Xbox Series X specs announced in surprise attack on PS5

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X has arrived. Not on shelves, perhaps, but Microsoft has officially revealed its console to the world. First came a brief teaser at last year's Game Awards, and now Microsoft has revealed the console's specs, capabilities and plans for its launch, at a point in which no-one knows what the PS5 even looks like.

Billed as the company's "fastest, most powerful console ever" the surprise announcement came via a blog post written by head of Xbox Phil Spencer. Without further ado, here are all the details you need on Microsoft's next generation console. 

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X: Specs and power

The console has been confirmed to pack a custom processor with AMD's new Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures: a processor four times as powerful as an Xbox One. The new processor will allow developers to use 12 Teraflops of GPU, twice the graphical power of an Xbox One X. 

DirectX ray tracing, which we already knew about, will provide more immersive environments than ever before, and Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is a new technique which increases the efficiency of the Xbox Series X by prioritising what the console is rendering, such as important objects in the game's environment that the player will be able to interact with. 

Halo: Infinite

Xbox Series X games like Halo: Infinite will look incredible thanks to VRS and ray-tracing (Image credit: 343 Industries)

A solid-state drive, just like the one said to be included on the PS5, will improve "nearly every aspect of playing games" by increasing the size of game worlds and minimising loading times. A new "Quick Resume" feature will allow you to continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, so there's no need to quit one game and boot up another. Neat.

The console will support a 120fps framerate, which is double the amount current-gen games usually run at and will ensure silky-smooth motion onscreen. However, the PS5 will reportedly run games at up to 240fps according to the developer of Gran Turismo, so Sony might have Microsoft's offering beaten here. 

Prince of Persia Xbox

Classic Xbox games like Prince of Persia will be playable on Xbox Series X (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Xbox Series X: Those backwards compatibility rumours were true! 

One hotly-rumoured aspect of the next-gen consoles appears to have come true, as the Xbox Series X will support games from "four generations of gaming", citing existing backwards compatible Xbox One, 360 and original Xbox games. Xbox One gaming accessories, such as the Elite Series 2 controllers, will also work on the Series X.

Paired with this is a new technology called "smart delivery", which according to Spencer, "empowers you to buy a game once and know that – whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X – you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on."

This sounds particularly exciting, and proof Xbox is looking to encourage player retention by making sensible, cost-effective decisions rather than having to buy a game on disc, and again on digital download later on. Xbox says the tech will be available to all developers and publishers, but makes no mention as to how this technology will actually work.

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X: More to come

With the news games like Halo: Infinite will be available on Xbox's Game Pass subscription service from launch, streaming games looks set to become a huge part of the Xbox Series X's strategy. We still don't know the full lineup of Series X launch titles and we haven't seen the console's gameplay in action, but this huge detail drop lines up with a lot of previous rumours and leaks. 

The blog post is a surprise backhand to Sony, who have so far revealed very little about the PS5's capabilities. Microsoft looks further ahead in the race now and Spencer even implies there's more to come, stating "we look forward to boldly sharing more as we head towards E3". 

Will this latest salvo spur on a PS5 reveal? It's unlikely: Sony's plans are doubtless already set, and aren't going to be changed by a Microsoft blog post. Nevertheless, we can't wait to finally experience this next generation of games from both major consoles, especially after these new juicy details. It's been a long time coming, but Holiday 2020 is no longer far away...    

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Matt Evans currently writes about health and fitness for Fit & Well, focusing on exercise and nutrition. Prior to that, he was a writer and editor at Tom's Guide, covering gaming, wearables, and phones. His work has also appeared on MSN, The Daily Mirror, Bandcamp Daily, Birmingham Business Journal, and more.

  • Zachary 99
    I like how this person is so sure yet little has been confirmed in the ways of specs regarding the ps5. Aside from the fact that according to educated guesses via process of elimination, some leakes and confirmations, how exactly is the 'series x' (still a stupid name) leveraging over the ps5? Most aspects labeled will feature and the ps5 still won't be redundant since the Sony brand isn't synonymous with and doesn't have every title on pc, give or take the one that count (even though the few you could lavel actually don't and have no significance by comparison to ps4), thus making it obsolete.

    Aside from that there's a more powerful rumoured GPU and dedicated 3d audio chipset along with confirmed raytracing. Besides that purely hardware focused aspect, we know there are alredy interestinf exclusives in the works and, I'm not being bias or funny about this, but Sony have the best rated and selling first party exclusives in history, along with a higher percentage of interested devs and fans opposed to Xbox. I and many others don't really care about another halo that's a testement to a brand beating a dead horse, long after the buzz on a system That's left virtually no mystery and is as inspired and exciting as it design (not very).

    It seems to me Xbox have bigger issues than specs, and I'm not talking about the dumbest thing to come along since DRM (streaming), but it's their ineptitude regarding actually publishing new, interesting and fun IPs not the same polished, franchise fatigued turd that consists of most, if not a significant portion of their "exclusives". Your hardware doesn't count for much when it heavily relies on meaningless spec bragging rights, even if it is obsolete and pales in comparison to PC, which would probably work out cheaper when you factor in the 7 years of anti-consumer subscriptions and "services" rather games as a service bs all that other bs, and just put towards a GPU for your PC, opposed to streaming things to your existing PC off the xbox, again, stupid and pointless.

    The thing that seems to fly way over this "juranalists" head is the fact that developers and fans are both more interested in the ps5 with the xbox being the least interesting, obviously the ps5 is behind that of the PC but it goes to show just how far consumer trust, historical quality a coherent goals go, not trying to bury sales with earning and all this gymnastic bs that would confirm just how much the brand sucked like it did this gen all to save face for lacking titles and ambition. Hardware isn't everything, the one x can attest for that since it didn't save their sales slump, but you can bet your ass Sony will deliver excellent first party titles like they have done for decades, hence why they're a trust brand solidified in the mainstream and with gamers alike, because the games deliver. We don't need self promotional bs and enough controller configurations to be classed as a disorder.