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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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].

Consoles emitting smoke controversy[edit | edit source]

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.

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

Design[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

SSD storage is a new piece of hardware in the Xbox range of consoles, it allows for improved gameplay, larger game worlds and much faster loading times.

Quick Resume[edit | edit source]

Main article: Quick Resume

The new Quick Resume feature allows multiple games and apps to be suspended at once, allowing the user to pick up from where they left off instantly without the app restarting. 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.

The Xbox Series X will also be able to resume games from where they were left off even after a system reboot.[9]

Dynamic Latency Input[edit | edit source]

(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 [10].

HDMI 2.1[edit | edit source]

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.

Better framerates[edit | edit source]

The Xbox Series X supports up to 120fps, allowing developers of titles to go above and beyond the usual 60fps output from last generation.

Smart Delivery[edit | edit source]

Main article: 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 both Halo Infinite and Cyberpunk 2077. 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.

Specifications[edit | edit source]

Full specifications for the Xbox Series X were officially revealed on March 16, 2020[11].

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[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

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.[12]

"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[13].

New Xbox Experience[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[14] . This means that the console is once again able to play select original Xbox and Xbox 360 games.

Xbox One forwards compatibility[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Controller[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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.

FPS Boost on older titles[edit | edit source]

On February 17, 2021, FPS boost was both announced and introduced to a few select games. The feature allows for the frame rates in select Xbox One backwards compatible games to be improved by two to four times[15][16]. 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[17]. 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[18].

The FPS improvements can be switched 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 FBS boost, a small icon will be shown in the top right whenever the guide is opened while the FPS boosted game is running.

Xbox Series S[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[19].

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. [20]

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.

xCloud[edit | edit source]

Main article: Project X Cloud
It is expected that Xbox Series X will incorporate Project xCloud to make it easier to play Xbox games across a range of devices. The service allows games to be directly streamed to a device without the need to install the game.

The service is currently in its trial stage, with a number of Xbox Insiders testing the service on Android and iOS compatible smart phone and Windows 10 PC's.

In July 2020, in a blog post on Xbox Wire, Phil Spencer revealed that xCloud would be launched some time in September 2020 and would be available to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers at no additional cost.

Leaks[edit | edit source]

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.


Trivia[edit | edit source]

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

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Reference list[edit | edit source]

  1. Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S release date and price finally revealed, Retrieved 09-07-2020
  2. Xbox Series X Reportedly Gets Official US Price, Release Date. Retrieved 09-07-2020
  3. Microsoft confirms $299 Xbox Series S console. Retrieved 09-07-2020
  4. Xbox Series X release date, price, and pre-orders CONFIRMED by Microsoft. Retrieved 09-10-2020
  5. Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Sold Out in Mere Hours. Retrieved 11-04-2020
  7. Xbox Series X/S was the biggest Xbox launch ever. Retrieved 11-12-2020
  8. Xbox Series X|S sales not far behind PS5, analyst says. Retrieved 02-25-21
  9. Xbox Series X's game resume feature even works after a reboot - Engadget
  10. What You Can Expect From the Next Generation of Gaming - Xbox Wire
  11. Xbox Series X: A Closer Look at the Technology Powering the Next Generation. Retreived 09-07-2020
  12. Xbox Series X Should Be Getting A Better Dashboard. Retrieved 25-05-2020
  13. The New Xbox Experience: Connecting You to Fun, Wherever You Want to Play. Retrieved 08-24-2020
  14. Microsoft Kills off Kinect (For Good This Time) With Xbox Series X. Retrieved 07-18-2020
  15. Microsoft is "still evaluating" if FPS Boost can work on Xbox 360-era and older games. Retrieved 02-24-21
  16. Making Backward Compatible Games Even Better with FPS Boost. Retrieved 02-28-21
  17. Xbox Series X could give Xbox 360 and original Xbox games a renaissance. Retrieved 02-28-21
  18. Xbox Series X|S Announces FPS Boost on Backwards Compatible Titles. Retrieved 02-28-21
  19. Project Scarlett’s name will mirror the console’s capabilities, Microsoft says- PHIL SPENCER EXPLAINS XBOX’S HARDWARE NAMING CONVENTION- VGC
  20. The next-generation Xbox has a much simpler name than you might think: It's actually just 'Xbox'- Business Insider

See also[edit | edit source]

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 20/20
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
Limited Edition List of Limited Edition Xbox consolesXbox Launch Team editionConker Reloaded Xbox Limited EditionLimited Edition Halo: Combat Evolved XboxLimited Edition Mountain Dew XboxLimited Edition Grand Theft Auto IV Xbox 360
Cancelled Xbox PrototypeUnreleased Limited Edition Halo XboxXbox Watch
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