New Xbox Series X details revealed; Speed/Power balance & Cross-buy confirmation

Phil Spencer releases some eXciting details on the Xbox Series X.

Phil Spencer, Head of the Xbox division, has posted an article relating to the technical specifications for the up and coming Xbox Series X. Despite Xbox slowly moving towards the streaming platform and amalgamating their divisions together and allowing their games to stream to other platforms, it seems that Microsoft is not holding back on the sheer grunt this machine will encompass.

A superior balance of power and speed

  • Next Generation Custom Processor
  • Variable Rate Shading (VRS)
  • Hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing

Immersion in an instant

  • SSD Storage
  • Quick Resume
  • Dynamic Latency Input (DLI)
  • HDMI 2.1 Innovation
  • 120 fps Support

The next generation of game compatibility

  • Four generations of gaming
  • Smart Delivery
  • Xbox Game Pass

AMD’s Zen 2 architecture is currently devastating Intel in both the server and desktop markets, incorporating a custom chip will benefit the Xbox Series X considerably. AMD does not have a GPU that utilises ray-tracing on PC, so Microsoft is undoubtedly intending on making that happen with an updated DirectX. Perhaps this will allow for PC owners, of AMDs 5700 and 5600 range of graphics cards, to finally sample ray-tracing in games too.

Another eye-opener is the variable refresh rate and 120 frames per second gameplay. PC players have always touted having a high frame rate, and it is one of the reasons I prefer playing games on PC over consoles.

For those not in the know, variable refresh rate will be similar to GSync and Freesync where, within a window, if your gameplay drops into a set range (i.e. 50fps), the game will not feel choppy. Instead, the display will have its refresh rate match the framerate of the game. There is a window where this works, once outside of this window, then it will feel choppy, and it can also cause screen tearing. VRR is essentially a resource-free type of VSYNC.

While Sony has recently been moving away from backwards compatibility, Microsoft embraced it in this current generation. It will now be adding a significant catalogue to its repertoire as the Xbox Series X will be able to play box One games too.

One significant advantage that Microsoft will have is its Smart Delivery Service. Over the last few years, Microsoft has pushed the boundaries with their service. It will now allow for a one-time purchase of Xbox Game Studios titles being available on any Xbox platform (Xbox One onwards) anywhere while you have access.

The Smart Delivery Service is also available for developers too with CD Project Red tweeting today confirming that all players that purchase a copy of Cyberpunk 2077 should not have to buy another copy when upgrading.

It all sounds extremely promising, and there is considerably more info to come from Phil Spencer. Still, Sony needs to start looking at how Microsoft is transitioning the way games are played and moving with the times instead of the traditional methods. Technology is changing quickly, and Microsoft is embracing it.

A feature that has been a staple in Sony’s crown is its quick-resume feature by putting a game in standby mode. It is a killer feature that many use every time the PlayStation is on, and even Nintendo has utilised the same functionality for the Switch. Now Microsoft is finally going to use the feature in the Xbox Series X.

It will be interesting to see how Sony responds to this announcement, especially with the pricing issues, are playing its part. With such high specs for both consoles, let’s hope that the price isn’t unfathomable like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox One at release.