Microsoft's next-generation console is called the Xbox Series X. The company surprised gamers and media alike by revealing the name and design of the upcoming Xbox at The Game Awards on Thursday.
The Xbox Series X is slated to arrive in "Holiday 2020." The early reveal, about a year before the console's official launch, is an unprecedented move, one that puts Microsoft on the front-foot against arch-nemesis Sony and the PS5.
Xbox Series X design
The rectangular Xbox Series X is rightfully being compared to a desktop PC because of its simple tower shape. It might not look like much, but that's exactly what makes the Series X so bold; The console's minimalist design will stand out in a field of overdesigned gaming hardware.
It's also practical and can be positioned both vertically or horizontally, although its fairly large shape could be problematic if you're trying to place it in a confined space. The folks at Gamespot got an exclusive first look at the Xbox Series X and noted that the console's footprint is about as wide as an Xbox One controller and three times as tall.
On the front of the console are an illuminated Xbox logo and a disk slot. Yes, the Xbox Series X will support game disks. The top of the console is a bit more exciting. Underneath a vented top grille is some sort of green backlighting or paint. It's not clear what's creating the pop of color in the reveal trailer, but there appears to be some signature Xbox green on the Series X.
One benefit of having such a large footprint is that Microsoft was able to place a large fan inside the console that pushes air out of the top. Xbox lead Phil Spencer told Gamespot that the new console is no louder than the Xbox One X.
"There's always this tension between design and the kind of acoustics and cooling and function of the console," Spencer told Gamespot, "and we were not going to compromise on function. I'm just incredibly impressed with the design that they came back with."
Xbox Series X controller
Microsoft also unveiled a new controller alongside the Series X. At first glance, the controller looks identical to the current ones. However, there are some subtle but crucial differences.
The highlight of the new controller is a share button located smack dab in the middle of it. Sony beat Microsoft to this feature with its DualShock 4 but Xbox gamers will certainly welcome the ability to instantly share content with friends with the press of a button.
Other changes include a new hybrid D-pad on the new controller and its slightly smaller size promises to be more comfortable to more people. Input latency has also been improved with the new controller, which will be backward compatible with the Xbox One (and you can use the Xbox One controller with the Xbox Series X).
Xbox Series X games
We already knew Halo: Infinite would be coming to Xbox Series X at some point late next year (possibly as a lunch title). Now we know Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is coming to Xbox Series X thanks to a trailer Microsoft showed off at The Game Awards.
The trailer, which looks more like pre-rendered footage, is actually captured directly in the game engine on the Xbox Series X, in real-time.
“We wanted to have a dramatic upgrade from the Xbox One base console,” Spencer told Gamespot. “So when we do the math, we’re over eight times the GPU power of the Xbox One, and two times what an Xbox One X is.” The Xbox One X is 6 teraflops of GPU performance, so the Xbox Series X could be capable of 12 teraflops."
Xbox Series X outlook
The Xbox Series X is shaping up to be a compelling new console and a serious upgrade in terms of performance, design and features over the Xbox One.
While we know more about the next-gen Xbox than we expected to at this point, there is still a lot Microsoft is holding back. For example, the console's official specs, launch games and pricing are still unknown.
There are also growing rumblings of Microsoft releasing two consoles, a lower-end "budget" model and a higher-end flagship, although Microsoft hasn't confirmed this rumor.
We expect most of the questions surrounding the Series X will be cleared up at E3 2020, so check back in with us in June for more info on Microsoft's next-gen console and its rival, Sony's PS5.
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Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.