Xbox Series X release date, specs, design and launch titles for the next Xbox

Xbox Series X is the next-generation Xbox. Previously known by its codename 'Xbox Project Scarlett', the Xbox Series X was officially revealed at The Game Awards 2019 with a trailer that showed off the next Xbox in all its glory.

So far we know when the next Xbox will release, its official name and a couple of the console's launch titles, as well as information on backwards compatibility and how cross-gen game ownership will work under the new 'Smart Delivery' initiative. We also know it will have a slightly redesigned controller that should be more accessible, and offer 1TB SSD upgrades from Seagate.   

From what we've seen so far, it looks like the Xbox Series X will sport a blockier style that's similar to that of a small gaming PC. More importantly, we now know what's inside the console thanks to Microsoft giving us the Series X's full specs and can say for sure that the new Xbox is going to be an absolute powerhouse. 

But Xbox Series X will not be the only next-generation hardware on offer from Microsoft. The company has confirmed that the next-generation family of consoles will be called 'Xbox' and that 'Series X' is just one of the consoles within that family that's likely to include a cheaper disc-drive free version as well.

So what exactly has Microsoft got to offer? How will it compare to the PS5? Let's break down everything we know about the Xbox Series X.

[UPDATE: We could see PS5 and Xbox Series X games sooner than expected – here's why. Read on to find out more.]

  • What is it? Xbox Series X will be the next-gen Xbox console
  • Xbox Series X release date: "Holiday 2020" – so between October and December
  • What can I play on it? Halo Infinite and Hellblade 2, while all previous generations of Xbox console games will be covered by backwards compatibility.
  • What will the Xbox Series X cost? No prices yet, and we're not expecting it to be cheap. But Microsoft has said it won't be making the same pricing mistakes as last generation so perhaps we'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • Will Xbox Series X have VR? Microsoft has confirmed Xbox Series X won't have VR at launch, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer saying the company is waiting until Xbox VR is a "no-brainer".
  • Will coronavirus delay the Xbox Series X release? There have been rumors this could happen. We don't think that'll be the case and Microsoft is still citing the same release window.

Xbox Series X

Microsoft has given the release window of "Holiday 2020" – which means we'll likely see the Xbox Series X release between October and December this year.

However, it's possible that the release date will be November 26, 2020 (AKA Thanksgiving in the US). An image stating the Xbox Series X is "coming Thanksgiving 2020" (shown above) appeared on a number of product pages around the world briefly before being reverted back to to the previously announced Holiday 2020 release window.

A Microsoft spokesperson responded to TechRadar to clarify, saying "An Xbox product page in some regions inaccurately listed the launch date for Xbox Series X as Thanksgiving 2020. We are committed to launching Holiday 2020.” 

Despite concerns that the Xbox Series X will be delayed due to Covid-19, Microsoft is still citing the same release window and Xbox boss Phil Spencer told IGN: "We have nothing right now that says that we're not going to make the dates that we've been planning."

However, we are expecting the Xbox Series X launch to be digital event as a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer that the company is adjusting its event calendar due to the pandemic, stating that:

"For the remainder of 2020 we are embracing the opportunity to experiment with new platforms to provide our partners, customers and developers the highest quality, digital-first experiences."

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Xbox Series X

Microsoft won't be pinned down on an Xbox Series X price point quite yet – unsurprisingly, given what a sore spot the price of the Xbox One was for fans. At launch, the original Xbox One cost a whopping $499 / £429 / AU$599, which was quickly reduced when Microsoft realized people weren't forking out.

Microsoft has at the very least promised that it's learned from this pricing mistake, with Phil Spencer stating that this time "we will not be out of position on power or price.” That doesn't mean that the console will be cheap, mind you, it just means the price point will be better aligned with the console's power and the price points of the competition. 

After all, Jason Ronald, director of the Xbox platform, gave only a vague reassurance when speaking to Windows Central, saying that Microsoft knew "what reasonable price points are for a console and kind of what customers expect about that".

When it comes to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, players see 'affordable price' as the most important factor, according to a Twitter poll by Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon. Boon asked Twitter users what the most important thing was for them when it comes to next-gen consoles. The poll received a total of 50,295 responses, with a 37.5% majority of users saying 'affordable price' was the most important factor. 'Plays last-gen games' (AKA backwards compatibility) came second with 30%, 'better graphics' received 19.2% of votes, while 'exclusive games' was the least important with just 13.2% of votes. 

It's worth noting that a Twitter poll isn't exactly reflective of the overall player base, especially as it's unlikely younger players will be on the platform. So, while this poll can be useful as a steer, the reality is likely to be a lot more complex. Regardless, we expect price to be a key factor in whether players pick up a PS5 or Xbox Series X – even if it's not the most important.

Price will at least in part be determined by the cost of the components going into the console: Xbox Series X is going to be a lot more powerful than either the Xbox One S or Xbox One X, and that will likely mean we're looking at an even higher price tag on any bundles and Xbox Series X pre-orders. 

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Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X components. (Image credit: Microsoft)

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) 7nm
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6
  • Storage: 1TB custom NVMe SSD
  • Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray
  • Ports: HDMI 2.1 output, 3x USB 3.2, networking port, expanded storage slot, power input
  • 120 fps support
  • Potential 8K resolutions
  • Ray-tracing technology
  • Variable Rate Shading for more stable frame rates
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories
  • Smart Delivery

We now know what Xbox Series X looks like and what it's packing under the hood, and it's going to be an absolute beast of a console.The next Xbox's gaming PC design is pretty apt, considering the next-gen console's internal hardware is comparable to one – so make sure you check out our Xbox Series X spec analysis.

Microsoft has finally revealed the Xbox Series X specifications in full, leaving no one in doubt about how powerful its next-generation games console will be.

The folks over at Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry got a close look at the hardware, and alongside Microsoft have announced the hardware that will be powering the Xbox Series X.

According to Digital Foundry, the specs confirm that the Xbox Series X will indeed be twice as powerful as the Xbox Once X… in practise.

Digital Foundry saw an unoptimized version of Gears 5 running on the Xbox Series X running at the equivalent of ‘Ultra’ graphics settings on PC, and it comes with enhanced shadows and ray tracing. Where the cut scenes ran at 30FPS on the Xbox One X, Digital Foundry reported that on the Xbox Series X, it runs at a ‘flawless’ 60FPS. Also, this is an early port – on release we should see even better results.

As expected, the Xbox Series X processor is built into a custom Project Scarlett SoC (System on Chip), which uses an enhanced version of TSMC’s 7nm process. That seven nanometers is important. The smaller the process, the more efficient the chip can be. That means it can provide more performance for less power.

Making sure the chip inside a games console can perform well without using lots of power (and getting hot) is incredibly important. Based on the prototype hardware Digital Foundry seen, the Xbox Series X reportedly ships with a 315W power supply – delivered internally but the console is also equipped with parallel cooling architecture, allowing cool air in and letting that cool air stream through separate areas of the console.

The processor is a customized AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores and 16 threads, with a peak speed of 3.8GHz, and a base speed of 3.6GHz.

As Digital Foundry reveals, these frequencies aren’t completely locked, which suggests the Xbox Series X could adjust the power of the CPU based on workload and thermals. So, if you’re playing a game that needs a lot of processing power, the Xbox Series X can give its CPU a boost, and then slow it down when you don’t need it.

Meanwhile, the GPU of the Xbox Series X is revealed at a custom design with 12 teraflops of compute performance, with 3328 shaders allocated to 52 compute units, and runs at a locked 1,825 MHz. Interestingly, there’s no boost clocks for the GPU. It will always run at that speed.

It also uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, and offers ray tracing for photo-realistic lighting.

What does this mean in the real world? It seems the Xbox Series X will have the graphical power acquirement to a gaming PC with an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card. So, a very capable device indeed, but maybe not able to compete with the most powerful gaming PCs.

The Xbox Series X also gets 16GB of GDDR6 memory – an upgrade from the Xbox One X’s 12GB GDDR5.

That won’t all be used in games, however. Games will get a total of 13.5GB – 10GB of GPU optimal memory and 3.5GB of standard memory, while the remaining 2.5GB is reserved for the operating system.

The faster GDDR6 memory should also offer a big leap in performance. Match that with a super-fast NVMe SSD, and the Xbox Series X should feel very spritely when used.

There’s still a lot of questions over what kind of performance we can expect from the Xbox Series X, but this is by far the best look at the hardware we’ve seen.

Xbox Series X

Microsoft is aiming to get Xbox Series X games to run at 60 FPS in 4K, calling the challenge a "design goal". The console will support up to 120 FPS too.

Despite 4K being the aim, Microsoft has said the Xbox Series X has 8K capability. Phil Spencer even changed his Twitter profile photo to (what appeared to be) a picture of the next-gen Xbox Series X's processor. It said 'Project Scarlett' on it, and was marked with '8K' (pictured above), suggesting Microsoft plans on doing more than simply talking the talk when it comes to 8K. 

The Xbox Series X will also feature Variable Rate Shading, which prioritizes effects on different in-game characters and objects for a "more stable frame rate and higher resolution", according to Microsoft.

Not only will games look better, they could be bigger. In an interview with PCGamesN, Samsung revealed that it's talking with Microsoft and pushing the gaming behemoth to adopt ultrawide support for the Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series X will make good use of having an SSD – a 'Quick Resume' feature for the console will let you "almost instantly" continue with multiple games, without the need to sit through load screens. 

Microsoft also aims to improve latency through features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).  According to Microsoft, "ALLM allows Xbox One and Xbox Series X to automatically set the connected display to its lowest latency mode". While "VRR synchronizes the display’s refresh rate to the game’s frame rate, maintaining smooth visuals without tearing". These features aim to minimize lag and make gaming more responsive.

If you're less bothered about the specs and more concerned about whether you can still play physical games on the next Xbox, then you'll be pleased to know that Xbox Series X has a physical disc drive.

Microsoft has also confirmed that all your current Xbox One accessories will work with Xbox Series X, including existing controllers and headsets. But we'd doubt that also includes the ill-fated Kinect motion tracker.

That means that the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 will be forward compatible with Series X, but Microsoft is also launching a next-generation wireless controller to accompany the new console.

But don't expect the Xbox Series X to launch with VR support as, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, Microsoft is waiting until VR on Xbox becomes a "no brainer". However, right now, the company doesn't see the feature as "so important" on its next-gen hardware.

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Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X has a completely different design to its predecessors. For a start, the next-gen console has an upright tower design – similar to that of a gaming PC. However, Microsoft has confirmed Series X can sit horizontally or vertically. 

From what we seen in the Series X reveal trailer, the console is black with slightly indented cooling vent on the top (with what seems to be a green light inside). The Xbox logo sits small on the top left hand corner of the console and there's still a disc drive – which is placed vertically on the left hand side also.

The Xbox Series X has the following ports: HDMI 2.1 output port, three USB 3.2 ports, one networking port, an expanded storage slot and a power input port.

The console reportedly measures 15.1cm x 15.1cm x 30.1cm and weighs 4.45kg/9.8lbs. 

Xbox Series X

While these images have been circling for a while now, we still weren't entirely sure what that mystery port was – until now. Thurrott claims that sources "familiar with the company's plans" have identified the port as being for storage expansion.

Microsoft hasn't confirmed it this is the case, but we wouldn't be surprised if it was seeing as external storage was supported with the Xbox One – but whether we see it included in the final Series X product is still uncertain. 

Xbox Series X

Microsoft is releasing an Xbox Series X controller to accompany its next generation console. The new Xbox Wireless Controller will apparently be more accessible to everyone, as Microsoft has made an effort to refine the size and shape. 

This shouldn't be too surprising to anyone that's been following the tech giant, as it's been making waves for accessibility in gaming for a while now with products like the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Along with enhanced accessibility, we'll also be getting a dedicated share button (finally) that will let you share screenshots and videos with your friends.

Microsoft has also revealed that it is optimizing latency in the "player-to-console pipeline" starting with our Xbox Wireless Controller, through a new feature called Dynamic Latency input. According to the company, this feature "synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed", making controls "more precise and responsive".

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Xbox Series X

During the Xbox Series X's official reveal, Phil Spencer said Series X games will be "more lifelike, immersive and surprising" and that the Xbox Series X will "lead us into the future of gaming". He also stated that 15 Xbox Game Studios are building a huge next-generation library that includes Hellblade II: Senua's Saga and Halo Infinite.

Not a Halo fan? Don't worry, Xbox Series X will be capable of four generations of backwards compatibility – with the feature available from launch. That means the Series X will be able to play existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. These games will apparently get more consistent frame rates, quicker load times and "improved resolution and visual fidelity", without requiring additional work from developers. Xbox One accessories will also be backwards compatible.

Not only is Microsoft doubling down on backwards compatibility, but the company is also introducing a new system called Smart Delivery to the Series X that, in some respects, could be seen as forwards compatibility.

With the Xbox Series X, Smart Delivery will seemingly ensure that you have the right version of a game, no matter which Xbox console you’ve bought it on. So, for instance, if you were to buy a cross-generation game on the Xbox One, you’ll have a souped-up version waiting for you as soon as you fire up the more-powerful Xbox Series X. Microsoft’s first-party titles will offer this by default, but it’s a feature that will be optional for third-party developers and publishers.

CD Projekt Red has confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 will make use of Smart Delivery and will offer those who own Cyberpunk on Xbox One the ability to upgrade to the Xbox Series X version for free. In addition, the company has revealed that, while Cyberpunk will be available on Xbox Series X "from the get-go", a "proper, full-blown next-gen" version of the game will come at a later date. This is apparently the upgrade the developer was referring to.

In addition, Microsoft will avoid siloing by taking a cross-generation approach to its first-party games. Talking to Stevivor, Phil Spencer said Microsoft wants to create a console that utilizes Xbox Play Anywhere so you can move seamlessly between devices: "Our goal for our first-party games is that your entitlements will be cross-generation and your Achievements will move effectively with your save game because that’s where they stand.”

As far as third-parties are concerned, we already have confirmation that a remake of THQ Nordic's cult classic Gothic, Gollum, WRC 9, Dying Light 2, Cyberpunk 2077 and Outriders will land on Xbox Series X. In addition, Ubisoft has confirmed that Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Gods and Monsters are all coming to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 – with a new Assassin's Creed and Far Cry also rumored to be coming to the platforms. We also know Rainbow Six Siege will be available on Xbox Series X and PS5 from launch.

In addition, not only has EA has said that Battlefield 6 will be coming to Xbox Series X, but the company has sung the praises of the incoming next-generation machines during an investor call. 

"The power of the new consoles is gonna be substantially greater than existing consoles," said EA CFO Blake Jorgensen. "We can do a lot more [with PS5 and Xbox Series X]. Things we’re doing will blow people’s minds."

There's plenty to look forward to and now that next generation announcements are coming in, we'll be holding our breath waiting for updates from other publishers. 

Xbox Series X

It seems, at least for now, that game developers are more interested in creating games for the PS5 than Series X.

That's according to GDC's State of the Game Industry 2020 survey, which surveyed 4,000 game developers on a variety of industry topics ahead of GDC 2020 in March. And, of course, the next-gen consoles were top of the agenda.

When asked which platform they planned to launch their next project on, 23% of those surveyed said the PlayStation 5, while 17% said the Xbox Series X and 19% said the Nintendo Switch.

When it comes to the platform devs are most intrigued by, the PS5 once again leads the pack when it comes to consoles, with 38%, but the Switch only just behind on 37%. Again, the Xbox Series X is seriously lagging behind, piquing the interest of just 25% of devs. 

The survey also revealed that 10% of developers are currently working on a game for the next-gen consoles.

While there's more interest in the PS5 now, Microsoft could potentially shift the scale as it reveals more details on Series X. Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass is also gathering more and more steam, bringing players (and devs) back to the Xbox platform.

We're also hoping that, by the time Series X launches, Microsoft's game-streaming service Project xCloud may be out of public testing and we should hopefully be able to enjoy Series X games on-the-go.

For those who aren't quite sold on upgrading to Series X quite yet, but still want to check out the best upcoming games, Microsoft has stated that there won't be Xbox Series X exclusive games for at least a year and, for the foreseeable future, new games are planned to work across the Xbox family of devices. That means you'll still be able to play them on Xbox One.

In an interview with MCV, head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, has said that as “content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices.” The plan is that “if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”

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Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series X will not be the only console in Microsoft's next generation lineup.

While we were all pretty excited when Microsoft unveiled the next Xbox (formerly known as Xbox Project Scarlett) at the Game Awards 2019, it appears that the upcoming console's name isn't quite what we thought – and it will belong to a family.

While we assumed that the next generation console is called 'Xbox Series X', Microsoft has clarified that, in fact, the family of consoles will be called 'Xbox' and that 'Series X' is just one of the consoles within the family. We know, it's a bit confusing.

Speaking to Business Insider after the reveal, a Microsoft representative tried to clear up any potential confusion.

"The name we're carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox," the representative told Business Insider. "And at The Game Awards you saw that name come to life through the Xbox Series X." 

"Similar to what fans have seen with previous generations, the name 'Xbox Series X' allows room for additional consoles in the future," the representative continued.

This clarification from Microsoft serves to further fuel rumors that another next generation Xbox console is on the way.

Rumors have circulated for some time about a lower-cost next-gen Xbox console that would sit just below the high-end Xbox Series X.

The most solid information on this (so far) had come from a report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, who claims there is indeed a lower-specced console in the works from Microsoft that will still play all the next-gen games.

Project Lockhart will be disc-less console – a trait that it will carry forward from the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition - but Kotaku's sources believe it will be substantially more powerful than Microsoft’s current disc-less box, and will come with both a solid-state hard drive and a faster CPU than any current game console.

The report goes on to say that Microsoft told developers to shoot for a 1440p resolution and 60 frames-per-second frame rate with Project Lockhart and 4K/60 with Project Scarlett, and those same developers have likened the performance of the lower-end console to the PS4 Pro. 

It seems Project Lockhart will primarily see use as a digital gateway for both Microsoft’s game-streaming service, Project xCloud, and its Xbox Game Pass service. From what we know, it will sit below Series X and be a less powerful – but more affordable – option.

We already know what the Xbox Series X will look like, a few of the features on offer and a good deal about specs the next Xbox is boasting. However, we're still expecting Microsoft to hold an official Xbox Series X reveal event.

This event will likely be digital and should fill in the gaps when it comes to details like the Xbox Series X price and what games we'll be playing outside of Hellblade 2 and Halo Infinite.

We were expecting this event to take place during E3 2020, which Microsoft was confirmed to be attending; however the convention has been cancelled, leaving us in the dark about when we'll hear more on the next Xbox. But E3's cancellation may mean that we get an Xbox Series X reval event sooner than expected.

Prominent industry analyst, Daniel Ahmad, claims that the cancellation of E3 2020 has meant that many announcements and reveals have been moved, and that the first proper next-gen showcase will be much earlier.

While Ahmad has teased that one of next-gen showcases has been brought forward due to E3's cancellation, he didn't confirm which one. Ahmad also added the caveat that, due to Covid-19, these plans could change.

However, we can speculate that it may be Microsoft's Xbox Series X that will be showcased earlier. Now that Microsoft is no longer confirmed to E3 2020 week, the company would be able to show off its console sooner as a direct result – if it was ready. 

We already know that Microsoft is transitioning to digital events for the rest of 2020, with the Xbox Series X launch likely to be online-only.

It's worth noting that, while Ahmad is a reliable industry source, any rumors should be treated with skepticism. Let's just hope we don't have to wait long until this showcase is confirmed – whoever's it is.

We'll update you as soon as we have news on the official Xbox Series X reveal event.

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