Microsoft’s been drip-feeding information on the Xbox Series X for a while now – and that’s not really changed. They have, however, given us a lot more new information on how the Xbox Series X will work, a little more information on how much compute power the machine will have, and some details on how its resuming features and backwards compatibility will work.
For starters, the machine will allow developers to use 12 TFLOPS of GPU power, which is twice as many of the FLOPS as the Xbox One X. The machine will (as we already know) support hardware-based Ray-tracing, along with something called Variable Rate Shading. Instead of trying to explain that, I’ll let Microsoft do it:
“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. This technique results in more stable frame rates and higher resolution, with no impact on the final image quality.”
The most interesting thing (to me, anyway) is that thanks to the next-gen SSD, the Xbox Series X will allow players to suspend and then resume multiple games. that means you could jump straight into where you left off in Halo, before instantly jumping to a spot in Gears, or carrying on in Forza. I’ve been told that the system supports up to 5 games cycled this way, and will even resume games in case the power’s gone off. No worries!
Microsoft also says that the new machine will have far less latency between player and console, giving for a much more enjoyable experience.
“We’re optimizing latency in the player-to-console pipeline starting with our Xbox Wireless Controller, which leverages our high bandwidth, proprietary wireless communication protocol when connected to the console. With Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), a new feature which synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed, controls are even more precise and responsive.”
Using HDMI 2.1 features, the Xbox Series X will automatically use TV’s lowest latency modes, along with support for variable refresh rates (like G-Sync or Freesync). The Xbox will also support up to 120fps, though that would require TVs or monitors that support those refresh rates.
As we’ve sort of know, the Xbox Series X will have compatibility across four generations of Xbox, with games from the original Xbox all the way to Xbox Series generation games playable on one machine – 2with all Xbox One accessories coming along for the next generation ride. The new system will also support Game Pass, giving players a huge library of games to play from day one. Xbox games will use smart delivery and cross-generational entitlements, so if you buy a game on Xbox One, for example, the Xbox Series X version will work on your new machine.
“This technology empowers you to buy a game once and know that – 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. We’re making the commitment to use Smart Delivery on all our exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, ensuring you only have to purchase a title once in order to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on. This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be release on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.”
All told, it sounds like a lovely, consumer-centric machine. With that sort of ethos and the focus on services like Game Pass, I have to say that I might stick with Xbox for the next generation.
Last Updated: February 24, 2020