If you’re curious about what you’ll be playing the next generation of Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon on, ponder no longer: Microsoft has revealed its fourth-gen console, dubbed the Xbox Series X, and it’s going to be one powerful machine.
Previously known as Project Scarlett, the upcoming Xbox will generate four times the computational grunt as the current Xbox champ, the One X. Considering the One X boasted around 4.5 times the graphics processing power as the original Xbox One, the Series X and its AMD-supplied processors should barely sweat while rendering games at 4K resolution.
“Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility,” said Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division.
“Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way, something that is critically important in delivering truly immersive gameplay.”
Want some specific numbers? Spencer claims 4K gaming at 60 frames per second will be easily achieved, with 120FPS and 8K resolution possible – though obviously not at the same time. Hardware-accelerated ray tracing should see incredibly lifelike graphics (think accurate reflections in car paint and water puddles, and ultra-realistic shadows), and Microsoft says the Series X will deliver “a new level of performance never before seen in a console”.
A big claim, and one that Sony will no doubt be scrambling to challenge when it announces the Playstation 5 next year. A solid-state hard drive should also hasten loading times – we hope - though there's curiously no mention whatsoever of a VR capability.
Built into an upright black housing somewhat reminiscent of a PC tower (how very Microsoft), Spencer said Xbox Series X will deliver its impressive performance in “the most quiet and efficient way”. Is there some Apple-style passive cooling in there? We’ve yet to find out.
Don’t like the Series X’s monolithic tower config? Microsoft has designed it to work in a horizontal orientation as well, which indicates there must be some special thermal management trickery to enable it to stay cool in both positions – or at least enough fans to force-feed air through it when it’s laid sideways.
It’s not the only new hardware to get revealed today. The Xbox Wireless Controller will be paired with the Xbox Series X and promises better ergonomics for a “wider range of people” (we think that means it’s better for bigger hands) as well as out-of-the-box compatibility with Windows 10 PCs. There’s also a dedicated one-touch screenshot and clip capture button.
READ MORE: Forza Horizon 4 review
Oh, the cherry on top? You won’t need to cling onto your old Xbox, as the Series X will be backwards-compatible with all prior Xbox titles as well as all Xbox One peripherals.
The specs sound promising so far, and judging by the prominent placement of a Koenigsegg Regera in the official reveal video above there should be a Forza title available at launch. It’s no secret that Forza Motorsport 8 was delayed to align it with Series X, so odds are that title is already chambered and ready to fire.
We’ve got a wait ahead of us though. The Xbox Series X is slated to release in “Holiday 2020”, or the fourth quarter of next year. Don’t hock your Xbox One just yet.