A few days ago, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced the cancellation of E3 2020 in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. Faced with this logical decision, Microsoft has announced new plans to replace the June 2020 Xbox E3 press conference. Today we have a first wave of information on the features of the Xbox Series X and some pretty impressive new details .

The most powerful Xbox of all time

Xbox Series X Power

© Microsoft

From its announcement, Microsoft wanted to offer the most powerful console ever made. From resolution to frames per second, to ultra-realistic rendering, players want the best and Microsoft is on the verge of delivering it.

While the Xbox Series X will offer a massive increase in GPU performance and continue to redefine and advance the state of the art in graphics with new capabilities such as hardware accelerated raytracing, we don't think this generation will be defined only by graphics or resolution.

Jason Ronald, Director of Product Management for Xbox Series X

Microsoft teams knew that players wanted to play in optimal conditions. Then, the Xbox Series X will offer optimal conditions with 4K at 60FPS (frames per second). The latter can even go up to 120FPS. According to AMD, in partnership with Xbox for more than 15 years, this new console should be a new playground in terms of technical innovation thanks in particular to the raw power of the custom-designed processor, powered by an AMD Zen 2 processor. with 8 cores and an RDNA 2 GPU.

The console ends up being a playground for technical innovation. The Xbox Series X is the biggest generational leap in SOC (System on a Chip) and API design we have made with Microsoft, and it is truly an honor for AMD to be a trusted Microsoft partner for this business. The Xbox Series X will be a beacon of technical innovation leadership for this generation of consoles and will spread innovation in the DirectX ecosystem this year and next.

Sébastien Nussbaum, vice-president and senior fellow, semi-personalized products and Technologies at AMD

Official Xbox Series X Features:

CPU: 8 cores at 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz with SMT) Custom Zen 2 processor
GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CPU at 1.825 GHz Customized RDNA 2 GPU
Matrix size: 360.45 mm 2
Process : 7nm Enhanced
Memory : 16 GB GDDR6 with 320 MB bus
Memory bandwidth: 10 GB at 560 GB / s, 6 GB at 336 GB / s
Internal storage: 1 TB custom NVME SSD
I / O throughput: 2.4 GB / s (raw), 4.8 GB / s (compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable storage: 1 TB expansion card (corresponds exactly to internal storage)
External storage: USB 3.2 external hard drive support
Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player
Performance objective: 4K at 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS

The other very important point that will change the game is the support for hardware accelerated Raytracing DirectX, which simulates the properties of light and sound in real time with more precision than any previous technology. For this, Clayton Vaught, technical director of Minecraft, presented a technical demonstration of the impact of Ray Tracing with two comparison images on Minecraft.

Xbox Series X Minecraft (Without Ray Tracing)

© Microsoft

Xbox Series X Minecraft (With Ray Tracing)

© Microsoft

Thanks to this Ray Tracing technology, there are many additional effects that will arrive in our games. The way light now passes through transparent objects like glass. But especially with water, which is incredibly realistic. The latter was now completely transparent and allowed the light of the moon to pass through the player below and to reflect in a realistic way the algae swaying in the current.

As for the developers of Gears of War, they also wanted to show their work and the improvement of Gears 5 on the new Xbox Series X. We are therefore entitled to a version of Gears 5 powered by Unreal Engine, for Xbox Series X using the full PC Ultra Spec settings, which included higher resolution textures and higher resolution volumetric fog, as well as 50% higher particle count than the authorized PC Ultra specifications. Limited to 4K and 30FPS on Xbox One X, the Xbox Series X version is now boosted in 4K to 60FPS.

Xbox Series X Gears 5

© Microsoft

An Xbox Series X version is already in preparation, with a game with shorter loading times and a resolution of 120FPS. Right now, according to Mike Rayner, technical director of the Coalition studio, the game is already running at 100FPS. The goal will also be to offer these 120FPS for online gaming to offer an experience never seen before on consoles. As announced a few days ago, Gears 5 will be part of the "Xbox Smart Delivery" offer. In other words, owners of the Xbox One version will be able to benefit from the Xbox Series X version for free!

Play at high speed

Xbox Series X Speed

© Microsoft

Inevitably, we have known for a long time that next-gen consoles will be more powerful thanks to the arrival of the SSD hard drive. One question was pending, namely the size of this hard drive? With more and more bulky games, the volume of 500GB seemed impossible, in favor of 1to even 2to. Well, on Xbox Series X, the hard drive will be 1 TB.

But the main novelty of this Xbox Series X, will be the arrival of the Xbox Velocity architecture. The latter offers continuous streaming of game resources through close integration between hardware and software. It is a revolutionary new and optimized architecture.

The CPU is the brain of our new console and the GPU is the heart, but the Xbox Velocity architecture is the soul. The Xbox Velocity architecture is much more than fast the last time. It’s one of the most innovative parts of our new console. It's about revolutionizing the way games can create much bigger and more attractive worlds.

Andrew Goossen, Technical Fellow on Xbox Series X at Microsoft.

Speed, but little latency for the Series X

Xbox Series X Latency

© Microsoft

What would the speed be, if your console has large latency gaps? For this, Microsoft ensures that fairly exceptional means will make the experience incredible.

Competitive players and the best gaming experiences demand precise and responsive controls. The Xbox team analyzed the entire end-to-end input pipeline from controller to console and console to screen and we challenged ourselves to identify every opportunity to further reduce latency for provide the best experience for players on Xbox.

Andrew Goossen, Technical Fellow on Xbox Series X at Microsoft.

Creation of a whole new technology such as dynamic latency input (DLI), HDMI 2.1 specification by adding new game-centric features such as 120Hz support, variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM). All this combined will allow the Xbox Series X to be an ultra-fast console and improve many points of the console such as the loading time which will be considerably reduced thanks to the processing power of the Xbox Series X.

A new controller

New Xbox Series X Controller

© Microsoft

It’s also during an interview that Ryan Whitaker, Senior Designer at Xbox, unveiled new information about the Xbox Series X controller. We were promised a more inclusive controller, designed for all hands, even the smallest. Overall, this new pad is inspired by Elite controllers. A new directional cross appears, the triggers have new textures and with areas around these which have been reduced and rounded. The new texture will also affect the buttons and this controller promises better grip. You'll also notice the addition of a "Share" button, to easily take a screenshot or record a video and stream it.

The new controller is Bluetooth Low Energy compatible, and it will work on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, iOS and Android. It will be possible to easily switch from one device to another. As for the USB port, Microsoft opted for USB-C.

Xbox Series X

© Microsoft