The eighth generation of consoles is on the verge of ending, with consoles being the most popular way of playing games the coming generation is going to make is a massive buzz in the tech world. Both Microsoft and Sony have already announced that their respective consoles will be available during the holiday season of 2020. We already know that the Xbox Series X and PS5 will feature custom AMD processors under the Zen 2.0 architecture, RDNA based GPU, SSDs, and support for 4K and 8K content. One may say that these specifications were released to create hype around the upcoming consoles, but it is still too early to judge.
Coming to the news at hand, the head of Xbox Phil Spencer released a blog taking a step further into the nitty-gritty of the upcoming console(s). Earlier rumors suggest that Xbox will actually release two consoles under the Series X tier, one of which will be the all-out version while the other one will be a muted version but still more powerful than the current king of consoles (Xbox One X). The blog post did not confirm whether the rumors are true, but the specs posted by Phil Spencer do comply with the rumored all-out version.
Much like the previous generation, the console will be powered by a custom APU by AMD. The processor of the APU will be based on the Zen 2.0 architecture, while the graphics accelerator will be based on the RDNA architecture. The critical information that Phil quoted was the power dynamics. The CPU, of course, will be a huge upgrade since current consoles are using custom jaguar CPUs from AMD, which are almost a decade old now. The GPU front is where things get interesting.
We know that Xbox One S boasts 6.1 TFLOPS of computing power, other consoles don’t even come close to its computing power. The GPU in the Xbox Series X will boast around 12 TFLOPS of computing power, which is twice as fast as the One X and eight times as fast as the One S. It should give a rough perspective of true 4k60 gaming experience. However, 8k gaming, even at these crazy numbers, look far fetched, at least for now.
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VRS and Ray Tracing
Since the arrival of the Turing RTX graphics cards, Ray Tracing has been the buzz of the gaming industry. Many game developers are adapting to the technology, and big franchises like the Tomb Raider, Call of Duty, Battlefield have already brought their take on photo-realistic reflections. Xbox series X will boast hardware-accelerated Ray tracing capabilities so that gamers can enjoy a true to life gaming experience on their new consoles.
VRS is Xbox’s patented technology that will allow developers to utilize the full potential of the console. Rather than using GPU cycles to every pixel on the screen, it will enable developers to allocate GPU resources to different objects on display.
Low-speed storage has been one of the most prominent blemishes of our current consoles. Even though we have the option to swap the low-speed HDD in favor of an SSD. The consoles, even the mid-gen PS4 Pro and Xbox One X come equipped with an HDD, which makes loading times too long for many games. For example, it takes more than a minute to load Witcher 3, a 5-year-old game to load into the game using the stock HDD.
The Xbox Series X will change the tradition and will come equipped with Xbox’s custom solid-state solution. Quoting Phil himself, “Game worlds are larger, more dynamic and load in a flash and fast travel is just that – fast.” On top of getting into the game faster, it will allow Xbox to implement a feature which they are calling Quick Resume. It lets the user continue multiple games from the suspended state in a flash, without waiting through the long loading screens.
Dynamic Latency Input (DLI)
Hardware latency has been one of the top concerns for the developers of fast-paced games. With cloud gaming, the issue has become more pronounced since the addition of network latency makes things worse. To cope with the Input latency Xbox has utilized its proprietary wireless communication technology to minimize the lag whenever the Xbox controller is connected with the console. DLI takes it further by synchronizing input immediately with the display.
HDMI 2.1 and 120fps
Xbox is working with the TV manufacturers to prioritize the HDMI 2.1 interface, which will enable the best gaming experience through features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and variable refresh rate (VRR). Xbox One is already using these features if the TV allows. ALLM allows the consoles to set the connected displays into low latency modes automatically. While the VRR will enable games to utilize TV’s refreshing capabilities to minimize screen tearing and latency.
Lastly, with the support of 120fps, we would see the future of console gaming via the Xbox Series X, although developers would try to limit the resolution in favor of frame rate. Such a compromise will be necessary to keep the gaming experience intact.
We have many platforms such as PC, different kinds of consoles to play our games. The addition of new consoles will increase not only the number of platforms but also the cost of gaming since you would require to buy the game separately if you plan on gaming on your Xbox or PC, or PlayStation. Xbox has announced that users would not need to purchase the games separately if they plan on upgrading from the One S/X to Series X. Once purchased on any of these platforms, the game will work flawlessly on either of the consoles via a new service called quick delivery. Apart from the in-house games such as Halo, Forze, CDPR’s highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 will also be available for both platforms by a single purchase.
Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades. Owners of #Cyberpunk2077 for Xbox One will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when available. https://t.co/nfkfFLj85w
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) February 24, 2020
Xbox Game Pass
Lastly, the Series X will continue Xbox’s game subscription service called the Xbox Game Pass. With its growing library of games and the ability to migrate saves and services among platforms, Xbox Game Pass is one of the best services that Xbox offers, and it will continue with the Series X console(s).