Originally announced at E3 2019 under the codename “Project Scarlett”, the Xbox Series X was officially revealed on December 12, 2019. The world premiere dropped in a 4K trailer from the Xbox Youtube channel featuring amazing visuals that we can only hope to see on the next console. The trailer also teased visuals from Halo and what we can assume to be Forza and FIFA titles. On February 24th, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, published a letter on the Xbox website expanding on the features of the next generation of Xbox. In this list, we will go over the 10 Xbox Series X features we are most excited for.
10. Full Backwards Compatibility
The most requested feature fans want with any new console release is the ability to continue playing their favorite games. This is commonly known in the gaming community as backwards compatibility. Backwards Compatibility is when a piece of hardware can run software or peripherals from an older piece of hardware in the interest of posterity and preservation. What does this mean for you? This means you can play games from previous generations of Xbox, whether you’re feeling nostalgic, or you just don’t want to be forced to repurchase a great game for a new console.
Microsoft has patented new technology in order to achieve stable frame rates in games at higher resolutions without compromising the final image quality. The Xbox Series X achieves this through a new method of Variable Rate Shading, or VRS. This patented form of VRS empowers developers to more efficiently utilize the full power of the Xbox Series X. Rather than spending GPU cycles uniformly to every single pixel on the screen, they can prioritize individual effects on specific game characters or important environmental objects.
8. Raytracing Technology
The Xbox Series X delivers a first for console gaming through dynamic and realistic environments powered by hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing. This tech is only known by PC gamers through the Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards, a level of graphics console players can rarely experience. This means true-to-life lighting, accurate reflections and realistic acoustics in real-time as players explore the game world. Finally, console gamers can have the same experiences as their PC counterparts.
7. Upgraded SSD Storage
As time goes on and games become more and more impressive, the size required to hold these games has become massive. While gigabytes of data are required for most games, the Xbox Series X has delivered on an updated storage system. The new Solid-State Drive runs on a new device known as an NVMe SSD. NVMe, or non-volatile memory express, is a host controller interface and storage protocol created to accelerate the transfer of data between enterprise and client systems and solid-state drives (SSDs) over a computer’s high-speed Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) bus. This is super fast and allows game worlds to be larger, more dynamic, and load in a flash.
6. Quick Resume Feature
A new console has to have more than upgraded tech to wow its customers, and Microsoft has developed some cool new features for the next Xbox. Phil Spencer, vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, confirmed that the Xbox Series X will have “quick resume”. This will allow players to “continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly.” The feature will be able to take players back to “where you were and what you were doing, without waiting through long loading screens.” Simply, this feature will allow Xbox players to enjoy their games faster than ever.
5. New Custom Processor
How will the Xbox Series X achieve all of these improvements? Through a customized processor is the answer. Leveraging AMD’s latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures will deliver four times the processing power of an Xbox One and enable developers to also leverage 12 TFLOPS of GPU. These new developments will usher a new generation of technology resulting in higher framerates, larger, more sophisticated game worlds, and an immersive experience unlike anything seen in console gaming.
4. New innovations with HDMI 2.1
As our games and console become more advanced, our other tech needs to catch up too. Luckily, the Xbox Series X will support the new HDMI 2.1. What is HDMI 2.1? The newest version of HDMI supports resolutions up to 10K and requires a new cable. In 2020 many televisions may begin supporting HDMI 2.1, so by the time the Xbox Series X arrives, so will these TVs. What does this mean for your games, though? HDMI 2.1 will allow the console to automatically set the connected TV or monitor to the mode with the lowest latency and synchronize refresh rates between the display and the game. This results in less lag and better graphics for your game.
3. Dynamic Latency Input
Microsoft has developed latency optimization for the next generation of Xbox through Dynamic Latency Input, DLI. This begins with the new Xbox Wireless Controller, which leverages high bandwidth and proprietary wireless communication protocol when connected to the console. DLI synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed, and controls are even more precise and responsive. This tech is very new and there is little information available, but players can expect improved response times from their controller to their game.
2. “Smart Delivery” Technology
Ever purchase a game on one console, only to have the new console come out soon after? Microsoft has ensured players will never have that regret or hesitation when buying games again. The Xbox Series X will be the first console to have “Smart Delivery” Technology. This means you can buy a game once and know that you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on. Simply, you can buy a single copy of a game before the Series X releases, play on the Xbox One, then play on the Series X upon release. This will be supported on all Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite.
1. 120 FPS support
The Xbox Series X continues to push the boundaries set by previous consoles and enter a realm once only occupied by PC gaming. The newest Xbox supports up to 120 FPS. Xbox Series X allows developers to exceed standard 60 FPS output in favor of heightened realism or fast-paced action.
As the technology of televisions, consoles, and their peripherals improve, the experience of gaming will continue to evolve. While features like 120 FPS, 10K graphics, and lag-free gaming seem out of reach, developments like the Xbox Series X bring us closer to the next generation of gaming. With an expected release date of holiday 2020, the next generation is coming sooner than you think.
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