The Xbox Series X – Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox console – is coming by the end of this year. With a slew of upcoming Xbox Series X games announced as part of the new monthly Xbox 20/20 events, we’ve got some seriously exciting things to come. Some the standouts of that event were a brief but beautiful look at Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in action, the H.R. Giger inspired Scorn, and Medium, which looks the Silent Hill reboot Konami just won’t give us. 

The event also highlighted the importance of Xbox Series X Smart Delivery games which will let you play once, but play on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. 

Fans will have to wait until July to see big first-party games in action.

Microsoft has spent the better part of six months talking up the sheer strength of its next-gen console, from 12 teraflops of GPU power to SSD-backed loading times, as well as big-picture features like backwards compatibility and cloud support. We’ve heard every buzzword there is, from ray-tracing to instant-resume, and each update brings yet more tantalizing details. Microsoft has been dropping reveal after reveal in the lead to spring, and while we’re still waiting on clarification and more details for several features, there’s already a lot to pick through. And while there have been bumps along the road – namely the possibility of an Xbox Series X delay thanks to coronavirus and news that E3 2020 has been cancelled – we’re still hyped after all the information Microsoft has shared recently.

“Xbox Series X is our fastest, most powerful console ever, designed for a console generation that has you at its center. This means a high-fidelity gaming experience enclosed in a quiet and bold design, with the ability to discover thousands of games across four generations, all with more playing and less waiting,” says the Microsoft blog post.

“Whether it’s empowering amazing creators at our 15 Xbox Game Studios, fueling game discovery with Xbox Game Pass, or expanding what and where you can play with Project xCloud, Team Xbox stands for frictionless pathways between players and the best experiences our remarkable art form has to offer. Xbox Series X represents that same commitment for players who want immediate immersion in games that also look and feel better than ever.”

Competing directly with the PS5, Microsoft’s obelisk console looks set to be quite the beast, and should offer some exciting exclusive games too. Halo Infinite has been confirmed as a launch game and one of the highly anticipated Xbox Series X games, so Microsoft looks to be coming out of the gate strong for the console’s launch period, especially since we still have no idea what the PS5 launch games could be during the same holiday season. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the next-gen follow-up to Xbox One, including details about the Xbox Series X price, release date, and more.

What is Xbox Series X?

The next Xbox, formerly Xbox Project Scarlett, is Xbox Series X, and Microsoft is calling it the future of gaming. Built around powerful new hardware from AMD, including its new Navi graphics architecture and a Zen 2 CPU, the Series X is designed to minimize (or completely eliminate) load times and get you into games as quickly as possible. In the announcement reel, Microsoft employees threw out some pretty baller numbers: four times more powerful than the current most powerful console on the planet, the Xbox One X, four times better performance than the current generation in terms of load times, and the biggest generational leap in Microsoft’s console history.

As for the actual Xbox Series X specs, the sizzle also promised 120 FPS, 8K, and ray tracing supported by dedicated hardware. In fact, one Microsoft employee promised “frame rates we’ve never seen before,” though that’s surely just on consoles and not accounting for modern PC hardware. The latest blog post from Microsoft, outlines that the Xbox Series X will be “the most powerful console ever”, powered by AMD’s latest Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures. It will deliver “four times the processing power of an Xbox One”, and will enable developers to leverage 12 teraflops of GPU processing, aided by variable rate shading (VRS) technology, which should result in more stable frame rates and higher resolutions for games. There will also be support for DirectX raytracing, which will mean your games are imbued with “true-to-life lighting, accurate reflections and realistic acoustics in real time”. 

But, most importantly for us gamers, “the next-console generation will be definted by more playing and less waiting”, says Microsoft. Thanks to a new SSD, game worlds can be “larger, more dynamic and load in a flash”. There’s a new Quick Resume feature too, which allows you to suspend multiple games at once. 

Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) is also coming to optimise latency, starting with the Xbox Wireless Controller, which will make sure that input is synchronised immediately with what’s displayed, making controls even more precise and responsive. HDMI 2.1 support is coming too, which introduces even more latency-reducing technology too. 

Smart Delivery is super exciting too, and means you’re getting the best version of the game possible without having to pay for the Xbox Series X version. Basically, if you buy a game on the Xbox One, you will also be able to play on Xbox Series X – including Halo Infinite.

Yes, Microsoft announced that Halo Infinite would be launching alongside Xbox Series X, and showed a brand new, lengthy trailer. Master Chief, afloat in space and unconscious in his armor, is revived by the captain of a small space vessel who was seemingly adrift himself, before revealing the devastating aftermath of the most recent conflict. The footage looked exceptional, especially some of the textures on Chief’s hands, and refracted light and gathering shadows flashed some of the potential of a console packing dedicated raytracing hardware.