The upcoming Xbox Series X promises to be a beast of a console, delivering sizzling resolutions of 8K and up to 60 fps, putting it on par with Sony's upcoming PS5 but for head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, developers should focus less on the amount of pixels and more on the FEEL of their games if they want to make the most of all that power.
Spencer has previously said that Microsoft's console will "set the benchmark" for console gaming with more processing performance and graphics power than ever before - a whopping four times as much as the Xbox One X, the most powerful console of this generation. It's even been rumoured that the new Xbox will be more powerful than the PS5.
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are reported to feature a separate graphics chip, rather than a combined GPU and CPU, which is what will allow for faster frame rates at a higher resolution, and a consistently smoother experience. The Xbox Series X houses a custom-designed AMD processor, high bandwidth GDDR6 memory and a next generation solid state drive (SSD) so there's a lot to look forward to there, but for Spencer, the key to making the most of the console is nailing the feel of a game.
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In a recent interview, Spencer explained that Microsoft gives developers the tools and freedom to create whatever they like on its platforms, and doesn't try to impose limits – whether that's 60 fps on the Xbox 360, or 4K 60 fps on the Xbox One X. The key factor is that they can push the limits of the what the console has to offer.
"I think we’ve reached a point with Xbox One X in the generation where games look amazing, and there’s always work we can do to look more amazing. But I want games to feel as amazing as they look," he said.
"We don’t have that in today’s generation, mainly because the CPU is under-powered relative to the GPU that’s in the box in order to reach a feel and frame rate and kind of consistency or variable refresh rate and other things that we want.
“As we were looking at the future, the feel of the games was definitely something that we wanted to have more focus on, not just throwing more pixels up on the screen.”
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Spencer has been consistent in this line of thinking from as far back as 2014, when he said, "frame rate to me is significantly more important to gameplay than resolution and the mix of those two which brings the right art style and freedom, whether it's on PlayStation or our platform."
It seems that the new Xbox console will be powerful enough to hit that sweet spot; let's just hope that we see developers take advantage of it, rather than getting bogged down by numbers.
The Xbox Series X is due to launch in the holiday 2020 window, and you can keep up with all of the news and rumours right here on T3.