Microsoft shows upcoming Xbox Series X with tower design and updated controller

Microsoft unveiled the following Xbox console at The Game Awards. The Xbox Series X will have a square tower design and will include an optical disc reader. The upcoming console will be “backwards compatible with four Xbox generations” and will be released at the end of 2020.

The Xbox Series X will be the successor to the current Xbox One. Microsoft unveiled the new console, previously codenamed Project Scarlett, at The Game Awards in Los Angeles. The Series X gets a striking square tower design, where previous consoles often had a relatively flat set-top box design. At the top of the console are air holes, through which the warm air is presumably discharged.

The announcement also shows a new wireless controller, whose shape and dimensions have been slightly modified so that even more people can use it, according to Microsoft. The controller still looks a lot like the current Xbox One controller, but contains a circular d-pad. This comes from the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. Furthermore, just like the PlayStation 4, the controller will have a share button, and it will be compatible with the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Current Xbox One controllers will also work on the Series X.

The Xbox Series X

The Xbox website states that the Xbox Series X is backwards compatible. It’s unclear how this will work, but Microsoft speaks of “thousands of games spread across four” [console]generations’. Presumably, users will also be able to play original Xbox games. That game console came out in 2001. The Series X also works with Xbox One accessories and the Xbox Game Pass, which gives players access to virtually all Xbox exclusives and a variety of other games for a fixed monthly fee.

Microsoft reports that the Series X will include a custom Zen 2 soc and it is believed that the console will get a custom Navi GPU. In any case, the company mentions support for hardware-accelerated-ray tracing. The console will support frame rates of 60 fps in combination with a 4k resolution. This can optionally be increased to a maximum of 120fps. The Series X also has support for 8k resolutions and variable refresh rate. The manufacturer confirms the presence of an SSD that ‘virtually eliminates’ loading times. Furthermore, the console supports variable rate shading, auto low latency mode and dynamic latency input.

Earlier there was a rumor that Microsoft will come with two different consoles next year: a high-end model and a cheaper variant. When this comes out, the Series X will probably be the more expensive variant, just like the current Xbox One X. The cheaper variant may not get a disc tray and a somewhat reduced CPU, although Microsoft has not announced anything about this yet.

A game for the upcoming Series X was also shown during the Game Awards. Developer Ninja Theory comes with a sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The studio announced Senua’s Sage: Hellblade II in a slightly shocking trailer. The previous Hellblade game initially only appeared on PC and PS4; a version for the Xbox One followed a year later. The developer has been part of Xbox Game Studios since last year, so Senua’s Sacrifice is likely to be an Xbox exclusive title. Short images of Forza, Halo and a soccer game are also featured in the announcement trailer.

The Xbox Series X will be released at the end of 2020. This release period was announced earlier this year. The suggested retail price is still unknown.