Everything we know about the Xbox Series X

This looks like a beast of a machine.

Screengrab via Microsoft

Microsoft got ahead of the competition by shadow launching the reveal trailer for its new Xbox console at The Game Awards 2019.

The Xbox Series X is going to be the next iteration of Microsoft’s console gaming experience, and we know a lot more about the business model, specs, and other areas of the machine now that it has officially been shown. 

Even though there is more information out there, more will be coming out in the coming months as we approach the period where Microsoft and Sony will open up pre-orders for the next generation of consoles. But here is what we know about the Xbox Series X so far. 

Basics

Just going off of the name and how the new Xbox looks, it appears Microsoft is leaning into the PC aesthetic and business model with the console set to have multiple different variations available for purchase. 

The main difference between the different models within Series X will be the tech going into them and the performance you would get out of them. We have only seen one version of the console now, but with the rumors of a cheaper model, codenamed Project Lockhart, it seems very likely. 

But even excluding the different models, Series X is set to be the most powerful Xbox yet. If Project Lockhart is real, then it will still be more powerful than even the Xbox One X, which is currently the most powerful console on the market. 

We also know that development kits for the console are already out in the wild, with all 15 Xbox Games Studios and other companies working on titles for next-gen. And don’t worry about missing out on any games from the Xbox One either because Series X is going to be fully backward compatible. 

Console and controller design

The PC tower-looking box can be used horizontally or vertically. It is also only slightly wider than an Xbox Controller when you have it set vertically, so you should be able to fit the console somewhat easily into your setup.

And speaking of the controller, it is essentially just the Xbox One controller with an added share button in the center. The D-Pad has also been replaced by the one from the Elite Series of controllers and it appears to be slightly smaller with different curvature, which will likely improve how it feels in your hands. 

You can still use your original Xbox One controllers with this new console, so it makes sense why Microsoft is not making any drastic changes to the design. 

All of the ports appear to be on the back of the console just like the Xbox One, but there is still a single USB port on the front to allow easy access for controller charging or connecting wired accessories. A disc drive, power button, and apparent wireless sync button are also included on the face side.

Specs

Just like with the PS5, we know that Series X is going to be moving over to SSD storage to improve load times and streamline how developers can program their games for both consoles and PC. This will also greatly improve how most older games perform on the newer consoles. 

Series X is also being developed using a custom processor that Microsoft has been working on with AMD, which will use Zen 2 and Navi cards, which both have high-end performance. The console will be roughly four times more powerful than the Xbox One X and could potentially support 8k gaming resolutions in the future. 

Like with the PS5, which is also working with AMD for a custom processor, this will allow Series X to run games at 120 FPS and will support ray-tracing. It will also reportedly have 16 GB of GDDR6 memory, an upgrade from the 16 GB of GDDR5 of last gen.  

“I think the area that we really want to focus on next-generation is frame rate and playability of the games,” executive VP of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer said in an interview with GameSpot. “Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible.”

There will be a disc drive included in at least one model of Series X and most Xbox One accessories will work with the newer console, including controllers. 

Price

There is no confirmation on what the Series X console will cost at launch, but the Xbox team has made it clear that they will not be making the same mistake in pricing that they made with the Xbox One. 

“I would say a learning from the Xbox One generation is we will not be out of position on power or price,” Spencer said to The Verge. “If you remember the beginning of this generation we were a hundred dollars more expensive and yes, we were less powerful. And we started Project Scarlett with this leadership team in place with a goal of having market success.”

Considering the original Xbox One launched at $500 and then quickly dropped to match the PS4 at $400, this new, more powerful set of consoles will probably launch with the base version sitting at around $500. If there are multiple variations, a more expensive and powerful model will probably cost somewhere around $600.

Sony and Microsoft might try to launch at an even lower entry-level, starting at $400 to try and get more hardware out into the wild so software sales will rise faster. 

There is also the Xbox All Access program that allows users to lease an Xbox One console and then upgrade to a Series X unit after 12 months on the plan. That deal starts at $19.99 and includes two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, so that is another wrinkle into the business model.

Either way, expect a price reveal for Series X sometime in early 2020.

Release Date

The Xbox Series X will launch during the 2020 holiday season. With that release date, it can be out before the seasonal rush of Black Friday and Christmas shopping season. 

Both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One released on Nov. 22 of their launch years, so expect a similar date for Series X in whatever form or variations it releases with. Likewise, the PlayStation 5 will also be releasing in a similar time frame, although Sony prefers to release closer to Nov. 15.