Game reveals for the Xbox Series X and PS5 have given us a taste of what next-gen gaming is all about, but it's hard to argue that what we've seen so far is a significant improvement over the current-gen.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer doesn't want you to get the wrong impression. He says the Xbox Series X delivers "a dramatic step up" in the way games feel, more so than how they look.
- PS5: Specs, price, release date and how it compares to gaming laptops
- Xbox Series X: specs, price and how it compares to gaming laptops
- Xbox Series X games: All confirmed games so far
Speaking with Gamelab, Spencer says shorter load times and higher frame rates enabled by the Xbox Series X will be a significant improvement to the quality of next-gen games compared with those on current consoles. He says that while "lifelike" graphics can be achieved on current-gen consoles (in some cases), higher frame rates with very little latency input will enable devs to "push the emotion and the story they're trying to get through their game, through the screen, through the controller and into you."
"I think we're at a point now – with immersion, with the tools we have and the compute capability – that the deltas will be smaller from a visual impact, or that feature X was never possible before and now it is,” Spencer said. “And that might sound depressing to some, but what I would say is the advantage side of what I'm seeing now is really the immersive nature of the content that's getting created."
From a technical perspective, there is no question the Xbox Series X is a step up from even the Xbox One X. The new console drives 12 teraflops of power and is able to play games at 120 frames per second. It also has a blisteringly fast SSD that should reduce load times and downloads.
And yet, we still have our reservations about the new console. Higher frame rates are great but only if you have a display that can keep up. Most TVs sold today, even the priciest ones, top out at 30 frames per second, meaning the vast majority of gamers won't benefit from the new hardware. The folks at Polygon already broke down the possibility that you'd need to buy a new TV to get the most out of a next-gen console.
Then there are the games. While PS5's games reveal was largely successful, what Xbox has shown us thus far has been...disappointing. The company has another major exclusive games reveal set for July where we expect to see more of Halo Infinite. It will need a strong show if it has any hopes of gaining ground on Sony and the PS5.