Microsoft has just dropped a whole load of new information on the Xbox Series X, doubling down not only on backwards compatibility, but also introducing a new system called “Smart Delivery” that, in some respects, could be seen as forwards compatibility.
With the Xbox Series X, Smart Delivery will seemingly ensure that you have the right version of a game, no matter which Xbox console you’ve bought it on. So, for instance, if you were to buy a cross-generation game on the Xbox One, you’ll have a souped-up version waiting for you as soon as you fire up the more-powerful Xbox Series X. Microsoft’s first-party titles will offer this by default, but it’s a feature that will be optional for third-party developers and publishers.
Backwards compatibility will benefit from the more powerful hardware too – you’ll get faster load times, higher resolutions and improved visual fidelity from any game supported across the existing three generations of Xbox hardware when running them on the Xbox Series X.
The generous Xbox Game Pass all-you-can-eat game library subscription service will continue onto the next-gen machine, and Halo Infinite will be available on Xbox Game Pass as soon as the game is released.
Microsoft also went on to share further details on the console's innards. While much was already confirmed, there were a few details to color our existing knowledge.
The Xbox Series X is using a custom-designed processor from AMD (making use of Zen 2 and Navi architecture), confirming some existing details. What is interesting is Microsoft seems at pains to point out that the machine will have twice the graphical grunt as the Xbox One X – you're looking at 12TFLOPs vs Xbox One X's 6TFLOPS – but this shouldn't be confused with compute power. Still, combined with the HDMI 2.1 standard, there's enough raw power here to get games running at frame rates as high as 120fps.
Ray-tracing technology and the SSD storage system were further talked up enthusiastically, with both in tandem delivering more expansive and lifelike worlds, loading in an near-instantly. The SSD technology also informs a new 'Quick Resume' feature, allowing you to jump quickly back in to precise states of multiple games near instantly – think similarly to how you have an app sleeping in the background on your phone.
The Xbox Series X will also have support for existing Xbox One peripherals, while a new Dynamic Latency Input technology should make for more responsive control when playing.
It's another detailed look at the still-yet-to-be-fully-unveiled console. What's left to learn? A specific launch date and pricing for starters, but also the wider launch line-up beyond Halo Infinite, and just exactly what the console looks like when in play – will it share the Xbox One's current interface for instance, or is an overhaul in line with the new powers of the next-gen machine in line? We'll find out soon enough – it's now once again over to Sony, and whatever its next move for the PS5 reveal will be.
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Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.