WHAT Xbox Series X 3
THE COST $499
AVAILABLE FROM xbox.com
BOTTOM LINE A good start, but just wait until a new game library comes into play,
Building toward the future has always been built embedded in the Xbox console family's DNA, and the new Xbox Series X, is no different. It's a system that has the power to deliver the graphic fireworks that will mark this generation.
Most notably it can handle DirectX raytracing, a rendering technique that lets developers model light in a realistic way creating real-time reflections and Pixar-level visuals. It also delivers silky smooth gameplay in 4K at 120 frames per second that's a must for today's competitive gaming.
Overall, the Series X games will look more realistic and have a seamless experience, with less time spent on load screens. Although these upgrades aren't a huge leap, compared to the jump from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360, it's something even the casual gamer could overlook unless they pay close attention.
Hardware is important but it doesn't explain the full vision behind Microsoft's machine. Looking from a broader view, the Series X is a culmination of years of planning. Since the beginning, the Xbox family has been built with similar architecture and that enables the new system to play almost any game stretching back to the original console. That means loyal Xbox fans can use their game libraries on the system. With a backward compatibility that supports hundreds of past games, the Series X has plenty of content out of the box.
The machine will need that library at launch because it doesn't have much of a system showpiece yet. The Series X lacks a new first-party title that shows off the console's bonafides. Microsoft's tech helps older games such as "Gears of War 5" and "Forza Horizons 4" look and run better as Optimized for Xbox Series X titles. Other offerings such as "Batman: Arkham Knight" benefit from Auto HDR, which brings high-dynamic range colors to games that didn't originally support it.
When players hit the share button, the Xbox Series X saves the image or video to the OneDrive and players can access it on the smartphone's app to share across whichever social media service they want. It's a much easier way to show off a cool screenshot or a funny moment to the world. What's more compelling, though, is the Remote Play, which lets players run games off the console and stream it to their smartphone or tablet.
That means if another person is using the living room TV that's connected to the Series X to watch "Real Housewives," players can still access a game and play on their mobile devices. It lets gamers play their favorites anywhere in the house, or anywhere their phone works, for that matter.
Although the Xbox Series X may not have the eye-popping games now, it is built for a specific vision of the future. It's one where the boundaries of gaming melt away and players can access their games anywhere. It's also one in which the subscription model plays a bigger role in how Xbox games are released and developed, and that all starts with the Series X.