The Xbox Series X launches this year, with the next Xbox tentatively marked as hitting stores "holiday 2020". And, excitingly for gamers, we already know quite a lot about the flagship, 8K capable console. Here, in this Xbox Series X guide, we've detailed everything there is to know about the system so far, as well as everything we are yet to find out about the console that was first announced as Xbox Scarlett.
If you want to know exactly what to expect from the Xbox Series X, then you've come to the right place: news, rumours, predictions, leaks, renders, images and more... it's your ultimate guide to what's coming next from Microsoft in the console wars.
While the Xbox One line is currently lagging behind the PlayStation 4 behemoth in terms of sales, with Sony taking a sizeable install base lead into the next generation, it's certain that Microsoft has big plans for the next round – and the Xbox Series X might just have enough power and style to beat the PS5.
So what exactly can we expect from the next Xbox? To start, here's the official video introduction trailer for the Xbox Series X.
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Xbox Series X: release date
The Xbox Series X will arrive on store shelves in time for Christmas 2020.
A more specific release date for the new console has yet to be revealed, but expect it to be similar to Sony's PS5. In fact, it looks as though the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 are going to go head-to-head at E3 2020 with reveal announcements and launch titles.
This release date follows a noticeable trend in the Xbox lifespan. The original Xbox One went on sale in 2013, and the Xbox One S showed up in 2016, and then the significant Xbox One X mid-gen refresh arrived in 2017 – a schedule which might give us a few hints about when future iterations of the Xbox Series X will launch.
Six years from the debut of the Xbox One, a new machine is starting to feel a little overdue, and Microsoft agrees, as Xbox boss Phil Spencer has hinted that multiple devices could be incoming, something backed up by famous Microsoft tipster Paul Thurrot.
Xbox Series X: price and models
What's the next Xbox, the Xbox Series X, going to cost you? You can currently pick up a new Xbox One X for around £350 ($299 at Walmart in the U.S.) depending on where you're shopping. Microsoft will want a console with lots of power but a relatively affordable price tag to appeal to as many gamers as possible.
With that in mind, the price of the Xbox Series X will probably come in at £450 to £500, with some with game bundles taking that up to £550 or £600. Advances in manufacturing processes, as well as Microsoft taking a hit on hardware to build an install base, should mean the console retails for no more. After all, gamers will remember what happened when Sony launched the PS3 at $600 in the U.S. — sales flopped, with gamers unable to justify the outlay.
Bear in mind that Microsoft currently offers a two-tier system for console buyers, though, with both the S and X models on sale at the same time, and there's now the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, too. That multi-model approach looks like it is being kept for the Xbox Series X update as well.
Indeed, whispers from deep inside Microsoft suggest a "family of devices" is on the way. Does that mean multiple Xboxes? Another rumour has also suggested multiple consoles are in the pipeline, with the Xbox Series X joined by a much cheaper console, too.
Xbox Series X: design
The Xbox Series X is boxy and rectangular, opting for a tower shape. Smaller, slimmer, sleeker – those are the overriding trends we're seeing in tech hardware as the years go by, and Xbox Series X bucks the trend. A vent at the top allows for cooling.
What we do (think we) know is that three different versions of the next Xbox are on the way: the high-end Series X (code-named Anaconda), the entry-level Scarlett Arcade (Lockhart), and the streaming-only Maverick. That should give us three slightly different hardware designs too, beyond the initial reveal.
Despite the advancements in cloud computing, local storage will still be a must, as will some powerful graphics hardware, so the box won't end up being too tiny. We'll even stick our necks out and say it'll have green or white highlights. According to Jez Corden from Windows Central, the next Xbox's design has been in development for several years now.
Xbox Series X: specs
The Xbox Series X will boast more processing performance and graphics power – more than the six teraflops currently inside the Xbox One X, at least. A statement on the Microsoft blog claimed the Series X will pack four times the power of the already formidable Xbox One X.
Expect to see more and more games pushing that 4K resolution limit, which should be more of a fixed standard or 2020 (though 8K is perhaps too much to hope for).
According to insider sources, the Xbox Series X will be more powerful than the PS5, and on top of that Xbox boss Phil Spencer has promised the next Xbox is going to "set the benchmark" for console gaming. In other words, it's going to be no slouch (especially the high-end model).
Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 are being tipped by those in the know to have a separate graphics chip, rather than combining the CPU and GPU on one piece of silicon. That should mean faster frame rates at higher resolutions, and enough in the way of performance to get even the most demanding games running smoothly.
It looks very likely that GDDR6 graphics hardware will be adopted in the next Xbox consoles, giving these machines even more grunt than the GDDR5 tech built into the Xbox One X (and among other things that means better hair renderings).
We know that gamers and developers alike are going to want to see more performance, more memory, and faster loading times, and the Xbox Series X models look like delivering based on the rumours and speculation we've heard up to this point. It's certainly being tipped to offer better performance than anything Google Stadia can come up with this year.
Thanks to a job listing posted on the Microsoft site, we know that the company is keen to get some cutting edge graphics installed in its next console, and that will go for the other components as well (as much as 20GB of RAM has been mooted).
Xbox Series X: games
Something that should feature prominently on the Xbox Series X (and maybe other "Scarlett" devices) is game streaming – carrying on the work started by the Xbox Game Pass and the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.
Indeed, Microsoft has announced it's already working with Sony to try and improve video game streaming technologies – so it seems even rival companies can try and forge a common path when a new threat (Google Stadia) appears.
We're hoping that means a host of older games available on the Xbox Series X as well, though the next-gen console will most likely use a combination of streaming and discs. Downloading and streaming is of course very convenient, as Xbox execs have said, but when it comes to 4K graphics it's still easier to use physical discs and it doesn't look as though they'll go away completely anytime soon. Phil Spencer is already using it as his primary console, which at least confirms a big commitment to backwards compatibility.
At the moment it sounds like the Anaconda and Lockhart versions of the next Xbox will use discs and downloads, while the Maverick model will be downloads or streaming only: a subscription service will be offered giving you unlimited access to more than 100 titles, apparently.
Microsoft will definitely want to tempt in potential Xbox Series X buyers with some top-tier games, and we'd expect the usual suspects to feature prominently (it sounds like the budget is definitely there). The likes of Minecraft, Forza, and an update to Halo: Infinite may well be on the cards if the launch trailer is accurate, giving gamers more reasons to want to lust after the new hardware.
Since E3 2018, we know a lot more about the games heading our way for Microsoft's console – the likes of Just Cause 4 and Gears of War 5 – though most of them are likely to arrive before the 2020 launch window for the Xbox Series X.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one game we're particularly looking forward to playing, though we seem to be no nearer getting a release date for it, even after six years (and counting) of development. Betheseda's Starfield is another game that's been tipped to appear on the next-gen consoles.
We'd bet that a few exclusives like Sea of Thieves will be in the pipeline, but whatever the launch titles end up being, the Microsoft All Access monthly purchase plan looks like being one of the best ways of getting your hands on a next-gen Xbox Series X kit. There have also been hints that the next generation of consoles will play more nicely together.
One confirmed Xbox Series X exclusive is Hellblade II, as a launch trailer hit at the same time as the Xbox Series X with footage taken from the next-gen console. It looks incredible, with ray-tracing and next-gen graphics on full display. Check it out below:
Xbox Series X: other rumours
Rumours about this next Xbox console are really gathering pace now, and that's only going to increase in the months ahead. We can also make a few educated guesses about what's not heading our way – Microsoft has heavily invested in virtual reality and augmented reality (or "mixed reality" as it calls it) but the Xbox Series X is not focused on it, according to comments by Spencer, as "nobody is asking for it".
Backwards-compatibility with older Xbox systems has been rumoured and looks likely given recent comments from Microsoft. We're also expecting stronger integration with Windows 10 and everything that the desktop OS offers – which is really something of a no-brainer for Microsoft.
We're definitely excited to see where Microsoft takes the Xbox next, and we'll bring you all the news as it's announced, right here. Stay tuned for more Xbox Series X updates direct from Microsoft and the rumour mill as that 2020 launch approaches.