At the Game Awards 2020, Microsoft has given us the first look at the next generation Xbox.
The console comes with a redesigned controller.
It still isn't clear if this is the only console Microsoft will launch in 2020.
At the Game Awards 2020, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer took the stage to showcase the Xbox Series X. The game trailer that was shown along with the console was Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. It was touted that the visuals of the game are running in engine. Coming back to the console, the Xbox Series X console has a PC tower-like design with one large vent on the top. This time around, the console wasn't designed keeping a specific form factor in mind. Rather, the power and performance were given preference. At first glance, it's hard to say how tall or thick the console is but according to Gamespot, who have an exclusive on the console, the Xbox Series X is about as thick as an Xbox controller and as tall as three Xbox controllers stacked. The console can be placed horizontally or vertically, based on the user's preference, and the industrial design does look attractive, according to the publication. From the video and images that we have seen, the console looks like the Mi Air Purifier. The colour scheme of the console looks a lot like the Xbox One X. It has one power button on the top with a disc tray and sync button on the front. There is also one USB on the front of the console. There is no information about the connectivity options on the Xbox Series X. According to Gamespot, Spencer said, “We wanted to design a console where the form was driven by the function.”
None of the specifications of the console were revealed however, rumours have been abuzz suggesting that the console is powered by a custom AMD CPU GPU combination. The hardware is said to be at par with what Sony will offer on the PS5. The Xbox Series X is confirmed to have an SSD, although the capacity is not yet known. The console is also confirmed to sport hardware-enabled Ray-Tracing.
Talking about the name of the console, unlike Sony which has had a very traditional naming convention for the PlayStation moving from 1 to 5 for each launch, Microsoft has gone with a different approach. According to Spencer, "in the name 'Series X', it gives us freedom to do other things with that name so that we can create descriptors when we need to." Whether Series X creates confusion with Xbox One X is yet to be seen.
Rumours suggest that Microsoft will launch two variants of Project Scarlett. It could be that Xbox Series X is the more powerful of the two and at E3 2020 we could see Xbox Series S which could be the more affordable option. Just like the rest of the Internet, this is just our speculation.
Moving to the controller, it has seen a slight redesign but is in line with the Xbox One controller. The new controller has already been confirmed to have a built-in battery and USB-C support. The D-Pad has also seen a slight redesign, giving it a look closer to the Elite controller from Xbox. The controller does have a share button enabling users to share with ease. According to Spencer, "There were certain things that we've learned through doing the Elite controller and just listening to fans. One of them is on the d-pad we have a new hybrid d-pad that we've been working on that we think is important, so you'll get a sense of that in the new Xbox wireless controller. We do have a share button. We've heard the feedback. We're not the first ones to do a share button, so we're not going to say that we invented that, but we've heard feedback that sharing is such a part of a gaming experience now for many of our players that I wanted a dedicated hardware button to share, so you'll see that. We'll still have all the rumble triggers and haptic feedback that you've had in the console before."
The design of the controller has been tweaked a bit as well. Instead of having a straight line design at the top of the controller, it is now slightly curved. The controller is also said to be slightly more compact to better fit most hands.
Microsoft’s official release reads, “Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility, allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you. Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way, something that is critically important in delivering truly immersive gameplay. We also designed Xbox Series X to support both vertical and horizontal orientation. It’s bold and unique, very much like our fans around the world and the team of collaborators and innovators who built it. Alongside Xbox Series X, we also unveiled the new Xbox Wireless Controller. Its size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people, and it also features a new Share button to make capturing screenshots and game clips simple and an advanced d-pad derived from the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. The new Xbox Wireless Controller will be compatible with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, and will be included with every Xbox Series X”.
Coming to other technologies, we know that Microsoft’s Project xCloud will come to India in 2020. How the Series X will leverage the power of the cloud is something only time will tell. Microsoft is also working on minimizing latency by leveraging technology such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers new functionality like Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) making the Xbox Series X console more responsive. Could this technology help with cloud gaming as well? The one thing we have seen with Stadia’s launch is that lag and latency still remain a major issue with cloud gaming.
E3 2020 will be a blockbuster event as both Sony and Microsoft are expected to give consumers concrete details like the price and launch dates of the upcoming consoles. Till then you can enjoy the breathtaking trailer for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II below.
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