Xbox Series X revealed – the new name and design for Project Scarlett, coming Holiday 2020

Microsoft have named and revealing the design of their next generation console. Project Scarlett will now be known as Xbox Series X, featuring a striking tower-like design, though one that’s possible to lie horizontally. Microsoft also revealed the next Xbox Wireless Controller, making subtle modifications to the current design.

Xbox Series X will be out in time for Christmas 2020.

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The squared off tower design is intended to provide enhanced cooling for the console, compared to the flatter forms of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the last few generations. Whether you stand it upright or on its side, Microsoft explain that “Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” This will comes from a single large fan pushing air out of the top at the top, that’s able to run at a lower speed and quieter than those found in current console designs, while still improving airflow through the system. Microsoft say it will be no louder than the already incredibly quiet Xbox One X.

The form is needed because the console is dramatically more powerful than before. Built with AMD’s Zen 2 CPU architecture and RDNA GPU architecture, it will also feature hardware accelerated ray tracing. Microsoft are also introducing a patented Variable Rate Shading technology to help extract more performance, and combining this with their next-gen SSD to “virtually eliminate load times.” Further to this, Auto Low Latency Mode and Dynamic Latency Input will ensure that games are more responsive than ever. Despite all of this, Microsoft did not reveal the final specs of what’s inside the tower.

We can extrapolate roughly how big the console is, though, thanks to the gamepad propped up against it. It’s roughly 6″ wide, 6″ deep and 12″ tall. Thankfully you can put it horizontally, but you might still struggle to fit it into a TV cabinet.

Playing those games, you’ll have your hands on the new Xbox Wireless Controller. This largely has the same form and function of the current design, but with two key changes: a dedicated Share button and a rounded D-Pad that further evolves the design from the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller. The new Xbox Wireless Controller will not just be compatible with the Xbox Series X, but with Windows 10 and back to the current Xbox One consoles as well. Meanwhile, it’s previously been confirmed that the current peripherals will be supported on the new console.

Showing off the new hardware was the newly announced sequel to Ninja Theory’s Hellblade. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. Footage found in the trailer below was captured in-engine as a demonstration of the Xbox Series X’s power.

The only other first party game revealed for Xbox Series X is Halo Infinite, due out alongside the console in Holiday 2020, however Microsoft reiterated their intention to make the console play as much of the back catalogue as possible. Games from Xbox Game Studios will have cross-generational “entitlements” (ownership), and Achievements and game saves will transfer between devices. There will be four generations of gaming, support for Xbox One accessories, and Xbox Game Pass will be available for the system on day one.

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15 Comments

  1. Not the prettiest thing ever but the specs seem solid. I’ll probably still stick with the PS5 as my mates are on there and having more than one console is a waste imo.

  2. I don’t like the name, it sounds like it’s an upgrade to the One X and not a next gen console. Being square it doesn’t look like it would fit in the space where my PS4 is so that could be a problem for me if I was considering buying on.

  3. That’s pretty damn ugly, and I annoyingly I don’t think it’ll fit in my TV cabinet.

    I still think I’m going to go Xbox over PS5 though.

    • Why?

      • Prefer the pad, like the infrastructure of Gamepass, and still like Gears, Halo and Forza etc.

        And from a site point of you I can probably guess that everyone else will buy a PS5 so someone needs to write about the MS stuff ;)

      • I will undoubtedly end up with both at some point though, just like the previous three generations!

  4. People with an Xbox One X will be able to upgrade to an Xbox X. Exciting times. I do prefer this clean design compared to what we’ve seen of the PS5 devkit.

    • I quite like that PS5 devkit. It looks like someone actually designed something, even though it was just for developers.

      Someone at MS obviously said “I just watched 2001 the other night. I’ve got an idea”

      • I dunno, PS5 devkit smacks of “80’s cool” to me but i’ll have to accept whatever the final design is as i won’t be jumping ship :)

    • Fully agree. I don’t want anything like that PS5 devkit in my living room. I think, design-wise, it’s for the same people who like that abominable Cybertruck… ;-)

  5. It looks like they forgot to actually design it. Started with a big black box (which is sensible) and then forgot to do anything else with it (which is just lazy).

    They did manage to put a big dent in the top though. Maybe you’re supposed to think the fans are so powerful their sucking the air vents in? Plus it’s going look even uglier when it’s on it’s side, as most people will put it.

    And the name doesn’t help. The One X at least sounded like an upgrade. This just makes it sound like a new version of the One X, not a whole new console.

    Nothing so far to worry Sony. There won’t be any significant difference in power compared to the PS5, and they’re both likely to end up costing exactly the same. Backwards compatibility, if Sony get it right, will work in Sony’s favour this time, just because of how many PS4s have been sold.

    The rumoured cheaper version might complicate things. Not necessarily going to help MS though, especially if Sony can price the PS5 between the 2 Xboxes.

    Would a safe prediction be “it does better than the One”? Or that “Sony will sell more than MS, as they have done every single time”?

  6. This actually looks good, it’s a quite elegant piece of hardware and is much better than what I’ve seen of the PS5 so far. Given how little time I find playing games these days, I might consider switching to XBox…

  7. So basically its a PC tower

    • It’s tiny compared to PCs. The closest equivalent would be the old “trashcan” Mac Pro, which had similarly custom hardware and a single fan at the top to draw air in through the bottom.

      For a gaming PC, even a vertically oriented mini-ITX case like the Phanteks EVOLVE Shift Air, it’s so much smaller and seems to have so much less ventilation through the bespoke design.

  8. They are out of their minds with that name. It is so awkward and is bound to confuse at least as many parents as the Wii U did.

    For me, Sony has long been the platform of choice for one main reason: the games. Specifically, exclusive games made by Sony to run perfectly on their machines. They’ve done really well with this during the PS4 generation, though ideally the output would have been higher. To me, Xbox has a couple of series and it doesn’t really know how to move on from there. It’s great that they bought a few studios, but I’m not optimistic that they’ll get more than one or two great games from them. This announcement of their new console – which should be a big deal – doesn’t excite me whatsoever and does nothing to draw me away from PlayStation.

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