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Xbox Series X release date, price, specs, games and latest news

(Image credit: Xbox)

From its impressive specs to its broad backwards compatibility, the Xbox Series X aims to be the most comprehensive gaming console that Microsoft has ever created.

Microsoft claims that the system will be able to run games in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. There's also the possibility of running games at 8K resolution, or at 120 frames per second, although we wouldn't bank on both at once. The system supports ray tracing, and a 1 TB SSD will ensure rapid load times.

Details of the game library are a little vague at present, but we'll be able to play Halo Infinite, Hellblade 2, Outriders and more. And there's a Xbox Series X games event set for July 23.

Read on to learn about the Xbox Series X's release date, price, controller, games, specs and more.

Latest Xbox Series X news (updated July 10)

  • The Xbox Series S, if it exists, may be the way of the future. Tom's Guide explains why.
  • Xbox Series X games may not be able to guarantee 4K resolutions and 60 fps frame rates on every game, according to a recent footage analysis. Next-gen versions of older games should be fine, though.
  • Supposedly, Microsoft has encouraged developers to offer next-gen game upgrades for free, although it's not a requirement. Selling the upgrade as DLC appears to be off-limits, though.

Xbox Series X cheat sheet: What you need to know

  • What it is: Microsoft's most powerful game console ever
  • Release date: Holiday 2020
  • Price: TBD
  • Key features: 4K visuals at 60 FPS, 8K and 120 fps support, ray tracing, near-instant load times
  • Key games: Halo Infinite, Hellblade II, full Xbox One backward compatibility
  • Specs: Custom AMD Zen 2 CPU, 1TB NVMe SSD, 16GB GDDR6 memory, 12 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU

Xbox Series X release date

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Xbox Series X is slated for a Holiday 2020 release, which will put it right up against Sony's PS5. Based on previous console launches, we're expecting it to hit sometime in November.

A product listing on the official Xbox website temporarily listed the Xbox Series X as launching on Thanksgiving 2020 in some regions. However, Microsoft's Larry Hyrb tweeted that the listing was innacurate, and that the company is simply committing to a Holiday 2020 window for now. 

Xbox Series X price

Xbox Series X doesn't yet have an official price, but we expect it to go for a premium given its high-end specs. For context, both the original Xbox One and Xbox One X launched at a $499 price point.

However, you will have an option to pay for your Series X in installments. The upcoming console has been added to Microsoft's Xbox All Access program, which allows you to finance an Xbox One S or Xbox One X for as little as $19.99 per month. All Access members can upgrade to Series X starting in Holiday 2020 once they've made 18 payments.

One theory from a prominent analyst suggests that the Xbox Series X could launch at $399, specifically to undercut Sony's potential PS5 price of $499. Microsoft would operate at a loss on consoles for a while, but that wouldn't necessarily be a problem if the company intends to make up the difference in services. (Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, possibly Project xCloud and so forth.) Bear in mind that it's just speculation from a third party, though; Microsoft hasn't said a word about pricing yet. 

However, even if the Xbox Series X winds up being much cheaper than the PS5, at least one analyst believes that the PS5 will sell more units. That's largely due to PlayStation brand loyalty, as the PS4 has sold more than twice as many consoles as the Xbox One during their lifetimes. Of course, the Xbox Series X may not need to sell as many consoles this time around as it's taking more of an "ecosystem" approach, but we'll see how the numbers play out.

Xbox Series X pre-order

Xbox Series X isn't quite available for pre-order yet, but we'll be sure to update this section once it is. However, if you sign up for Xbox All Access now, you can eventually upgrade to a Series X starting Holiday 2020.

Xbox Series X specs

In a February 2020 blog post, Xbox chief Phil Spencer revealed the full specs for Xbox Series X. The console features a custom processor that uses AMD's Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture with a total of 12 teraflops -- that's twice the graphical power of the Xbox One X. We also know that the system will feature 16 GB RAM, and that it will support external storage drives.

A second blog post in March 2020 revealed even more details about the Xbox Series X specs. The console's biggest draw is arguably its ability to run any game at 4K resolution and 60 fps, a feat that usually requires a very powerful PC. Some games will go up to 120 fps, although the resolution may vary as they do so.

PriceTBD
Release dateHoliday 2020
Processor8-core, 3.8-GHz AMD Zen 2
GPU12 teraflop AMD RDNA 2
RAM16GB GDDR6
Storage1TB custom NVMe SSD
Ray TracingYes
Maximum resolution8K
Optical drive4K UHD Blu-ray drive
External storageUSB 3.2 external HDD support
Maximum framerate120 frames per second
Key featuresQuick Resume for suspending multiple games, Dynamic Latency Input, Variable Refresh Rate

The Xbox Series X specs have a slight edge over those of the PS5, at least on paper. For example, the Series X has 12 teraflops of graphics muscle, whereas the PS5 offers 10.3 teraflops. The Series X's 1TB SSD also boasts a higher capacity than the 825GB SSD you'll find in Sony's next-generation console.

If you were particularly curious about the Xbox Series X's SSD, Tom's Guide has written a primer on the subject. In it, you'll learn how SSDs work, as well as how the Xbox Series X could leverage that technology for much faster load times. While we won't know exactly how the SSD works until we see the console in action, the primer explains why SSDs are so much faster than traditional drives, and why a console SSD could have better optimization than a PC SSD.

Xbox head Phil Spencer has cautioned fans not to expect graphics that look radically different from current-gen systems. Instead, he explained that the Xbox Series X's big advancement will be in latency and frame rate. This isn't radically different from what other developers have said, focusing instead on the system's SSD and faster load times, as the Xbox One X can already present games at 4K resolutions.

There's also a potential smaller, cheaper Xbox Series X in the works, sometimes called "Lockheart." This system could theoretically cost $100 less than a full-fledged Xbox Series X, and would pack less power as a result. But it would also have a smaller profile, as well as full access to all Xbox Series X games and services, including the Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud. If Microsoft is really trying to sell services rather than hardware this time around, a cheaper console could make sense.

Xbox Series X controller

Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series X controller (Image credit: Xbox)

Xbox Series X will launch with a new version of the Xbox Wireless Controller. While it looks fairly identical to the current Xbox One controller, the gamepad will feature a dedicated Share button for easily capturing screenshots and game clips, as well as a revised d-pad based on that of the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. Other new features include textured dots on the bumpers and triggers, and a matte finish on both the shoulder buttons and the d-pad.

In a blog post, Microsoft also says that its "size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people." Better yet, the new controller will also work with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, as well as iOS and Android via Bluetooth.

It's also worth noting that the Xbox Series X will work with all existing Xbox One accessories, so your existing Xbox Wireless Controller or Xbox Elite Wireless Controller will carry over just fine. 

Xbox Series X games

After the Xbox Series X gameplay reveal on May 7, we have a much better idea about some of the console's third-party titles. The company spent the most time discussing Assassin's Creed Valhalla, the latest entry in Ubisoft's historical action/stealth series. Here's a trailer with (some) in-engine gameplay footage:

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 also made a big splash, with a trailer that shows off a lot of the supernatural powers you can acquire during the game. (It also has a catchy retro soundtrack, giving the trailer some definite BioShock vibes.) Fans have been eagerly awaiting this game, and it seems like it should run well on the Xbox Series X.

Other titles include colorful racing game Dirt 5, psychological horror game Scorn, over-the-top crime game Yakuza: Like a Dragon and perennial sports game Madden 21.

Halo Infinite will be one of the Xbox Series X's launch titles, which means that fans can expect it during holiday 2020. We don't know a ton about the game just yet, but Tom's Guide has assembled a Halo Infinite hub to gather all the information that's currently out there. If nothing else, we have a handful of trailers, some leaked merchandise and some rumors to suggest that the game could be more open-ended than previous Halo entries.

Halo Infinite isn't the only Halo game in the works, either. According to a tweet from a developer, Halo company 343 Industries is looking for workers on "a new project in the Halo universe." Anything beyond that would be pure speculation, but it does seem like there's another Halo game coming our way eventually, whether it's another entry in the main series or another spin-off, like Halo Wars.

A livestream in July will showcase Microsoft's first-party titles for the Xbox Series X, including Halo, as well as some new games that we haven't seen before. But it looks like Fable and Perfect Dark sequels won't be among them. There was some excitement over these dormant franchises recently when fans noticed some verified Twitter accounts with telling names, but apparently, Microsoft just registered them to prevent others from doing so later on down the line. The series may not be dead, but they're not about to return, either.

At The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft studio Ninja Theory revealed Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, the sequel to the beloved 2016 psychological action game. The game is being built exclusively for Xbox Series X and PC, and the debut in-engine trailer should give you a solid idea of what the console is capable of.

Xbox has promised that the exclusives available on the Series X will also be playable on the Xbox One and PC, marking it from Sony's PS5-or-nothing approach to its launch games. It may sacrifice potential sales if players see they can get the same games on a platform they already own, but it's a gentler approach than Sony's taking, which may keep Microsoft in gamers' good books during the launch period.

Marvel's Avengers will be playable on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Players who buy one version of the game will also get a free copy of the other, thanks to Microsoft's Smart Delivery system. We recently learned more about this upcoming action/adventure game, including how it structures it missions, and who its villain will be. (M.O.D.O.K., who's a B-list Iron Man villain with a lot of potential.)

Project xCloud should be ready for full integration with the Xbox Series X sometime next year, at which point players will be able to leverage their Xbox Game Pass subscriptions on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC and even their mobile devices. While we're still waiting for more details on exactly how this will work in practice, Project xCloud may finally leave beta sometime in late 2020, so perhaps we'll see how it works with the Xbox One before we get Series X integration.

Xbox Series X backwards compatibility

Microsoft has confirmed that all existing Xbox One games and accessories will work on Xbox Series X. That includes all of the best Xbox One games, as well as the hundreds of Xbox and Xbox 360 titles that are backwards compatible with Xbox One. Microsoft says that backwards compatible titles will enjoy better framerates and resolution on Xbox Series X, all with no extra developer work needed. 

There's also the Xbox Series One X's Smart Delivery feature, which Microsoft  fully fleshed out in a recent blog post. This technology ensures that whether you buy a game for Xbox One or Xbox Series X, you'll receive a complimentary copy for the other system. Your save data will sync between all versions of the game, and your system will automatically download and run an optimized build.

Microsoft further explained this feature in a blog post about the "Optimized for Xbox Series X" label. These cross-gen titles will load faster, with better graphics and smoother frame rates, on the Xbox One X as opposed to the Xbox One. A partial list of games is now available on Microsoft's website, and a number of highly anticipated titles, including Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Halo Infinite have already made the cut.

Even if you choose not to buy an Xbox Series X right away, you won't have to worry about missing any Microsoft-exclusive titles. The company has committed to bringing out games for both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X for the near future. In contrast, Sony envisions some PS5-exclusive titles that won't get PS4 releases at all. The bottom line is that Microsoft seems interested in putting out its exclusive titles on a wider variety of platforms: the Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.

One ambitious aspect of the Xbox Series X's backwards compatibility is that it may be able to boost old games beyond their original performance parameters. A recent Microsoft blog post explained that the Xbox Series X could run certain older games at frame rates up to 120 fps, and resolutions of up to 4K. Considering that many of these games originally maxed out at 30 fps and 1080p, that's a marked difference. Of course, not every game will get this treatment.

Microsoft has also been quick to point out that because of the Xbox Series X's backwards compatibility, the console will launch with "thousands" of titles available to play. Granted, if you have an Xbox One, you'll be able to play most of these titles already, but the claim is technically true. Day One backwards compatibility will help players hit the ground running with a big library, although whether it's a library of new titles will largely depend on whether or not they already own an Xbox One.

While it's not directly related to the Xbox Series X game lineup, it's also worth pointing out that Mixer, Microsoft's streaming service, won't be around to see the launch of the new console. The streaming service will shut down on July 22, and Facebook Gaming will step in to pick up the pieces. Apparently, Microsoft believes that its partnership with Facebook will give streamers a bigger platform than Mixer could have provided. Expect to see some tight Facebook integration in the Xbox Series X.

What about Xbox Series S?

Xbox Lockhart concept design

(Image credit: Reddit - u/jiveduder)

The Xbox Series X might not be the only next-gen console Microsoft has in store for the near future. Recent leaks and rumors have popped up regarding an Xbox 'Lockhart' console (or Xbox Series S), which could be a less powerful, more affordable counterpart to the Xbox Series X.

References to the new console have appeared in Microsoft developer documentation, and one tipster suggests the console may cost as little as $200. There's no official word on a Series S yet, but there is a precedent to Microsoft offering lower- and higher-end consoles alongside one another with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.