Well, that was a surprise, wasn’t it? Last night, during The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft unveiled their next gen Xbox (previously codenamed Project Scarlett) – and the name has also been revealed. Xbox Series X is coming ‘holiday’ (that’s Christmas, to those of us outside the US) 2020 and is aiming to be the fastest, most powerful console on the market upon release.
According to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, “We wanted to have a dramatic upgrade from the Xbox One base console. So when we do the math, we’re over eight times the GPU power of the Xbox One, and two times what an Xbox One X is.”
This is great news for consumers, but of course a lot will rest on the final price and the strength of the competition; Sony’s next console is yet to be officially unveiled and it does feel, perhaps, as if Microsoft have jumped the gun a little with the reveal. Perhaps that’s just me though; I’ll always remember a bullish Sony unveiling their first PlayStation at $100 less than the Sega Saturn and – in the process – completely transforming the video games landscape as we know it.
It’s a different time now, of course. Smartly, the price hasn’t yet been unveiled. Nor have the final tech specs, though some details have been given. What we have seen is the console itself, which has had a somewhat mixed reaction. Twitter has been quick to react, as is to be expected.
What I find both interesting and – if I’m honest, a little concerning – is the name of the console. Interesting because it suggests (as the rumours have foretold for some time) that there will be consoles at varying price points and levels of power, but concerning because it doesn’t differentiate itself from the current gen Xbox One.
This is an area that Microsoft have always floundered in. Where Sony have been clear and obvious by adding the relevant number to their latest consoles, Microsoft have persisted in really bizarre naming conventions; we jumped from Xbox (itself intended, I believe, to be a placeholder name – but of course it stuck) to Xbox 360 (in researching this article, I couldn’t find a straight answer on what led to that name), then the Xbox One (initially intended to be the ‘all in one‘ entertainment box, as could be seen at its infamously disastrous unveiling) and even then with the newer models for the One – the S and X. Do we have a Wii U-style confusing name situation with the series X, that sounds an awful lot like the Xbox One X? Time will tell, but presumably the individual models will do the heavy lifting in that area.
Having been part of the Xbox ecosystem for some time now – though only recently upgrading to a One X from a 360 – and with backwards compatibility being mooted again, I’m definitely going to jump to a Series X console at some point.
Having been burned by launch consoles before in terms of reliability and even features that are added to further iterations, it’s unlikely that I’ll be on board from day one however – but I’m very keen to see the reaction and feedback once the console(s) are released; I’m also very keen to see what Sony have up their sleeves for PS5. Nintendo, of course, will continue being Nintendo and are unlikely to be pushing tech as hard or far as Microsoft and Sony, but I’m keen to see where they progress too – though that’s not likely to be for some time, given the current success of the Switch.
What are your thoughts on the Xbox Series X? The look and the tech itself, along with the game announcements and details we’ve seen so far? Let me know in the comments below!
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