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Xbox Series X release date, price, pre-orders, specs and games

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Xbox)

The Xbox Series X is the most powerful console that Microsoft has ever created, with impressive specs, a promising lineup of games, robust backwards compatibility and unprecedented compatibility with both the Xbox One and gaming PCs.

Microsoft's claims for the Xbox Series X are pretty bold. The system will aim to run most games at 4K resolutions and 60 frames per second framerates. Certain games could go up to 8K resolutions and 120 fps framerates — although probably not at the same time. From its powerful SSD, which will reduce load times, to its ray tracing capabilities, which will deliver more realistic lighting effects.

Game-wise, the Xbox Series X won't have any true exclusive titles, as every Xbox Series X game will be available on both the Xbox One and the PC, at least for the next few years. But gamers will be able to enjoy entries in popular first-party series, such as Halo Infinite and Senua's Saga: Hellblade II.

For comprehensive information on the Xbox Series X's price, specs, controller, pre-order information and more, read on.

Latest Xbox Series X news (updated August 3)

  • The Xbox Series X, at present, may be less popular than the PS5 by a ratio of about 6:1. A new survey of English fans has all the details.
  • Gabe Newell, head honcho at Valve, thinks that the Xbox Series X is poised to win the next console war, although it seems to be more of a gut feeling than an argument.
  • Next month, we'll learn more about Xbox Series X's backwards compatibility — and we may or may not get a glimpse at the rumored Xbox Series S as well.

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, Senua's Saga: 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. There's no additional information available yet, so take whatever rumors you hear with a grain of salt.

Xbox Series X price

The Xbox Series X doesn't yet have a price announced. The Xbox One launched at $500 back in 2013, so it's possible that the Xbox Series X will target the $500 price point as well. Anything beyond that is pure speculation.

It's worth pointing out, though, that you won't have to pay for the Xbox Series X all at once, no matter how much it costs. Microsoft's Xbox All Access program allows potential buyers to pay for a console in installments, and the Xbox Series X will be an option as well once it launches. Currently, the most expensive Xbox All Access Option is $25 per month for 24 months, which nets you an Xbox One X and an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription for the full duration. That's $600 altogether, and it seems reasonable to expect that the Xbox Series X plan would cost even more.

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

The official Xbox Wire officially revealed the Xbox Series X specs back in February, with a deeper dive in March. We've provided more comprehensive details in a chart below, but some impressive specs include an AMD Zen 2 RDNA GPU with 12 teraflops of power, 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD with optimized architecture for gaming.

Most games should run at 60 fps at 4K resolution, but other games may be able to go up to 8K resolution or 120 fps. The console will also support ray tracing, as well as 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

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.

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 games

The Xbox Event on July 23 gave us a lot of new information about a variety of games, particularly Halo Infinite. In a substantive gameplay demo, we learned how the game will perform on the Xbox Series X, and some of the new (and old) tricks Master Chief will have at his disposal during his latest adventure.

Another big reveal was Fable 4 (or perhaps just "Fable"), which could be a remake, a reboot, a sequel — it's hard to tell. The bottom line is that Fable fans will get another entry in the series on the Xbox Series X, and that Microsoft will probably share more information on the game later this year.

After the Xbox Series X gameplay reveal back in May, we learned 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.

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.

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.

Xbox Series X controller

Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series X controller (Image credit: Xbox)

The Xbox Series X will have a slightly upgraded version of the current-gen Xbox Wireless Controller. The new peripheral will feature a dedicated Share button for screenshots and video clips, as well as an improved D-pad, similar to what you'd find on the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller. Textured dots on the bumpers make theme easier to find, while matte finish on certain buttons makes them more resistant to wear and tear. Like the current Xbox Wireless Controller, the new version will work on Windows PCs as well as mobile phones.

Almost all existing Xbox One accessories will continue to function on the Xbox Series X, so there's no reason to ditch specialty gear that you already own.

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.

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.

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.