Microsoft has taken the wraps off its next-gen Xbox game console and the Xbox Series X is either a big console or a small gaming PC, depending on how you look at it.

It’s not expected to ship until the 2020 holiday season, but Microsoft revealed the basics of the upcoming console during the Game Awards last night.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft says the Xbox Series X will be the company’s “fastest, most powerful console ever.” It’d be silly to release a next-gen model that wasn’t. But the company says the system will feature an AMD Zen 2-based processor, RDNA graphics, and support for GDDR6 memory and NVMe storage. It’s designed to be able to handle 4K/60fps performance.

In some situations, the system may be able to handle content up to 8K, and frame rates up to 120 FPS with support for variable refresh rates.

Microsoft says the Series X has four times the processing power of the Xbox One X.

Of course, that kind of performance currently requires high-power chips that generate a lot of heat, which means you need a lot of cooling power to offer smooth gameplay. So the Xbox Series X’s big, boxy design makes sense. The company does promise “quiet and efficient” performance though, so hopefully this thing won’t run up your electric bill too much or cause too much noise pollution.

The console can be used standing up or you can lay it sideways if it fits into your home theater setup better that way.

With many Xbox titles also running on Windows PCs, you could theoretically just use a gaming computer instead — but consoles do have a few advantages. They tend to be cheaper than gaming computers with bleeding edge specs. The user interface tends to be simpler. And you don’t have to worry about minimum specs — if a title is designed to run on the Xbox Series X, you should be able to run it on your Xbox Series X without needing to upgrading the CPU, GPU, or other hardware.

Another advantage is backward compatibility — Microsoft says its next-gen game console will support “thousands of games from three generations” of Xbox consoles.

Microsoft is also introducing a new Xbox Wireless Controller with an integrated Share button for saving screenshots and clips and sharing them online. The controller will be compatible with Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One and later consoles.

There’s no word on the pricing, but Microsoft has revealed one upcoming games for the console including Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II:



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15 Comments

  1. They are already basically PCs so the comment about its “backwards compatibility” made me chuckle.

    Ill believe 4k 60fps when i see it, Im expecting more “dynamic” trickery as the last time I checked playing AAA at 4k 60fps SOLID took more then a fair bit of computing grunt most high level desktops still don’t have.

    Also MS/Sony/Whoever, Ill never watch a game stream, Ill never stream myself…..ever…..not even once just to try it out, PLEASE stop wasting your efforts and our consoles resources on this “feature”, also please stop shoving your stream services down my throat, do not need a dedicated homepage for it on my dashboard nor go ifgaf when some 30+ year old teenager thats never had a real job is playing a video game i can watch. thanks in advance for listening to your customers!! /S

    1. Well, yes and no.
      The PS4/Pro is not a PC. It’s an ARM-based machine, which has a secondary-x86 cores in a “Custom PC” format to run video games. It’s weird but it works. Check out the schematics and software if you do not believe me. We don’t know if the PS5 will become more Xbox-like in hardware, or if it will stay mostly like a Console configuration like the PS4.

      Whereas, the Xbox One is mostly a Mini PC running a Lighter-OS. The Xbox One S and X are much more custom, when looking at their hardware, so they’re “less pc, more console”. Yet all three are able to emulate the original Xbox and Xbox 360 games (which is definitely a Console and Not-PC/Custom) in either software or hardware-acceleration. I’m certainly more excited about Xbox playing all previous titles, with maybe enhancements, since I know the PS5 will not be able to run PS3 games. However, what makes-breaks my choice for the console depends mostly on which games or exclusives they have on offer.

      As for the 4K@60fps, it’s possible and it is easy. It would require developers to be more careful with their graphical settings. You can notice this in the early games for the PS4 Pro/Xbox Scorpio, when the developers let you choose between fluidity (+60fps, 1080p, Low Settings), balanced (High Settings, +1080p Checkerboard, +30fps), and resolution (+1800p Checkerboard, Medium Settings, 30fps). While giving developers the option to tweak things traditionally went well, the industry has changed from high quality content, into higher quantity financial choices.

      It would be a good idea for both Sony and Microsoft demand that all games for the PS5 and Xbox SX at a minimum support 4K and 60fps and FreeSync2 and HDR10. That way games that were meant to look great will remain great, and games that were destined to look “off” will be (have to) improved by the developers. Because the developers will design games with the PS4 first, as that’s the largest platform to target. Then they might try to improve the graphics if they feel like it, or if they have enough time, or if they put in the needed developer/money. Such a hammerfist policy by Sony/MS would cause developers to develop something spectacular for PC first, and then gradually scale-down the quality depending on the console. It sounds ambitious but that’s exactly what we got with 2018’s Far Cry 5, which is still the best (one of?) looking game on PC, and on Xbox One X, and on PS4 Pro, and on PS4, and on Xbox One. And we can expect that level of care when looking at other games such as Shadow of Tomb Raider, RedDead R2, Mortal Kombat 11, F1 2019, Cyber Punk etc etc.

      1. Im not sure exactly what you’re saying here other then to you, a PC = x86, which just isn’t the case, nor was it ever something i claimed, CPU arch has absolutely nothing to do with a device being a PC or not, there are wifi routers I can install working linux on and fire up libreoffice if I felt then and maybe more to the point I had linux running on my dreamcast back in 00. So maybe the PC vs consoles from the past 2 decades is really semantics at this point. (maybe if I clarified I mean PC as personal computer not The IBM Personal Computer)

        4K@60fps easy? ok then why is everyone struggling to hit that on PCs without spending over a grand just on graphics alone? I fully understand checkerboarding but all of that is word vomit and not relevant to simply needing more power, plain and simple. Is it POSSIBLE, totally, but Im going to be shocked if the next gen consoles can run COD, Forza, or Fallen Order 4K@60fps with all the candy turned on without graphics trickery. 4K@60fps on Overwatch or Fortnite is BS…plain and simple the tech hasn’t been pushed just so we can play Minecraft in 4K HDR (non rtx version of course), I realize that sadly the masses seem to be ok with buying and supporting things like Wiis and Switches and not pushing the already far from bleeding console edge further then we are……but that doesn’t make it right.To clarify also, Im the kinda cat when I hear 4K video, I think UHD blurays with chokingly high bitrates and full lush colors with dripping sound……not Netflix/Appletv/Disney+/Primes sad, sad excuse for 4K with their sub 20mbps streams. Im also curious as tp why you’d think ps3 software is beyond the ps5, i realize its a different arch but Im 99% sure current PS3 emus can run pretty well on systems spec’d lesser then a version 1 Xbox One and very well on system,s spec’d around a PS5

        And you’re right about a minimum level of quality might be a good thing, but you said it yourself, higher quantity financials, so that’ll never happen.

        At any rate I stand by my second paragraph in my above post, Ill believe it when i see it…….and of course, Ill buy 1 either way.

        1. For the “PC” argument, see my reply below to Miguel.

          Now, as for the graphics, you kind of got where I was going but didn’t get exactly there.
          Yes you can run Solitaire, Minecraft, Rocket League, Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, and FIFA, no problem. But those are “graphically light” games which you boost to 4K 60fps. There’s also the “graphically mediocre” games like Forza or Mortal Kombat which you tweak for 4K 60fps. And the opposite is true as well, take the “graphically heavy” games like BF1 or CyberPunk, they need to be scaled-backwards to be playable at 4K 60fps. Remember there are three MAJOR factors when it comes to visual fidelity: framerate, resolution, settings level.

          I want you to think of Gaming PCs for a moment, and think of the most graphically demanding game out there which is highly optimised. I think that honour goes to Far Cry 5.

          Did you know you can run the game at a locked-60fps, with 4K resolution, but on “Low Settings” with the GTX 1070 Ti? Yep! You can even toggle on HDR10+ mode. And while the framerate isn’t the buttery 144Hz smooth, it is smooth nonetheless. And the “Low Settings” don’t look like a potato, they’re actually pretty decent, what you would find as “Medium Settings” in most other games. Heck, Doom 2016 can (barely) run at 4K-60fps on a GTX 1060!!

          Now imagine a game that isn’t as graphically demanding as Far Cry 5. And it is slightly more optimised/efficient. Plus it is running on a slightly more powerful graphics card.
          …does it seem farfetched now?
          The PS5 and Xbox X are around (supposedly) the performance of the GTX 1070 Ti, have the massive benefit of console/good optimisation, and have most games that aren’t even graphically heavy. It is totally viable for Sony and Microsoft to implement a “minimum standard” for the Game Publishers to stick to, such as, 4K, HDR10+, 60fps, and FreeSync2 support. And as I postulated, this would probably be for the benefit of consumers, Sony and MS, and would force the developers to work on quality rather than quantity.

        1. The PS4 has x86-cores, sure. But those are its secondary cores. It is definitely NOT a 100% x86 machine.

          It’s primary cores are actually an ARM Cortex M4, made by Marvell.
          When you turn it on, these are the cores that turn on and process things for the boot process. They then activate the secondary cores, which is the AMD APU. When you turn the PS4 off, the AMD APU is turned off by this ARM SoC, which stays active to flash the storage or to parse updates to the system. It connects to most of the modules and basically acts like a Southbridge, but it isn’t one. Technically it is the primary processor, but people call it the secondary processor, since it doesn’t run the software for the games. Call it semantics.

          So you see, the PS4 is actually very different to a Gaming PC that you can build from similar x86-APU parts. It really is a “console” and NOT a glorified pc.

          Watch here:

  2. All game consoles are PC’s these days.

    The PS4 was nothing more than a modified AMD laptop running FreeBSD.

    Xbox One was similar hardware and even OG Xbox was Intel/Nvidia.

  3. What makes a personal computer a personal computer is the software.
    I’ll consider an Xbox to be a PC when it runs Office.
    (not that that’s necessarily smart for Microsoft to actually do)

  4. This is an odd form factor. Even laying on its side it looks like it might be sort of tall and narrow for any sort of entertainment center.
    I guess it would work fine on a desk?

    1. I think they planned on it standing right next to the TV.
      But most people don’t have that extra space. So it will stand behind the TV, or below the TV awkwardly on its side.

      I can see what the designers and executives were going for, it’s too bad most people don’t have fancy houses with fancy furniture. And because of their detached/out-of-touch perspectives; we get this absurdity. Compare that to the original Xbox 360 which is the best (one of?) designed console so far, in both aesthetics and practicality.

      All I can say, is that from what we know of the Xbox SX, it might push more people over to Gaming PC’s. And a decent build in something like the SilverStone RVZ02 or Ncase M1, is going to be objectively better.

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