Game upgrades must be free, Microsoft says

It’s easy to forget that Microsoft is developing a next-gen gaming console, the Xbox Series X, considering the amount of screen time that goes to Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 (PS5).

To keep the Xbox fans happy – everybody knows where my allegiance lie… – I’ve decided to gather all the bits of information, rumours and leaks in one place. A roundup of Series X can be viewed here.

First let me say, before we look at the new Xbox in more detail, that whoever is in charge of naming consoles at Microsoft should be looking for a new job. Right, that’s off my chest. Let’s move on.

Xbox X Series: Table of Contents

  • News updates
    • Release date range confirmed, despite coronavirus outbreak
    • 8K TV sets for next-gen consoles
  • Xbox X series intro
  • Ports and connectivity
  • Specifications
  • Series X games
  • Price and launch date

Check back regularly; we will update this article as more information becomes available.

Update: July 2020 – Games upgrades ‘must be free’

Andy Robinson from Video Game Chronicles reported that Microsoft strongly encourages developers to offer their games across generations for free, ideally by using the Smart Delivery program: 

“Microsoft told VGC that companies working on cross-gen games have been encouraged to offer both current and next-gen versions at no additional cost, either via Smart Delivery or their own schemes such as EA’s Dual Entitlement”.

Robinson explained that Microsoft “wants to give publishers and developers a multitude of options” when it comes to selling their games across Xbox One and Xbox Series X, “even if they don’t adopt its recommended policies”.

Update: 10 June 2020 – Launch still on track

According to Venture Beat’s Jeff Grubb, Microsoft reportedly pushed “plans all the way to August,” because “Microsoft doesn’t want to go before Sony’s Thursday event.” This, however, is not the case.

Samual Bateman and Aaron Greenberg both set the record straight after several outlets erroneously reported that the Xbox Series X console reveal was pushed back to August 2020.

Taking to Twitter, Greenberg said that they “have not pushed anything back”, and that it’s all systems go for the digital show in July. “Teams are working hard on that,” he added. Bateman simply tweeted:

“No it’s not [pushed back]. We’ll see you in July”.

Update: 21 May 2020 – Microsoft’s ‘magical’ console

In an interview with EDGE Magazine, Tor Frick and Arcade Berg from Neon Giant studio-the developers of Xbox Series X RPG title The Ascent talked about their experience working with the Xbox Series X.

According to Frick, the Xbox Series X is “easier to develop for” when compared to previous console generations. He mentioned faster load speeds and added that it “just comes out, magically”. Berg explains:

 “Microsoft is very open and approachable […] Microsoft knows what it takes to be able to make a game for their machines.” 

Holiday season 2020, baby

Even though Microsoft is yet to confirm an official date for the Xbox Series X release, the company said that there is no “Plan B”. The console would be on the shelves by the 2020 holiday season.

This follows after the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe had gamers worried that the release of the Series X could be delayed to 2021.

Phil Spencer, who’s the executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, said in an interview on 2 April 2020 that Microsoft will put the “safety and security of the teams at the top,” but added:

“We have nothing right now that says we’re not going to make the dates that we’ve been planning. But this is real time stuff, and I’m going to put the safety and security of the teams at the top; along with a quality product. I don’t want to rush a product out if it’s not ready. The thing that I’m going to put front and centre is safety and security of the team”.

New TV, who dis?

We’re all excited about the upcoming release of the Xbox Series X. The pricey downside, however, is that you might need to fork out your hard-earned monies for a new TV set.

Both Microsoft and Sony Entertainment have indicated their next-gen consoles will be designed for their next-gen TV sets. Any Fitbit user who has a Huawei phone will know exactly what is happening here…

Next-gen TVs with 120 Hz support and 8K streaming capabilities mean that those TVs’ refresh rate can display gaming content that runs on 120 frames per second. It makes it ideal for next-gen gaming.

What’s the problem, I hear you ask? Well, most people still don’t even own a 4K TV, let alone one with an 8K display. Prices vary according to size and specs, but a Sony Z8H 8K TV has a R100k price tag, so there’s that.

Backward compatibility

25 February 2020: Executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, confirmed that the upcoming Xbox Series X will be backward compatible; it will play up to four generations of Xbox games.

Spenser begins by saying that the future of gaming “has never been more inspiring”, and that creativity in games is flourishing. He then adds:

“At Xbox we value being open and transparent with you. I’m proud to be able to share details about some of the technologies we are enabling for the next generation”.

Spence adds that he is looking “forward to boldly sharing more as we head towards E3”. Read more about the Series X’s backward compatibility and other features here.

Sony’s Xbox will arrive with a bang the same time as Sony’s PS5 – towards the latter part of 2020. That means you have more than enough time to save up.

The Xbox Series X is going to be a beast of a machine, even if I, as a die-hard PlayStation fan, have to say so myself. Not to pour fuel on the console wars, but the X Series is being described as the most powerful console.

Ports and connectivity

Earlier this month AMD held a press conference at CES 2020 in which an Xbox Series X render was shown with a glimpse on the back of the console. Of course, some ports to be seen.

AMD later stated that the render was fan-made, which admittedly took away some of its legitimacy. Now that other alleged renders surfaced online, fans are speculating if it’s the real deal this time around.

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