Microsoft’s next-generation gaming console is called Xbox Series X, the company announced during an onstage unveiling at this year’s Game Awards Thursday. It’s slated for a holiday 2020 release, unsurprisingly corresponding with competitor Sony’s release date for its Playstation 5.
The console—previously known by its codename, Project Scarlett—looks more like a PC tower than something you’d find in a living room entertainment system. Given its name contains three “X”s, I don’t see why Microsoft didn’t plaster “XXX” across the front, but, no, the company opted to keep things sleek and black and very, very blocky-looking. Apropos of its cheesy slogan, “Power Your Dreams,” the Xbox Series X’s new trailer is set to a backtrack of writer Alan Watts’ “The Dream of Life” speech.
During the presentation, Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed the Xbox Series X works in either a vertical or horizontal orientation—so no need to buy a new TV stand just yet—and he promised it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” An official Microsoft announcement went into a bit more detail about the console’s hardware. The Xbox Series X will support 60FPS, 4K, and 8K visuals “with a possibility of up to 120FPS.” It also boasts a “next-generation SSD” that Microsoft claims “will virtually eliminate load times.”
Spencer held off on confirming any other specs or a price point for the Xbox Series X onstage, though he did hint in a recent GameSpot interview that this new console has “over eight times the GPU power of the Xbox One, and two times what an Xbox One X is.” This echoes previous reports that Project Scarlett aims to deliver 12 teraflops of computing power. Per these reports, Xbox Series X will feature an eight-core CPU with clockspeeds of around 3.5GHz and 13GB of RAM reserved for games. It will also support ray tracing and be backward compatible with current Xbox One games and Microsoft’s library of older backward compatible Xbox games.
The word “series” in its name also seems to suggest there won’t be just one, adding credence to previous rumors about Microsoft releasing two versions of its next-gen console. While these rumors remain unconfirmed, in that same GameSpot interview Spencer explained the name was deliberately chosen in part to allow for possible future models.
“Obviously in the Series X, it gives us freedom to do other things with that name so that we can create descriptors when we need to,” he told GameSpot.
So Microsoft’s free to tackle all the non-X letters in the alphabet with beefier or trimmed-down iterations of its new console. Or, instead, just keep adding to the name to make it longer and longer until we get some abomination like Xbox Series X Version X One X Two X Red X Blue X.