Xbox Series X: Microsoft's next Xbox up close

The next Xbox, the Xbox Series X, is already looking like it is going to be a very special system. But will it beat the PS5?

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Get ready for the Xbox Series X launch later this year, when Microsoft's super-powerful next-gen console hits retailers. Here, we've rounded up everything you need to know: from official Xbox Series X specs to the latest rumours.

We know the console is arriving for "holiday 2020", and we know quite a bit about what's inside the Xbox Series X too – though there are still questions to be answered as well. Check out what's coming with the console first announced as Xbox Scarlett.

If you want to know as much as possible in advance of the Xbox Series X launch, you've come to the right place: we've got news, rumours, predictions, leaks, renders, images and more... it's your ultimate guide to to the next-gen console.

The Xbox One line might be lagging behind the PlayStation 4 behemoth in terms of sales, Microsoft is coming out for the next round with all guns blazing – and we think 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 console? To start, here's the official video introduction trailer for the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X: release date

Xbox Series X next Xbox Microsoft

The Xbox Series X is due to launch during the winter holiday season this year.

(Image credit: Xbox)

We know for certain that the Xbox Series X will arrive on store shelves in time for Christmas 2020 – Microsoft has said so.

However, a more specific release date for the new console has yet to be revealed. Expect it to be very similar to Sony's PS5, but we're still waiting on a launch date for that console too... and the flow of news hasn't been helped by the cancellation of E3 2020 due to the coronavirus.

This release window follows a noticeable Xbox lifespan trend: the original Xbox One went on sale in 2013, the Xbox One S showed up in 2016, and then the significant Xbox One X mid-gen refresh arrived in 2017 – so 2020 feels about right.

Xbox Series X: price and models

Xbox Series X

Will the Xbox Series X retail for under £500?

(Image credit: Microsoft)

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-£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 US — 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 might be 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. Microsoft hasn't revealed too much about this just yet.

Xbox Series X: design

Xbox Series X Microsoft's next Xbox

The Xbox Series X sports a distinctive new tower design.

(Image credit: Future/Microsoft)

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.

According to Jez Corden from Windows Central, the next Xbox's design has been in development for several years now, and we're impressed with what we've seen so far – right down to the green illumination on the top.

Xbox Series X: specs

Xbox Series X

Will the Xbox Series X be capable of displaying games at an 8K resolution?

(Image credit: Microsoft)

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.

According to Microsoft, the Xbox Series X will come rocking an 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor, an AMD RDNA 2 GPU capable of pushing 12 teraflops of power, 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD for storage to start with (which you can expand if needed). This is going to be capable of matching PC rigs costing thousands of pounds.

Based on what Xbox team members have said to Eurogamer, the next-gen box will be able to run four Xbox One S games simultaneously. Games running in 4K at 60 frames per second will be the norm, with some pushing 120 fps and 8K resolutions (though not at the same time, obviously).

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Insider sources reckon 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.

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.

As expected, 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).

Microsoft has been talking up the potential of ray tracing and the much faster loading times you can expect from the Xbox Series X: check out the video we've embedded above to see how much quicker State of Decay 2 loads up.

The extra graphics oomph on board the Xbox Series X will improve everything from the way that games can resume from sleep, to the smoothness and loading times of vast open world games (such as Red Dead Redemption 2), to the way that smoke, water and wind look on screen.

We now know that much of the Xbox Series X console has been custom-made, from the storage to the processor, and that gives Microsoft's gaming monster a good chance of edging out the PS5 when the two go head-to-head.

Xbox Series X: games

Xbox Series X

Will we get to play a new Halo game on the Xbox Series X? T3's Magic 8-Ball says... "Positively".

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Good news: games from all previous generations of the Xbox will run on the Xbox Series X, though we're still waiting to hear the exact details about that. Phil Spencer is already using the Series X as his primary console, which at least confirms a big commitment to backwards compatibility.

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. 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. 

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.

Sea Of Thieves Xbox Series X

Sea Of Thieves has been a hit: can Microsoft better it for the Xbox Series X?

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.

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

Xbox Series X

T3 can't wait to get our hands on the Xbox Series X.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

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".

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. Even with everything the Xbox team has revealed already, we've still got plenty of questions about what's going to appear.

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 "holiday 2020" launch approaches.