What is Xbox?
Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft. It represents a series of video game consoles developed by Microsoft, with three consoles released in the sixth, seventh, and eighth generations, respectively. The brand also represents applications (games), streaming services, and an online service by the name of Xbox Live and the development arm by the name of Xbox Game Studios. The brand was first introduced in the United States in November 2001, with the launch of the original Xbox console.
The original device was the first video game console offered by an American company after the Atari Jaguar stopped sales in 1996. It reached over 24 million units sold as of May 2006. Microsoft’s second console, the Xbox 360, was released in 2005 and has sold 84 million units as of June 2014. The Xbox One has been released in 21 markets in total, with a Chinese release in September 2014.
Xbox series X
With Microsoft unveiling its next-gen Xbox Series X console, and Sony readying its own rival in the shape of the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition, 2020 is officially year of the 8K games console.
Microsoft teased its new console at the E3 games conference in June 2019 and it’s set to go on sale ‘Holiday 2020’. Originally codenamed ‘Project Scarlett’, it now goes by its official name: Xbox Series X, complete with a new Xbox Series X logo.
Xbox Series X promises four times the power of the Xbox One X and is being billed by Microsoft as the “fastest, most powerful games console ever”. To match that dramatic leap in performance, the Series X gets a new ‘tall tower’ design and new wireless controller.
The Xbox series X will have a more processing power and graphics power- more than six teraflops, at least. A statement on the Microsoft blog claimed that the series X will pack more times more power than the already formidable Xbox One X. Microsoft also claims that the series X will come with an 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor, an AMD RDNA 2 GPU capable of pushing 12 teraflops of power, 16 GB memory and an expandable 1TB SSD for storage. It will match the capability of PC rigs costing thousands of pounds.
Based on what the Xbox team members have said in an interview, the next-gen Xbox will be able to run 4 Xbox One X games simultaneously. Games running in 4K at 60fps will be normal, with some even running at 120fps and 8K resolutions, of course, in this case one game at a time.
Some sources also say that the series X will be more powerful than the PS 5, and moreover Phil Spencer has promised that the next Xbox is going to “set the benchmark” for console gaming.
At present we can only speculate, letting the price of current consoles guide us, or have faith in the latest Xbox Series X price rumour which suggests we could be looking at $200 for the digital edition and $400 for the flagship console.
Given the Xbox One X launched with a price tag of £450/$500 and currently costs around £350/$363, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the new flagship creep over the £500/$550 price point. After all, it’s promising to be the most powerful Xbox we’ve seen.
However, Microsoft will also have the new Sony PS5 in the back of its mind. It wouldn’t want to launch Xbox Series X only to be undercut by its main rival. The PS5 is rumoured to be as much as £500/$550, so it’ll be interesting to see which console comes in at the lower price. Ultimately, we’d bet their prices on being fairly similar – although the digital-only, disc-less PS5 and rumoured disc-less ‘Xbox Lockhart’ will naturally be cheaper than the full-specifications versions of the consoles.
The games that are to release for the Xbox series X include – Cyberpunk 2077, Halo Infinite 2020, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Madden NFL 21, Watch Dogs: Legion, Starfield, Scorn, Dirt 5 202, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Quarantine, among many others.
Microsoft has announced that it is working on backwards compatibility for the Xbox Series X. If this feature is introduced, it will let players play the best versions of games from across four generations of Xbox on Xbox Series X. The company is also looking towards adding HDR (high dynamic range) imaging. The games will run at higher resolutions and improved framerates on Xbox Series X. Frame rates of some titles will be doubled from 30fps to 60fps or from 60fps to 120fps.
The new console will be best suitable for playing old games as the backward-compatible titles run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, processing with the full power of the CPU, GPU, and the SSD. So, it is expected that the games will load faster on Xbox Series X. The company claims, “With more than 100,000 hours of play-testing already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites.”
The Xbox series X will release in time for Christmas 2020, as per Microsoft said. But a more specific date is yet to be announced. Although the E3 2020 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but during Microsoft’s third-party games reveal, it was said that many of the games would be released in October, so it stands to reason the console will launch then.