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Power Your Dreams

—Official slogan

The Xbox Series X is home video game console that was released globally on November 10, 2020[1].

Originally announced at E3 2019, with a full unveiling at The Game Awards 2019, the Xbox Series X was released as a successor to the Xbox One line of consoles.

The console is priced at US$499 and is defined by three main factors: power, speed, and compatibility[2].

A more affordable digital model of the Series X, the Xbox Series S was also launched on November 10 at the price of $299[3].

Pre-orders for the console began on September 22, 2020,[4] with pre-orders completely selling within an hour in some regions[5].

Announcement[]

Originally teased during the 2018 Xbox E3 Briefing, head of Xbox Phil Spencer stated that they were “deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to deliver the benchmark of console gaming.” Spencer also mentioned the company’s work on AI and on cloud technologies.[6]

A year later at E3 2019, the next Xbox was officially announced. Known as Project Scarlett at the time, the specs and a release window for the console were revealed in a short video.

Several months later at The Game Awards 2019, the console was officially unveiled by Phil Spencer. The design, name of the console and controller were all shown in a two minute announcement video. During this announcement, Phil Spencer revealed that the new console would be the fastest and most powerful Xbox ever and would set a new bar for performance. He also revealed that developers were already hard at work creating games for the next generation console. This included the studios within Xbox Game Studios.

Launch[]

The Xbox Series X launched world wide on November 10, 2020. The console launched with access to over 1000 games from the past four generation of Xbox. The Series X sold out almost instantly, with consoles being very hard to come by. It was later revealed that the Xbox Series X and S was the biggest launch for an Xbox console ever[7], with more consoles sold in its first 24 hours, in more countries, than any Xbox before.

It was estimated by industry analysis Daniel Ahmed, that combined sales of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S totaled to approximately 3.5 million through the end of 2020[8].

Floating ping pong balls[]

The original image of a ping pong ball floating above an Xbox Series X.

On November 11, one day after the consoles launch, Reddit user SnowFlakesMilkHoney uploaded an image of a ping pong ball being held up above their Xbox Series X by the air being emitted from their console as they were playing Forza Horizon 4. The image quickly gained traction, gaining almost a hundred thousand upvotes[9]. Similar videos began to surface online of other people managing to get a ping pong ball to float above their console[10]. The original image was shared across a multitude of discussion boards and was even covered by video game news outlets such as IGN and Gamespot[11].

These videos were quickly debunked, with many other videos being uploaded in the following days of the original post of people testing their console fans out for themselves[12]. Disappointingly, it was found that the Xbox Series X's fans were unable to suspend anything at all. A variety of objects were tested including feathers and pieces of paper while different games were running on the console, with all failing to leave the surface of the top of the console.

Consoles emitting smoke controversy[]

We can't believe we have to say this, but please do not blow vape smoke into your Xbox Series X

—Official Xbox Twitter account

Not long after the Series X launched, various videos began appearing online of smoke emitting from the main fan on top of the console. Owners became concerned about the possible high failure rate of their new consoles. However, it was revealed by twitter user @XboxStudio that the smoke was not due to hardware failure but rather vape smoke being blown through the back vents on the console causing the smoke to travel through the inside of the console and come out of the top fan.

Not long after the videos were debunked, the official Xbox Twitter account posted a tweet asking Xbox Series X owners to not blow vape smoke into their new consoles.

Design[]

The Xbox Series X has a design unlike any other console seen before. Rather than being a flat horizontal shape, the Series X is a tall rectangular shape. The console can also be placed horizontally, as there are small feet on one of the sides of the console. The console's dimensions are 151mm x 151mm x 301mm, making the console slightly larger than the Xbox One X.

The disc drive is on the bottom left side of the console with a connect button and a USB port being on the other side of it. Ventilation for the console is now on top of the system. Rather than being flat, the vent grill is curved. This design choice has been done to make the console as quiet as possible, with the single, large fan pushing high volumes of air out of the top.

In late March 2020, Digital Foundry reported that the green glow from the vent does not come from a light rather “a simple green plastic insert that sits between the fan and the internals”.

Back side of the Xbox Series X

The back of the console has two large vents on both sides. Between the vents are two USB-A ports, an ethernet port, a power connection, a HDMI-Out port and a slot for expandable storage.

The expandable storage slot that is present on the back side of the console can be used with 1TB Storage Expansion Cards. The cards allow users to expand the storage on their console. Additionally, USB drives can be used to further increase storage at a much lower cost. However, Series X games on USB drives cannot be played off the drive (as they require NVMe SSD speed), meaning if the user wants to play a Series X game on the USB drive they must move it to the main storage on the console or the Storage Expansion Card. Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games can be played directly off USB drives.

New features[]

The Xbox Series X includes a wide range of both software and hardware improvements that allow games to be accessed faster and played in much higher quality when compared to previous Xbox consoles.

SSD Storage[]

The Xbox Series X and S now use SSD as its main form of storage as opposed to the regular hard drives used on the previous generation of consoles. SSDs are much faster than regular hard drives, allowing for improved gameplay, larger game worlds and much faster loading times.

The Series X uses an M.2 2230 NVMe SSD manufactured by Western Digital, that is held in a slot on the consoles motherboard[13]. The console's storage can be expanded with any external drive or the with the 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card which can be interested directly into the console and features the same speeds and performance as the internal SSD.

Quick Resume[]

Main article: Quick Resume

Quick Resume menu holding six suspended games as seen from the Xbox dashboard.

Quick Resume allows multiple games to be suspended at once, allowing the user to instantly pick up exactly from where they left off without the game having to restart. Think of it as having a number of programs opened on a Windows desktop and being able to minimize a program so they are no longer on the screen but are still open for quick access.

Games that are in Quick Resume can be viewed from a menu in My Games & Apps, the dashboard and the guide. From these menus, any of the games that are currently in Quick Resume can be launched or removed from Quick Resume so that next time the game is opened it has to relaunch and load in everything again.

It is said that up to twelve Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games can be held in Quick Resume at one time[14]. Whereas up to three Xbox Series X|S games can be Quick Resumed at once[15].

Games will also stay in Quick Resume even after the console has been turned off, fully shut down, updated or even unplugged, allowing the user to pick up right where they left off [16].

Dynamic Latency Input[]

(Click to enlarge)

DLI will help get rid of input lag. This new feature will synchronize input immediately with what is displayed, controls are aimed at being more precise and responsive [17].

HDMI 2.1[]

In a blogpost on Xbox Wire in late February 2020, the Xbox Team revealed that they had partnered with the HDMI forum and TV manufacturers to allow for the best gaming experience through features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). ALLM allows for both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X to automatically set the connected display to its lowest latency mode. VRR makes consoles synchronize the display’s refresh rate to the game’s frame rate, allowing games to run smooth visuals without tearing. This will reduce lag and make gameplay very responsive.

Improved frame rates[]

With the upgraded hardware of the Xbox Series X, the console is now capable of outputting games at 120fps. This enhanced hardware also allows developers of titles to go above and beyond the usual 60fps output from last generation.

Smart Delivery[]

Main article: Smart Delivery
Xbox_Series_X_-_Xbox_Smart_Delivery

Xbox Series X - Xbox Smart Delivery

Whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X – you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on.

—Xbox Wire Blogpost

A major new feature available on the Xbox Series X is Smart Delivery. Smart Delivery is a feature that means that players will be able to purchase a game on Xbox One and be able to gain access to the next gen version with all upgrades for free.

No matter what Xbox is being played on, it doesn't matter whether the game is being bought for Xbox One or Xbox Series X, players will always have the right copy for what platform they are playing on.

This feature has been confirmed for multiple titles including Halo Infinite and Far Cry 6. If the game is bought for Xbox One either physically or digitally, the game will work on the Xbox Series X with bonus enhancements that will take advantage of the consoles power and additional features.

FPS Boost[]

FPS Boost is a feature that allows the frame rate on older games to be significantly improved, allowing for much smoother gameplay on the newer consoles.

The feature was announced and made available for five different games on February 17, 2021. The feature allows for the frame rates in select Xbox One backwards compatible games to be improved by two to four times[18][19].

The program works in a similar way to the original Xbox/Xbox 360 backwards compatibility meaning that rather than all games being able to benefit from the FPS boost at the same time, each game must be first tested and will then eventually be able to take advantage of the enhancements once testing has completed. The feature requires no input from game developers[20]. The first titles to benefit from this update included Far Cry 4, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Sniper Elite 4, UFC 4, and Watch Dogs 2[21].

Improvements from FPS boost can be toggled on and off depending on the users preference, through a compatibility tab that can be found in the same place as where game storage and file info is within My Games & Apps. If a game is taking advantage of FPS boost, a small icon will be shown in the top right whenever the guide is opened while the FPS boosted game is running.

Specifications[]

Full specifications for the Xbox Series X were officially revealed on March 16, 2020[22].

CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU 12.155 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size 360.45 mm2
Process 7nm Enhanced
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
Memory Bandwidth 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

User interface[]

Development[]

Prior to the Xbox Series X's launch many rumors were going around that the Xbox Series X would launch with a brand new dashboard. However on May 11, 2020 GameSpot released an interview that was held with Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald. During this interview GameSpot asked Jason "what we could expect from a new dashboard." Jason replied with the following statement.[23]

"We're really happy with the early results that we're seeing so far. And I think also one thing that we're doing is we're doing a lot of work refining the experience based on the feedback from our players."

—Jason Ronald in an interview with GameSpot

Jason also stated that players won't be caught off guard by any drastic changes to the Dashboard. More details would be revealed about the revamped Dashboard as the console got closer to its launch.

It's the feedback that really drives our priorities. If you're in the Insider rings, you'll see various experiments at different times. This is really about us learning and hearing from the community that is directly influencing the final shape of the dashboard that we'll ship with Xbox Series X

—Jason Ronald talking about the Xbox Series X Dashboard in an interview with GameSpot.

In mid August 2020, Xbox announced the New Xbox Experience, a brand new ecosystem connecting a wide range of devices that lets users play the way they want[24].

New Xbox Experience[]

The Xbox Series X was launched with a revised user interface, known as the New Xbox Experience. The New Xbox Experience was also made available for Xbox One consoles via a system update when the Xbox Series X launched.

The Dashboard remained mostly the same as the current Xbox One Dashboard but was optimized to be much faster and responsive. Small visual changes were also made to the Dashboard that included rounded tiles and the option for live backgrounds.

An updated version of the guide was also included with the new software that includes a revised design and reorganized tabs. One of the most noticeable changes to the UI include the new store which was completely redesigned for faster accessibility.

Games[]

The Xbox Series X launched with over a thousand games spanning four generation of gaming. The Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with the past three generations of Xbox, this includes every game that was available on Xbox One a part from games that require the Kinect[25] . This means that the console is once again able to play select original Xbox and Xbox 360 games.

Xbox One forwards compatibility[]

In January 2020, Matt Booty, head of Microsoft’s internal development teams at Xbox Game Studios, announced that Xbox Series X games will also be playable on the Xbox One for the first year. This allows for cross-generation multiplayer and gives Xbox One owners the ability to play some of the Xbox Series X's line-up even if they don't choose to upgrade their hardware. The downside to this choice is that developing games for both a brand new console and a seven year console could cause some difficulties for developers.

Game Pass[]

Xbox Game Pass returns to the Xbox Series X, once again bringing a huge variety of games for its subscribers. All games that are being developed by first party Xbox studios will be available the day they release on Xbox Game Pass.

Play Anywhere[]

Main article: Xbox Play Anywhere

On multiple occasions, Phil Spencer has mention that he would like to see the Xbox Series X incorporate console incorporate Xbox Play Anywhere, so players can move seamlessly between devices, such as Windows 10 PC's, Xbox One consoles and the Series X/S. This allows users to track their achievements and progress much more efficiently.

Accessories[]

Controller[]

As well as the console, the Xbox Series X controller was also shown during the original announcment video. The new controller is very similar to its predecessor the Xbox One controller. The controller will be slightly smaller but still the same and shape as the Xbox One controller, however there are two slight changes to the design. Between the View and Menu buttons a new share button is located. This new button will most likely work in the same way that the share button does on a PlayStation Dualshock controller, giving the users a quick way to upload photos rather than navigating through menus to do so.

Another change is the D-Pad. From the images of the controller so far it appears that the directional pad will be based off of the D-Pad used on the Xbox One Elite Controllers. On closer inspection the triggers on the new controllers appear to be textured, allowing for easier grip.

The controller will also be able to be used on Xbox One consoles and PC's.

Backwards compatibility[]

In June 2019 while the Xbox Series X was still only known as Project Scarlett, Microsoft confirmed that all third generation Xbox One controllers (Xbox One S controllers) will work on Project Scarlett. This also includes both the Series 1 and Series 2 Elite Controllers.

“All your accessories are compatible moving forward as well. If you go and buy an Elite Wireless Controller or Series Two Controller that will be forward compatible on the Scarlett.”

—Jason Ronald- Partner Director of Program Management

This means that all Xbox One headsets (including third party ones as well) and other accessories will be compatible will the next gen console unlike the Xbox One was with the Xbox 360.

Xbox Series S[]

Main article: Xbox Series S

Xbox Series S promotional image that was used at the consoles announcement.

An all digital, cheaper alternative to the Xbox Series X was also released on November 10, 2020. The Xbox Series S includes almost all of the same features as the Xbox Series X, with the most noticeable differences being the lack of a disc drive and much smaller Robot White design.

The console was announced almost nine months after the Xbox Series X was announced, with the console being marketed as "Next-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever". The affordable price tag also helped the console make up for the the highest percentage of new players for any Xbox console at launch.

Prior to the original announcement of the console, the specifications of the console were leaked online with the console being said to support; DirectX Ray Tracing, Variable Rate Shading and Variable Refresh Rates. During the official unveiling of the Xbox Series S, it was also announced that the console would output video at 1440p at 60 FPS with some games also supporting up to 120 FPS like the Series X.


Name and branding[]

Known in development officially as Project Scarlett, the Xbox Series X was a name that came as a surprise to many people. Up until the original unveiling of the console, the Xbox Series X was mostly known as the Xbox Two. When questioned about the what the console would be named some time before The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft stated that Project Scarlett's name would reflect the console’s capabilities[26].

On December 12, 2019 the official name for the new console was unveiled, Xbox Series X. Some people found this name confusing and believed it would be difficult for some people to distinguish between the Xbox One X and the Xbox Series X.

The name also suggested that Microsoft was planning to release more consoles, hence the name. For example, the Lockhart model of the console which has now been confirmed to be the the Xbox Series S.

Almost a week after the consoles unveiling, Microsoft confirmed to Business Insider that this generation of Xbox would be known as just Xbox. With the first model in this line of consoles being the Xbox Series X. [27]

The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox ... the name ‘Xbox Series X’ allows room for additional consoles in the future.”

—A Microsoft employee to Business Insider

This once again hints at Microsoft releasing more than one console. So essentially Xbox is the make and Series X is just a model from that range.

Cloud gamaing[]

Main article: Cloud Gaming

During gamescom 2021, Xbox announced that its cloud gaming service (previously known as xCloud) would be making its way to the Xbox Series X and S, as well as Xbox One consoles later that year for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. This means that users will be able launch and play any game from the within the cloud gaming library without the need to download it. Additionally Xbox One consoles will be able to play new games designed specifically for Xbox Series X and S consoles, by streaming the game from the cloud.

Any title that can be played from the cloud will be marked with a small cloud icon on the boxart of the game, when viewing it from the Game Pass app on consoles. The service will support streaming titles at up to 1080p and at 60fps.

Testing for the service will be rolled out to select Xbox Insiders in Fall 2021, with a full release expected for the end of the year.

Leaks[]

Shortly after the announcement of the console several leaks began to emerge about what ports would be included on the back of the consoles. Numerous renders of the console included multiple USB-C ports. However, these renders were all deemed to be fake.

A Xbox Series X prototype was leaked showing the ports on the back of the console (click to enlarge).

In late January 2020, a prototype of the console was leaked online by NeoGAF user Curry Panda. The leak showed all back ports of the console which included two USB-A ports, an optical audio port, an Ethernet port, and one HDMI port, along with a power connection. Two large vents on both sides of the ports are also shown.

When more details about the console were officially revealed in March 2020, it was revealed that this leak was 100% real.

Xsx-master-chief.png

Trivia[]

  • Like the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, the Xbox Series X contains a small Master Chief inside of the console.

Gallery[]

Videos[]

External links[]

Reference list[]

  1. Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S release date and price finally revealed, windowscentral.com. Retrieved 09-07-2020
  2. Xbox Series X Reportedly Gets Official US Price, Release Date. kotaku.com.au. Retrieved 09-07-2020
  3. Microsoft confirms $299 Xbox Series S console. theverge.com. Retrieved 09-07-2020
  4. Xbox Series X release date, price, and pre-orders CONFIRMED by Microsoft. t3.com. Retrieved 09-10-2020
  5. Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Sold Out in Mere Hours. extremetech.com Retrieved 11-04-2020
  6. https://www.polygon.com/e3/2018/6/10/17447016/next-xbox-console-in-development-xbox-head-phil-spencer-says
  7. Xbox Series X/S was the biggest Xbox launch ever. eurogamer.net. Retrieved 11-12-2020
  8. Xbox Series X|S sales not far behind PS5, analyst says. gamespot.com. Retrieved 02-25-21
  9. Now I know what Xbox Series X is used for. reddit.com. Retrieved 08-30-21
  10. Float a Tennis ball or pingpong ball on Xbox Series X?. youtube.com. Retrieved 08-30-21
  11. Xbox Series X Probably Can Seemingly make Ping Pong Balls Float. ign.com. Retrieved 08-30-21
  12. Xbox Series X Floating Ping Pong (What Really Happens). youtube.com. Retrieved 08-30-21
  13. Xbox Series X Uses an Easy to Replace Western Digital M.2 SSD. au.pcmag.com. Retrieved 07-29-21
  14. Xbox Series X Quick Resume Can Retain Up to 12 Games Depending on the Circumstances. dualshockers.com. Retrieved 07-27-21
  15. How to Switch Between Games with Quick Resume on Xbox Series X, Series S. au.pcmag.com. Retrieved 07-27-21
  16. Xbox Series X's game resume feature even works after a reboot - Engadget
  17. What You Can Expect From the Next Generation of Gaming - Xbox Wire
  18. Microsoft is "still evaluating" if FPS Boost can work on Xbox 360-era and older games. gamesradar.com. Retrieved 02-24-21
  19. Making Backward Compatible Games Even Better with FPS Boost. news.xbox.com Retrieved 02-28-21
  20. Xbox Series X could give Xbox 360 and original Xbox games a renaissance. techradar.com. Retrieved 02-28-21
  21. Xbox Series X|S Announces FPS Boost on Backwards Compatible Titles. cbr.com. Retrieved 02-28-21
  22. Xbox Series X: A Closer Look at the Technology Powering the Next Generation. news.xbox.com. Retreived 09-07-2020
  23. Xbox Series X Should Be Getting A Better Dashboard. gamespot.com. Retrieved 25-05-2020
  24. The New Xbox Experience: Connecting You to Fun, Wherever You Want to Play. youtube.com. Retrieved 08-24-2020
  25. Microsoft Kills off Kinect (For Good This Time) With Xbox Series X. gizmodo.com. Retrieved 07-18-2020
  26. Project Scarlett’s name will mirror the console’s capabilities, Microsoft says- PHIL SPENCER EXPLAINS XBOX’S HARDWARE NAMING CONVENTION- VGC
  27. The next-generation Xbox has a much simpler name than you might think: It's actually just 'Xbox'- Business Insider

See also[]

Xbox (2020)
Models Xbox Series XXbox Series S
Accessories Xbox Wireless ControllerSeagate Storage Expansion CardXbox Play & Charge KitXbox Series X Launch Team controller
Games All GamesOptimized for Series XAvailable on Game Pass
Features Quick ResumeSmart DeliveryDynamic Latency InputXbox Velocity Architecture
Software New Xbox Experience (2020)
Services Xbox LiveXbox Live GoldXbox Game PassXbox Game Pass UltimateXbox All Access
Events Xbox 20/20Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2021
Refrigerators Xbox Series X FridgeXbox Mini FridgeZOA Xbox Series X Mini Fridge
Consoles and other devices
Development kits Xbox Alpha Tower IXbox Alpha Tower IIXbox Development KitXbox 360 Development KitXbox One Development Kit
Sixth generation XboxBundles
Seventh generation Xbox 360Xbox 360 SXbox 360 EBundles
Eighth generation Xbox OneXbox One SXbox One XXbox One S All-Digital EditionBundles
Ninth generation Xbox Series XXbox Series S
Cancelled Xbox PrototypeUnreleased Limited Edition Halo XboxXbox Watch
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