Xbox Unveils Next Gen
Microsoft dropped a surprise at The Game Awards this week and unveiled the name and design for their next generation console, the Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series X, previously dubbed Project Scarlet, will go head to head with Sony’s PlayStation 5 next year when both companies launch their next generation consoles. Up to this point Microsoft had been keeping their cards close to their chest, only revealing a vague vision for what the future holds. Sony on the other hand has been dropping various information over the past few months including technical specifications, features and potentially least surprising, the name. PlayStation 5.
Microsoft though is the first of the two to actually give players a look at what they will be purchasing next holiday with official images of both the console itself as well as the accompanying controller being highlighted in the trailer shown off at The Game Awards.
Interestingly the Xbox Series X takes a new design approach compared to the consoles of this and previous generations. Though iterations from Microsoft and Sony are often presented standing vertically for promotional images they typically favour being used horizontally with a vertical orientation possible even if requiring a stand.
The Xbox Series X however seemingly takes a greater design inspiration from traditional PC construction with a tower appearance. This makes a lot of sense considering how much closer to a PC architecture modern consoles have become and that the tower design obviously works and has endeavoured for a reason in that market. With Microsoft aiming to make the Xbox Series X the most powerful and capable console ever made its understandable then that it would be crafted in a similar way to high-end PC’s, if for nothing else than to assist ventilation. For those wondering how this design will fit into their entertainment system though, Microsoft has confirmed that the Series X can indeed be positioned horizontally as well as the seemingly intended vertical orientation.
As well as the console itself we also got our first look at the next generation controller for the Series X. Unsurprisingly it continues what has been established with the Xbox One Wireless controller, a controller widely considered to be one of the best ever made, and ops for evolutionary rather than revolutionary. At least from appearances there seems to be three key changes: textured trigger grips, a revised D-Pad and the addition of a share button. None of these features are particularly ground-breaking. The textured triggers are straight from the improvements they have made to their Elite Controller Series 2 which also has inspired the altered D-Pad and the share button has been implemented across both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch this generation. These do however reiterate Microsoft’s recent successes in continuing what works while improving where it benefits fans.
In terms of internal specifications, we were given a better idea of the power being given to the Xbox Series X without many actual hard facts. What information we were given though puts the Series X in line with what Sony has outlined for the PlayStation 5. 4K gaming at 60fps will be a key focus for the next Xbox with the potential to also reach highs of 120fps and 8K gaming. Microsoft will also be shifting to a custom SSD to drastically improve load times of games. A feature highlighted that Sony is yet to mention though is that of a Auto Low Latency Mode as well as Dynamic Latency Input. These will help the Xbox Series X achieve responsiveness not yet seen on a home console.
With Microsoft naming their next console the Xbox Series X, speculation if this name could hint at a two system launch has, understandably, begun to be thrown around. ‘Series’ is an interesting word to choose if there is only one planned version of next generation and the ‘X’ branding has been used this generation to signify the most powerful version of Xbox One. It is then reasonable to assume that the Series X could indeed be the higher end version of Project Scarlet with a cheaper alternative to be revealed in the coming year.
Many did assume that Sony and Microsoft would officially reveal their next generation consoles between February and May of next year but with the Xbox Series X now named and shown it would seem likely that Microsoft could now hold off until E3 2020 to have a deeper look at the console as well as revealing details such as the price and launch line up of games.
In the coming months then we now turn our attention back to Sony and their PlayStation 5. We are yet to see how their console will compare visually to the Series X but if they are going to fully reveal the PlayStation 5 similar to the PlayStation 4, then we could expect a reveal event in the coming months. This would in theory lay Sony’s cards out on the table and issue a metaphorical challenge to Microsoft as they edge closer to their holiday 2020 releases.
One thing is for sure though, 2020 is shaping up to be a fascinating year for video games as these two companies jostle for dominance in the early days of the next generation.
To read the full post on Xbox Series X see below and for more on the next generation of consoles as we get it be sure to check back.