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Xbox Series X release date, price, pre-order, controller and more

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Series X will be the most powerful Xbox console ever made, and Microsoft has released the specs to prove it.

Fans can expect 4K graphics at a steady 60 frames per second, as well as the potential for 8K resolution and 120 fps frame rates. (Not at the same time, obviously.) The Xbox Series X will support ray tracing for subtle lighting effects, as well as rapid load times through its 1 TB SSD. All of these features will benefit games like Halo Infinite, Outriders and Hellblade 2.

Here's everything you need to know about Xbox Series X, including the console's price, release date, controller, game lineup and more.

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 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. 

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.

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.

The post didn't discuss the possibility of 8K games or video, but did note that load times will be "extremely fast," thanks to its 1 TB SSD. We also know that the system will feature 16 GB RAM, and that it will support external storage drives.

Release dateHoliday 2020
Processor8-core, 3.8-GHz AMD Zen 2
GPU12 teraflop AMD RDNA 2
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.

The Xbox Series X sports Variable Rate Shading, which allows developers to choose how much of the GPU is used for specific effects, enabling steady frame rates at a high resolution without too many sacrifices on image quality. You can also expect hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing, which should allow for more realistic in-game lighting than ever.

Other key features include Variable Refresh Rate support, meaning the console can change the refresh rate on the fly based on what type of TV or monitor is connected (that means that support for G-Sync and FreeSync monitors may be possible). Series X will offer Microsoft's Variable Rate Shading technology, which improves rendering performance without sacrificing picture quality.

With features like Auto Low Latency Mode and Dynamic Latency Input, Series X should offer more responsive inputs than previous Xbox consoles, which could be key for competitive games. 

Because the console sports an SSD, games will load incredibly fast, and in-game fast travel should be instant. 

The console also features Quick Resume, which allows you to suspend multiple game states and pick up right where you left off. So, for example, you can be in the middle of Halo, Gears and Forza sessions all at once, and won't have to close any game when jumping between them.

While Xbox Series X's high-end specs should easily power a VR headset, don't hold your breath for virtual reality on the next Xbox. Speaking to Stevivor, Spencer noted that VR is not a priority for Microsoft's next-gen console.

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

Halo Infinite, the highly anticipated next installment in Microsoft's flagship shooter series, will launch alongside Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020. 

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.

We don't know much else about the launch lineup, but the Series X will support all existing Xbox One games, including the vast library of backward compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 titles.

Square Enix's Outriders will come to Xbox Series X, as will upcoming Ubisoft titles Watch Dogs Legion,  Gods and Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine. Other titles confirmed or expected to be in development for next-gen consoles include The Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield and Grand Theft Auto 6, so it seems safe to assume that those will land on Xbox Series X as well. According to TechRadar, Rage 2 developer Avalanche Studios is working on a next-generation title.

During its fall 2019 earnings call, EA confirmed that it has a new Battlefield game in development for next-gen consoles (according to GameSpot). The publisher is also skipping this year's installment of NBA Live to focus on a next-gen version for 2020, as reported by Polygon.

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. 

And with Microsoft's Smart Delivery feature, you'll only have to buy a game once to enjoy the best possible version of it. That means your copy of Halo Infinite will work on any supported Xbox, as will select third-party games such as Cyberpunk 2077.