The Xbox Series X is a seriously powerful console, but although the graphics of current-gen games will improve on Microsoft’s new hardware, Xbox boss Phil Spencer believes that higher frame rates will be a lot more impactful.
Speaking during a Gamelab interview, Spencer stressed that improved load times and frame rates will ultimately make the difference next-gen, and will help to provide a more immersive experience.
"I think we're at a point now – with immersion, with the tools we have and the compute capability – that the deltas will be smaller from a visual impact, or that feature X was never possible before and now it is,” Spencer said. “And that might sound depressing to some, but what I would say is the advantage side of what I'm seeing now is really the immersive nature of the content that's getting created."
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The higher the better
While the transition to 2D games to 3D games was immediately apparent to new players in previous console generations, the Xbox Series X’s most appealing feature is a lot harder to ascertain. Microsoft’s new box is capable of up to 120fps, which is significantly higher than the average 30fps console gamers are used to. A higher frame rate means games feel more responsive thanks to lower input latency, and the visual experience is greatly improved as motion and animations are much smoother and more stable.
"We're able to get to almost lifelike graphics today, even on current gen in certain instances," Spencer explained. "But when you take that and you mix it with a very high frame rate, solid frame rate, very little latency in input, and the ability for game storytellers to really push the emotion and the story they're trying to get through their game, through the screen, through the controller and into you? That is something I'm feeling in the games now that is a dramatic step up.”
Consoles are finally catching up
We’ve already seen some impressive looking games during the Xbox Series X and PS5 games reveal events, but while fancy new graphics are always a plus, consoles have tended to fall behind PCs when it's come to frame rates. And that's because, typically, most PCs either come equipped with a stronger processor and you can also upgrade them over time. Consoles, meanwhile, are bound to the same chip for five or more years, with a set hardware standard for developers to adhere to.
With Microsoft seemingly focusing on providing a silky-smooth frame rate for its upcoming games, then, it looks like console gamers might finally get to enjoy the benefits of higher frame rates.