That Xbox Series X will be backward compatible is something we know from before even the console was known by its final name; when we referred to her as Project Scarlett. What has just been ratified last February is that it will be backward compatible since the launch at Christmas 2020. Day one.
"Hundreds of games spread over four generations," they said. This also affects peripherals: the Xbox One controller, including the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, will be compatible with Xbox Series X. But if we stick to games, where the promise is that all currently backward compatible titles are also in the next generation , the figure amounts to more than 500 titles from the Xbox legacy.
But it will not be any backward compatibility, but there will be a face lift on each disc that we insert in an Xbox Series X, as happens in most Xbox and Xbox 360 titles on an Xbox One X. In addition, the titles of Xbox Game Studios (and others like Cyberpunk 2077), will be updated for free to the new generation version.
As the partners of Vandal media said last November, Xbox One exclusive cross-gen games will go free to Xbox Series X. The explanation is very simple: when you have the version of an Xbox One exclusive you will also have the equivalent version Enhanced XSX.
The frequent commercialization of “Enhanced” and “Remastered” video games is at risk, at least in the North American house. Going to specific cases, with names and surnames, when an Xbox One player buys Halo: Infinite this Christmas, if you buy an Xbox Series X you can upgrade to that version without cost.
Xbox Game Pass
"Smart Delivery" is another concept highlighted in the latest official statement from Microsoft. We forget to buy a game for Xbox One or Xbox Series X: you will buy a video game for Xbox. The technology itself will know how to interpret on which console it is running, adapting the appropriate version to each system. "We are committed to implementing the Smart Delivery feature on all Xbox Game Studios exclusive titles, including Halo Infinite, to ensure you buy the title only once and enjoy the best possible experience on any Xbox console."
Will this be compatible with all games on the market? It will depend on each editor. Microsoft leaves the doors open for developers to choose. CD Projekt RED, for example, will apply this Smart Delivery in Cyberpunk 2077.
All roads lead to E3 2020
Phil Spencer was the first to make it clear that it will be at E3 2020 where they reveal the main bastions of the console catalog, not before. The angel fair, if all goes well, will be the chosen scenario to let them see what this “extensive catalog” they are putting together is.
The Spencer-led meeting with its global Xbox management team took place on February 14, a meeting of which we have very few details; only that Aaron Greenberg, CEO of Xbox, is in charge of managing the fair.
Greenberg himself was not intimidated months before by the first known information about Sony and PlayStation 5 (which will not go to E3 for the second consecutive year). The CEO of Xbox does not fear the arrival of the powerful Japanese machine. According to his statement, his philosophy is clear: “We are more obsessed with the consumer than some obsessed with the competition (…) I think Sony has built a great business: they have a very strong brand and a fierce presence, we have a lot of admiration for what that they have achieved. " But when asked if he fears PS5 output, he said "No, really."
When we learned that Sony was not going to be at E3, Spencer took a few hours to ratify something we already knew: Microsoft and Xbox will be at E3 2020, which will be held from June 9 to 11 in Los Angeles, California. And where Xbox Series X will be the main word in your speech.
"Our team is working hard for E3," he said on his personal Twitter account in early January. “We are looking forward to sharing with you all, those who love to play, what awaits us. Our way of making art has been propelled by the cross-cutting of creativity and technical progress. 2020 marks a milestone in the Team Xbox trip. ”
For their part, from ESA (Electronic Entertainment Association), the organization in charge of E3 every year, they hope to be able to change things and make the fair a more attractive place for both spectators and companies. Complaints do not cease, although they hope to "live up to" this year.
The power of the cloud: how Xbox Series X will live with Project xCloud
The role of the cloud will be a major asset in Microsoft's business strategy with Xbox Series X. A complement to strengthen the streaming video game. We talk about Project xCloud, which Greenberg himself will be one of the fundamental pillars of his innovation strategy. “I think we have made our internal studies grow, so that we have one of the largest teams, but the one that most; and we will continue to innovate with things like Project xCloud ”, a cloud service that will have beta with fifty games in spring 2020.
At the moment, we know that Project xCloud has Android (United States and United Kingdom) in its beta phase with games like Destiny 2 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
It was during the last X019 held in London in November when Microsoft explained the details of this new streaming game experience, where they have already established relationships with up to 17 studios to adapt video games to the platform (not to be confused with Xbox Console Preview, which is based in transmitting the signal from the console to the mobile device In Project xCloud it is the Microsoft cloud servers that are responsible for sending the information.It is expected that in the future it will be compatible with the entire Xbox Game Pass catalog.
At the moment, it is confirmed that there will be more than 50 video games available at launch; Highlights include titles such as Gears 5, Devil May Cry 5 and Tekken 7. All with a simple Wi-Fi connection.
The only approach to a possible end for traditional consoles is something that does not pass, much less, the head of Phil Spencer. Although they are working on making Project xCloud a pillar within the Xbox family, the manager has said he believes that we are waiting for – at least – a decade more consoles. "I think a world where you don't have to own a device to play video games helps the industry," he began, pointing to a recent meeting. “That does not mean that owning a device is not part of my experience. I think I will have a video game console connected to my television for the next decade. ”
Before finishing this section, we ended with some strong statements expressed by Spencer himself this February, where he indicated that Sony and Nintendo will not be rivals for the future, but Amazon and Google. With alternatives already implemented in the market such as Google Stadia, PlayStation Now or Nvidia GeForce Now, “we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors in the future. It is not disrespectful to Nintendo and Sony, but traditional video game companies are somehow out of the game, ”he said. Time will determine who succeeded and who erred along the way.
The role of the coronavirus in PS5 and Xbox Series X, real risk?
We cannot ignore a disease that has entered into an international state of alert on the part of the WHO, the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). At the time of writing this report, the latest information on COVID-19 to which we have had access indicates that the virus has already begun to spread strongly in Italy. In addition, the third case of coronavirus in Spain was reported in Spain; specifically, an Italian in Tenerife. According to El País, more than 2520 people have died in China and 79,354 have been infected since the outbreak began. South Korea is another of the most affected countries, which has caused a maximum alert to be declared this past Sunday to find more than 200 new cases; 833 cases in total.
The world of consumer electronics is no stranger to this virus, because we talk about an industry where the main countries of the world meet every month in many events (such as the GDC, PAX or Taipei Games Show, to name just a few of the most recent ones where the casualties have been known one after the other).
If Nintendo has already confirmed that the production of Nintendo Switch is being affected by the virus in Japan (and possibly also in Europe as of April), both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X may see their plans altered against their Will if the contagion worsens.
Xbox Wireless Elite Controller 2 | Microsoft
There are already several sources that warn that this is not a joke and that the production of all consoles, without exception, can be affected if any of the factories paralyzes its activities for more weeks. If components are missing, not all units intended by companies can be assembled. That is, lack of supply and, consequently, possible delays. We keep the Pulse report through Business Insider, which has the participation of the financial consulting firm Jefferies Group.
“The videogame sector is currently manufacturing, or starting to manufacture, a generation of products for several years in the face of the 2020 holiday season. If the closures (of the companies) continue for a month or more, the programming of those Games will be delayed. The new consoles could, in the same way, suffer supply problems due to this prolonged interruption, (launching) thus beyond what was planned in autumn 2020 ”.
Are there reasons to be alarmed? Unless we have official information for it, no. However, one fundamental aspect must be taken into account: “close to 100” of console hardware is manufactured in China, a country that is currently quarantined by COVID-19. If the activity in the assembly and manufacturing of technological products sector does not resume, the dates will inevitably be altered.
Christmas of 2020, with Halo: Infinite under the arm. This is the Xbox Series X roadmap.