Feature Article

Xbox Series X: Release Date, Specs, Price, And Everything We Know

Project Scarlett has been officially unveiled as Xbox Series X.

After revealing cursory details about its next-gen console at E3 2019 (then named Project Scarlett), Microsoft officially unveiled Xbox Series X at The Game Awards 2019. GameSpot got an exclusive first look at Xbox Series X ahead of its reveal, and we're fairly impressed with what Microsoft has shared about the console so far.

If you're just interested in what we learned about Xbox Series X during both The Game Awards 2019 and our exclusive interviews with Xbox head Phil Spencer and Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald, we have a roundup of the latest Xbox Series X details. Below, we compile everything there is to know about Xbox Series X--from its announcement as Project Scarlett to now. So if you're looking for a more comprehensive overview, keep reading.

Name

Once known as Project Scarlett, the official name for Microsoft's next-gen console is Xbox Series X. Spencer explains that the name allows a certain flexibility when it comes to additional model names in the future, lending credence to the rumors that Microsoft actually has two next-gen consoles in development--Xbox Series X and a cheaper, possibly all-digital version codenamed Project Lockhart.

Release Date

Xbox Series X is currently scheduled to release during the holiday season in 2020, about seven years after the launch of the original Xbox One. A specific release date has currently not been provided.

Price

Microsoft hasn't announced an official price for Xbox Series X yet--the console isn't even up for pre-order. Before trying to sell customers on the console, Microsoft wants consumers to have a chance to better understand what Xbox Series X can do. The Game Awards presents an ideal stage for announcing a product, but it's not a very good place for getting tech into the hands of the public. Though Microsoft hasn't confirmed anything, this probably means we can expect additional Xbox Series X reveals during E3 2020.

Hardware

The Xbox Series X looks an awful lot like a PC desktop tower, though--like the Xbox 360, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X--you can lay it down horizontally too. Though the console looks massive, it's actually not all that big. Grab an Xbox One controller if you have one handy and lay it down on the table. The Xbox Series X is about that wide. Now stand the controller upon its grips and multiply that height by three--that's the approximate height of the Xbox Series X. Since the console is a square tower, it's as deep as it is wide.

Like the Xbox One, most of the Xbox Series X's ports are on the back of the console. The only features on the front are the Xbox button, disc drive, and the eject button. There doesn't appear to be a USB port on the front (like with the Xbox One X) for easily connecting a wired controller.

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Controller

Speaking of controllers, the Xbox Series X controller is almost identical to the one for the Xbox One. The major difference is the addition of a Share button--which is positioned in the middle of the controller below the power button. Like on the PS4 DualShock 4, you can press this Share button to easily take screenshots and capture video clips.

There are few other minor differences between the Xbox Series X and Xbox One controllers. The Xbox Series X has a modular hybrid d-pad, making it easier to do diagonal inputs. The controller's overall size is also slightly smaller, and the back of the controller is curved differently. Other than that though, the Xbox Series X and Xbox One controllers are basically identical--which makes sense given that both sets of controllers can be used with either console. You'll be able to play on Xbox Series X with your Xbox One controllers or take your Xbox Series X controllers to go back and play on Xbox One.

Backwards Compatibility

The Xbox Series X supports backwards compatibility for all three previous generations of Xbox console. At the very least, Xbox Series X will be able to play all Xbox One games day one. Microsoft hasn't clarified the same for original Xbox and Xbox 360 games--but it's probable that Xbox Series X will be able to play all Xbox and Xbox 360 games that are currently backwards compatible on Xbox One. Whether Microsoft adds more Xbox and Xbox 360 games to that list remains to be seen.

Performance And Specs

The Xbox One X is already a powerhouse--currently the most powerful console on the market--but the Xbox Series X is even faster. Spencer says Series X's GPU is eight times faster than that of the base Xbox One, making it twice as fast as the Xbox One X. The CPU is purportedly much stronger than what's been seen in consoles before. Spencer says it's four times more capable than previous consoles, but he hasn't confirmed which exact consoles.

Xbox Series X supposedly runs real quiet too (at least as silently as the Xbox One X), managing to keep itself cool with one fan and additional heatsinks. We don't have all the specs for Xbox Series X yet, but we've compiled what we know into a feature that compares the console to Sony's PlayStation 5.

Confirmed Console Exclusives

Currently, Xbox Series X doesn't definitively have any console exclusives. Halo Infinite--the sixth mainline game in Microsoft's shooter franchise--will be available for Xbox Series X on day one, but the game will release for Xbox One too.

During The Game Awards, Microsoft announced that a sequel to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, would be coming to Xbox Series X at a future date. Given that Ninja Theory is now an Xbox Game Studio, it would make sense for Hellblade II to release as an Xbox exclusive (even though its predecessor launched as a limited-time PlayStation exclusive), but Microsoft hasn't confirmed whether the game is only releasing on Xbox Series X (and likely PC). Like Halo Infinite, Hellblade II could release for Xbox One too.

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That said, many of the studios that Microsoft acquired back in 2018 are beginning to reveal their current projects, and they're a motley bunch of first-party titles--ranging from the metroidvania Ori and the Will of the Wisps to the action-adventure Everwild. It inspires confidence that Microsoft will promote console exclusives for Xbox Series X beyond its major franchises of Halo, Forza, and Gears of War.

Game Services

Xbox Series X will continue to support Xbox Game Pass, the popular game subscription service that Microsoft launched this console generation. Though Xbox Game Pass will work the same on Xbox Series X, the more powerful console will allow users to jump into the games they want to play more quickly.

The new console will also integrate Microsoft's cloud-based gaming service, codenamed Project xCloud. With xCloud, you'll be able to continue playing your Xbox games on your PC or mobile devices.

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