Sony has been pulling out from all gaming events held in the first half of the year and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any new information about the upcoming PlayStation 5 until later on. Luckily, Microsoft is here to fill in the blank space with details about the Xbox Series X, its own next-generation console set for release in late 2020.
In a long blog post, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer revealed the console’s hardware and lots of details about its gaming strategy following the launch of the Xbox Series X later this year. First off, let’s talk a bit about how powerful Microsoft’s next console will be in comparison with the current generation.
According to Microsoft, the upcoming Xbox Series X is powered by its custom-designed processor leveraging AMD’s latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures. In terms of performance, it should deliver four times the processing power of an Xbox One, and enables developers to leverage 12 TFLOPS of graphics processing unit (GPU), twice that of an Xbox One X and more than eight times the original Xbox One.
On top of that, Xbox Series X features Microsoft’s patented form of Variable Rate Shading (VRS), which allows developers to more efficiently utilize the full power of the console. For example, instead of spending GPU cycles uniformly to every single pixel on the screen, developers can now prioritize individual effects on specific game characters or important environmental objects. The feature should offer players more stable frame rates and higher resolution without influencing the image quality.
Furthermore, the Xbox Series X is said to provide more dynamic and realistic environments thanks to the hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing, the first time such a feature is included in a console. It will allow developers to add perfect lighting, accurate reflections, and realistic acoustics in real-time to their games.
Along with details about Xbox Series X, Phil Spencer touched a few other important subjects like Smart Delivery and Xbox Game Pass. The former is a new technology that allows players to play a game they bought either on Xbox One or Xbox Series X without having to purchase two versions of the same title.
Smart Delivery will not be available for all games, but Microsoft confirmed that all its exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, will benefit from this technology. Also, the Redmond-based company announced that Smart Delivery is available for all developers and publishers, but it’s up to them whether or not they want to use it.
Backward-compatibility is an important aspect that gamers always expect to get from their next console. Microsoft announced that Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, will not only be fully compatible with the Xbox Series X, but they will also look and play better than before.
Last but not least, Microsoft revealed that in addition to games from across four generations of consoles, Xbox Game Pass will continue to have the company’s first-party games, like Halo Infinite, included at their launch. That means that anyone who pays for the Xbox Game Pass subscription will be able to play these games when they’re released without having to buy them.