Xbox Series X - Here's what we know about the new Microsoft console

Established in the video game industry for many years, Microsoft products by now it cannot fail to respond to the appeal of a new generation of consoles, which would therefore see the monopoly of Sony to have as the only effective competitor Nintendo. We have already been used to it, starting from the now aged Xbox One, to hear about hardware updates long before they're actually ready to be revealed in their entirety. The general public that actively participates in the sector thus begins to talk about the future that seems ever closer, as is precisely the case for the very recent Xbox Series X.

Unveiled in recent months under the deliberately codenamed Project Scarlett, the hardware of the ninth generation of Microsoft consoles was officially shown during the important event of the The Game Awards 2019. Just like it happened for Project Scorpio which became Xbox One X, the new machine has completely changed its name, taking a totally different final tip. The CEO of the Xbox division Phil Spencer revealed in fact already in recent days that the final name of the new platform would have been particularly symbolic and intuitive, and that he himself would reveal some detail about the machine he was ready to represent.

Among other things, it is possible to immediately realize how this name opens the possibility to new hardware revisions. Xbox consoles often regret not having chosen the path of numbers, as Sony did in 1994, as misunderstandings continue to arise day after day due to names that are perhaps too complex and unrelated to each other. We must also not forget that in recent months the rumors have clearly spoken of two consoles protagonists of the new Microsoft generation with the summary code name Scarlett: Lockhart (less powerful) e Anaconda (more powerful and now finally revealed).

So, after the official announcement of Xbox Series X (precisely Anaconda), we are here to talk to you about all the details currently in our possession on the hardware in question and its functions. We will also investigate all the feedback that this project may have once it has been released in its current and generic "Holiday 2020" launch window, theoretically attributable to the last two months of next year.

All ready for Variable Rate Shading

The flag raised in the Xbox Series X premise is the Variable Rate Shading (which we can shorten to VRS), a technology already on the market and ready to be the lifeblood of the next generation. Before explaining to you in broad terms what we have in our hands, without however going into too technical details, we refer you to our article containing all the goodies of the VRS in-depth detail, but at the same time made understandable with explanations and images for the little ones. accustomed to the purely technical sector.

The VRS allows to better optimize the hardware statistically far less powerful than what we can already see on the cutting edge of the PC market. Just think that on the latter the technology in question has already been present for over a year, since it was introduced with the series of video cards that support Ray Tracing: le Turing (or 20 series / RTX series). However, thanks to the improved performance that will then be implemented at the software level, Xbox Series X will be able to make 4K at 60 Fps much more stable and perhaps with the passage of time even a standard, as is Full HD nowadays.

By Variable Rate Shading we mean the possibility of having a “ruin” of the image, which, however, is not as tragic as one might imagine at first glance. The gameplay will not in fact be penalized by this feature, but optimized and made visibly more pleasant. To be made less detailed will be all those sectors of the screen that in video games our eye hardly perceives, and where therefore no approximation or blur is noticeable. In exchange, the general resolution will therefore be made more stable given the fewer pixels to be processed - the models will in turn be treated more and the performances stabilized at best - in order to avoid frame-rate drops and graphic artifacts that may appear frequently. in the absence of the VRS.

The low blow to PlayStation 5!

To step into the ring of the next generation there will not be only Xbox Series X as it is already evident, although its design is still totally unknown: PlayStation 5 has already been unveiled. When the two consoles of this generation came out in 2013, the numbers particularly favorable for the Sony-branded counterpart were practically immediate and obvious. In recent years, however, Microsoft has tried to flatten the gap as much as possible, to then prepare to restart by dominating the competition with its new proprietary hardware. We arrived at that moment, the one in which the recovery of Microsoft will be officially seen, the exact moment in which all the policies adopted in recent months will finally be able to bear fruit, or perhaps completely sink the Xbox division. The idea of ​​publishing almost all the games on the PC market, as well as some small indie pearls also on the Nintendo Switch market, showed a full openness to the sale of the software and a low interest in its hardware.

At this point, however, Xbox Series X wants to try to regain ground also in the field of the sale of new consoles, with some exclusive possibilities that it seems may not be present on the PlayStation 5 and that could create a substantial difference. The VRS is certainly the first interesting feature, which will allow just to begin with the final cost of access not to be particularly excessive, as the latter could have risen without the right optimization required, especially for the console market. While exclusives in general haven't been Xbox's strong point lately, several firms have been hired and software sales have already been made considerably more in the spotlight from the company. We do not know if the latter will decide to block the barriers and obtain a greater quantity of consoles sold thanks to the exclusivity policy, which Sony and Nintendo have already applied since time immemorial, but we can say with certainty that the first party games that will be present from day one in the Xbox Game Pass will increase exponentially.

This last service is currently the jewel of the company, given that in the face of a very low price, you can get hundreds of completely free games on PC and Xbox. Products that can be downloaded and uninstalled at will as long as you keep renewing your subscription continuously at a discount, with new promotions and offers that appear to be around the corner every week. In addition to this already relevant offer, the recent one Xcloud, which guarantees the possibility to play in streaming where and when you want to anyone with a subscription and a good network connection, portable or fixed. The services currently offered by Sony that are still summarized only in the PS Now are not able to compete in any way with what has just been said, even if the company will probably focus a lot on the latter, implementing new functions and improving the existing ones to the best of its possibilities. . As also stated by the CEO of Xbox, however, the moment has not yet come in which the Cloud can become the absolute protagonist of the industry by overwhelming traditional platforms - and for the moment we must remain well focused on the hardware -, whether it is PC or consoles.

Xbox Series X ready to compete with the PC market

The new console presented immediately sets itself some rather important objectives as already mentioned, mainly linked to the new quality standard that it seems it will be able to bring in the living rooms of gamers of 2020. Obviously we have already ruled out that it is cloud gaming; Xbox Series X wants to allow almost anyone to play, without excluding those who have not yet managed to get an internet connection in step with the times, unfortunately a very widespread phenomenon. We are therefore talking about a rather advanced machine, almost able to approach the current PC master race in terms of performance. The processor will in fact be as previously announced one It was 2 with architecture RDNA, the internal memory one NVMe M.2 SSD and Ray Tracing it will be supported with dedicated hardware already present. We therefore find the same characteristics that for the moment it seems will also be the protagonists of the Sony counterpart, and which offer a real revolution not limited exclusively to the graphic level.

The configuration allows developers to indulge themselves with new features that are currently impossible, even in some ways on PC. The 12 Teraflops guarantee the possibility of creating animations that are more in step with the times and amazing, the new generation SSD promises to nullify the uploads that have always accompanied our experiences, also guaranteeing to provide new ideas for game design with extremely sudden changes of scenarios now possible. Honorable mention also goes to artificial intelligence, one of the aspects that up to now has been particularly careless in the vast majority of titles, precisely for computational issues, but which will soon shine and provide a challenge similar to that of multiplayer. There are currently no plans related to a Microsoft virtual reality headset, which is already well established in the PlayStation world, but now this can certainly be developed and made available on the new platform.

Minimal, elegant and functional

The photos of the Xbox Series X that we have been able to admire have been accepted in a somewhat controversial way by the gamer community, whether they were interested in buying for the next year or not. Many have in fact praised the design of the new machine from Microsoft, which after years of planning has shown itself in a proud way, but even more people have not appreciated the aesthetics presented. In fact, there are several who say that it does not seem to be a gaming console, but more of a device similar to Alexa. There were also jokes on the net about ashtrays and refrigerators, as well as more or less joking plots on monoliths. Microsoft has for its part stated that the design is certainly very minimal and elegant, and is designed to blend in with the environment without attracting attention given that it is also possible to position Xbox Series X both vertically and horizontally without encountering problems of any kind, at least according to the current premises. The "box" of the brand of the Redmond house is also adequately represented in the new console, which also makes it rather symbolic with its shape.

In addition to tending towards the futuristic, the size extended vertically also wants to have a much more than merely aesthetic function, since the entire case is designed to favor much better ventilation than the current generation. It has in fact been shown that the configuration contains only a fan, which takes the trouble to let out the hot air and to store that of the environment, with the aim of cooling the components in the best possible way. It has also been stated that silence is guaranteed, given that the developers have focused particularly on creating a design that makes it possible, but we will only be able to say this when we have the opportunity to see it actually in action.

New hardware, new controller, historic design

In the images where we were able to admire the design of the Xbox Series X there is always a small intruder, which we are ready to hold in our hands for thousands of hours: the new controller! This comes with a structure practically identical to that of the pad in the basic version of Xbox One. We can find the now iconic asymmetrical analogs and the X, A, B, and Y keys apparently the same and not revised, but luckily there is some difference. Although we still don't know much about the backbones that instead have been very thorough in PlayStation territory, the directional darts clearly take full hands from those of the elite Xbox controllers, the same in both versions on the market. Moreover, bluetooth will not connect the device to the Xbox Series X, as a proprietary patented technology will be used to decrease input lag, which aims to promote full immersion in the video game. The dimensions have changed negligibly, as they are only slightly reduced, and the share button has finally been inserted. The community has always clamored for his presence and the developers have listened to the feedback and implemented these functions in the new system - even if they were certainly not the first, this maneuver has now become a standard - for all controllers currently on the market. .

This pad is 100% compatible with Windows, as it was easily guessed, but also all the Xbox One can be honored with its presence (even if no support has been communicated to the new share button), however there have been no hints regarding a compatibility on the now out Xbox 360 production. The entire console is backwards compatible on software 100% with all Xbox already released, even with the first! This function, also leaked on Sony's territory, will allow the generational gap to be flattened by far, since those who decide to buy the newcomer will be able to get rid of their current Microsoft consoles without too many hesitations, as all the trophies and games will be fully shared in the account.

To close the dance there is a new interesting feature: su Xbox Series X it will be possible to pause several games at the same time, and you will be able to return in each adventure to the exact point where it was interrupted. This is not a function who knows how spectacular, but having had the possibility, the developers have decided to provide this possibility to a niche of users. The GDDR6 RAM has in fact granted this opportunity, just like the SSD will guarantee an almost instantaneous switching on of the device and the high frequency of the memory will allow entry and exit from the software without annoying barriers and lag.

A taste of the next few years of Xbox Series X

During the The Game Awards 2019 to delight us with regard to the Redmond house there was not only the Xbox Series X, but also the new Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. From the trailer that you can see above, it is obvious that it is not purely a delight - but rather a wonder at what Microsoft has managed to bring to the screen with the game engine - although obviously pre-rendered. Unfortunately this title will not be released on day one together with the console, and it is therefore more than legitimate to wait for its debut in the rather distant 2021. Nonetheless, the equally amazing Halo Infinite will take the lead as an exclusive that will put a strain on the new machine, on the other hand we are talking about the game with the highest development budget ever invested!

We just have to wait for new details on Xbox Series X, which will surely arrive in the coming months. Whether we are talking about new first party titles, news on hardware or some news for service and possibilities offered to users, we will always be ready to update you in real time. In his latest statements, the CEO of Microsoft Phil Spencer further stated that this E3 will be particularly important for the company, albeit a little smile to note how this declaration is made annually. We can hopefully have high expectations for what will be shown, hoping that it will be able to attract our attention and direct us to the next-gen.

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