Xbox Series X FAQ: release date, technical details and everything else we know so far

By Heidi Nicholas,
Xbox Series X

Previously operating under the code-name Project Scarlett, Xbox have officially revealed their next generation console during The Game Awards 2019. The Xbox Series X features a bold new design, a reworked controller and a lot of power under the hood. As the Xbox Series X news trickles in over the coming months, we'll keep this FAQ up to date with the latest information.

What is the Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X is the first revealed console of the brand's next generation, supplanting the Xbox One. The name was revealed by Phil Spencer during The Game Awards 2019, along with the design. Prior to this, the console was known as Anaconda under the Project Scarlett pseudonym.

What about the Xbox Series S?

The Xbox Series S has also now been officially confirmed as a smaller, cheaper, all-digital next-gen console.

Xbox Series X/S

When is the Xbox Series X/S coming out?

The Xbox Series X release date has been gradually whittled down from Holiday 2020 to November, and now we have an official specific date: both the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S launch on November 10th.

How much will the Xbox Series X/S cost?

The Xbox Series X is priced at $499/£449. Phil Spencer told The Verge that one mistake with the Xbox One was its high price. We've got a breakdown of the prices of every Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo console, along with adjusted prices to account for inflation, which shows how much they'd cost today. When the Xbox One launched in November 2013, it was also priced at $499: around $564 in today's money. Interestingly, the Xbox Series S, which will launch for $299/£249, shows up as the second-cheapest next-gen console ever.

Can I pre-order the Xbox Series X/S?

Soon! Pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and S go live on September 22nd. Both can be purchased through the Xbox All Access programme, which lets you get a next-gen console and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass, starting at $24.99 per month. Don't forget — EA Play comes to Xbox Game Pass this holiday, meaning from Holiday 2020, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC members will get EA Play memberships for no additional cost.

What are the technical specifications for the Xbox Series X?

The Xbox team shared a load of new information about the Xbox Series X specs earlier in 2020, and we've laid out the brief details for the Xbox Series X below:
  • CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
  • Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus, 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
  • Internal Storage: 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
  • IO Throughput: 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
  • Expandable Storage: 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
  • External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
The power of the GPU is apparently twice that of the Xbox One X, with the console able to support 4K at 60 FPS and up to 120 FPS. The NVME SSD allows for much faster load times, while the Quick Resume technology allows players to switch between multiple games. We've also had a look at a comparison between the size of the Series X console and the Xbox One.

How does the Xbox Series X compare with the Xbox Series S?

Microsoft has now detailed the Xbox Series S specs, and provided a handy chart to compare the two.

Xbox Series X/S

Does the Xbox Series X have a physical disc drive?

Yes, the Xbox Series X has a physical disc drive. Microsoft doesn't seem to be interested in forcing players into a disc-free future any more than they are aiming at a streaming-only future; instead it is trying to give players as many ways to play as possible. The Xbox Series S, on the other hand, is all-digital.

How does the Xbox Series X compare to PlayStation 5?

Just days after the Xbox team shared a first look at Series X stats, the PS5 team revealed new info, and we've compared the Xbox Series X and PS5 specs for you to look at. We don't yet know the price range for the PS5. Spencer had acknowledged that Xbox One was $100 more expensive than the PS4 at launch, and also less powerful, and claimed that the leadership team handling the Xbox Series X would not make similar decisions. As noted above, this has resulted in a $499/£449 Xbox Series X console and a $299/£249 Xbox Series S, so it'll be interesting to see what price Sony announces for the PS5.

Both PlayStation and Xbox are being pretty cagey this time around with the reveal of their new consoles, with neither company committing to a full reveal of the specs and pricing in one big event; instead teasing various aspects over time. This is likely due to how staggering a difference it made for Xbox to reveal so much of the Xbox One at one big event, confusing and angering their own community, before PlayStation had made a peep about the PlayStation 4. PlayStation were able to easily swoop in and undercut both the message and the cost of the Xbox One to the delight of console enthusiasts. Both companies seem to have been waiting for the other to make the first move – Xbox has now revealed prices, launch dates, and specs, so it will be interesting to see what we hear from Sony.

What games are available on Xbox Series X?

We've compiled a list of all the Xbox Series X games we know so far that will arrive with or soon after the console's launch in Holiday 2020. Halo Infinite and Senua's Saga: Hellblade II are confirmed for the console, but although Infinite had originally been planned as a launch title, it's now been delayed until 2021. Now that the Xbox Series X/S have been confirmed to launch on November 10th, a few more titles have been confirmed to release alongside it. For instance, Assassin's Creed Valhalla has been confirmed as a launch title, along with the indie title The Falconeer.

Several of Ubisoft's other, delayed games, such as Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Immortals Fenyx Rising will all be launched as next-generation titles. We've now got release dates for most of those: Watch Dogs: Legion launches on 29th October, and Immortals Fenyx Rising on December 3rd. We know that EA are holding back their next Battlefield so that it can take full advantage of the next generation's power and player base. We suspect that Bethesda's Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI won't be ready until the next generation is well under way, so expect those to take advantage of the new hardware. The same can be said for future Xbox Game Studios projects, such as Rare's next game Everwild, teased at X019. There's also the other Xbox games announced over the summer of 2020, such as Avowed, which looks like it could more than make up for the lack of a new Elder Scrolls game.

However, it's important to note that Microsoft are aiming at accessibility and cross-compatibility, so these definitely won't be the only Xbox games available at launch...

Can I play my Xbox One games on Xbox Series X/S?

Yes, you can play your Xbox One games on Xbox Series X. The Xbox team has repeatedly stated an aim to make its next console backwards compatible with every Xbox One game. In the current half-step generation, we've seen plenty of developers work on Xbox One X Enhanced games, even if they were released for the base Xbox One model, but not all of these games will be able to take full advantage of the new hardware. For instance, VGC reports that the Xbox Series S won't run "Xbox One X versions of backwards compatible games" but its own Xbox One S versions, as a Microsoft spokesperson told the site that “to deliver the highest quality backwards compatible experience consistent with the developer’s original intent, the Xbox Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR.”

Then there's those games which will be optimised for Xbox Series X. The Xbox team detailed the Optimised for Xbox Series X badge, stating that it either refers to new games designed specifically for next-gen, such as Halo Infinite, or older titles which are being enhanced, like Gears 5. Phil Spencer's recent comments emphasised the importance of backwards compatibility: "focusing... on the investment gamers have made in Xbox and making sure that continues — whether it's the controllers that you already own, whether it's the games that you already own — respecting a gamer's relationship with our product to me is just critically important, and something that's just become a pillar for the team." More and more publishers and developers are also announcing free-next gen upgrades for games launching on both the Xbox One and next-gen consoles — for instance, like Rainbow Six Siege.

Can I play my Xbox 360 games on Xbox Series X?

You will be able to play some Xbox 360 games on Xbox Series X. Part of that stated aim of Spencer's is to make every game currently playable on the Xbox One available to play on the Xbox Series X. That means that the list of Xbox 360 games available on Xbox One should be available on the Xbox Series X. Xbox were continually adding to the list of 360 games that could play on the Xbox One until earlier this year, when they stopped the program. This was apparently so that the teams working on bringing Xbox 360 games to the One could instead focus on bring the current Xbox One catalogue over to the Series X. It may be that Xbox decide to start up the process of converting 360 games again once this big backward compatibility project for the Series X is complete, however with many of the biggest 360 titles already available on the Xbox One, we wonder if the consumer appetite will be big enough to bring more 360 games to the Series X.

Can I play my original Xbox games on Xbox Series X?

Again, you will be able to play a small handful of original Xbox games on the Xbox Series X – only those that were successfully ported to the Xbox One. The appetite to play games from three generations ago is arguably even smaller than the one to bring more 360 games to the Series X, so we will have to wait and see whether Xbox decide to start up the conversion project once again. However, the announcement from the Xbox team that the Series X is planned for November was also accompanied by a comment that "there will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November and over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year."

Can I use my current Xbox controller on the Xbox Series X?

Yes, you will be able to use current-generation Xbox One controllers on the Xbox Series X. Spencer's vision of universal access extends to Xbox Series X controller compatibility. In fact, all current Xbox One gaming accessories are apparently going to work on the Xbox Series X, according to Phil Spencer's own Xbox Wire post. However, the Xbox Series X is going to launch with its own updated controller – though that will be cross-compatible with the Xbox One as well. Check out our Xbox Wireless Controller FAQ for more details.

That's everything we know so far about the Xbox Series X and the mysterious Project Scarlett. We'll keep this guide updated with everything we know as the news hits. You can keep up with us on our Xbox Series X news page, or find out about Microsoft's other big gaming project for 2020 – Project xCloud.
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Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Heidi graduated with an MA in English Literature, and now enjoys writing news, reviews, and features across TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. When she’s not writing, Heidi is usually either looking for her next RPG, or trying to convince the rest of the team to hear about yet another delightfully wholesome game she has found.
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