Xbox Series X console officially confirmed to launch in November
Microsoft has confirmed its fourth-generation Xbox, the Xbox Series X, will be released this November to square up with Sony’s PlayStation 5 in the gaming market.
The new games console, which Xbox has described as its ‘most powerful ever’, will feature processing power twice that of the current generation Xbox One X.
Xbox Series X will also have backwards compatibility technology, which allows games from older consoles to be played on the new system.
There are 50 new games planned for launch this year, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Gears Tactics, and Watch Dogs: Legion.
However, the release of the new console’s flagship game, Halo Infinite, will be delayed until 2021, giving Microsoft more time ‘to finish critical work’.
The Xbox Series X release will coincide with the arrival of Sony’s new console, the PlayStation 5, which is expected to launch in the last three months of the year.
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The Xbox Series X console, to be released this November. The design of the new console is different from previous Xbox generations, with a more upright ‘tower block’ appearance
‘There will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November, and over 100 optimised for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year,’ Microsoft said in a blog post.
‘Hundreds of developers are at work on new games for Xbox Series X that will raise the bar for fidelity, speed and immersion.’
Microsoft said that the ability to play all the old favourites across four generations of Xbox ‘was a key tenet’ in the next generation of console gaming.
Backwards compatibility means gamers will have access to thousands of titles across four generations of content – from the original Xbox, released in 2001, to 2005’s Xbox 360 and 2013’s Xbox One.
Matt Booty, head of Microsoft Studios, previously said Series X launch games will ‘play up and down that family of devices’.
That means the new console will support all games playable on Xbox One, including Xbox 360 and original Xbox console games currently supported through backward compatibility on the Xbox One.
There will be thousands of games for people to play spanning the four generations of Xbox, Microsoft said.
The new console’s flagship game – the first-person shooter Halo Infinite and the sixth instalment of the popular Halo gaming series – is being developed by the Microsoft-owned publisher Xbox Game Studios.
Microsoft said its vision is ‘to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever’ while ‘balancing the team’s well-being’.
The release of the new console’s flagship game, Halo Infinite, will be delayed until 2021, giving Microsoft more time ‘to finish critical work’
‘To do that, we will need some more time to finish the critical work necessary to launch Halo Infinite, which will come in 2021,’ it said.
In a separate blog post, Chris Lee, studio head for Halo Infinite, said the ‘difficult decision’ was due to multiple factors, including the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday,’ Lee said.
‘The extra time will let us finish the critical work necessary to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever at the quality we know our fans expect.’
Microsoft revealed a glimpse of Halo Infinite game play footage last month, although the gameplay was criticised for its overall ‘art style and visual fidelity’, the developers admitted, and the extra time will allow for much-needed tweaks.
It also offered a first look at other new games coming to the console, including a new entry to the Fable action role-playing video game series, 10 years after Fable III was launched.
Despite the delay to Halo Infinite, there will be more than 50 new games planned for this year.
Microsoft named five of the confirmed games that will launch around the same time as the console – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Gears Tactics, Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Watch Dogs: Legion.
Fortnite will also launch at about the same time as the console, as will The Ascent, Gears 5, Rainbow Six Siege and Scorn, according to IGN.
Microsoft also touted its new feature, Smart Delivery, which allows gamers to buy these games once and play new versions of it for free later down the line.
Under Smart Delivery, if consumers buy a version of a game for the old Xbox One, for example, Microsoft will provide the next generation of the game for Xbox Series X owners at no additional cost when it becomes available.
Microsoft said that the best way to discover new games for the upcoming console, however, will be with Xbox Game Pass, its video game subscription service that gives users access to a catalogue of games over the cloud.
Like the video games version of Netflix, Xbox Game Pass delivers a library of content across console and PC, including all games from Xbox Game Studios the day they launch.
Xbox Game Pass starts from £7.99 per month and ranges to £10.99 a month for the ‘Ultimate’ tier, which features ‘exclusive free perks including in-game content and partner offers’.
On top of this, from September 15, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will also be able to play more than 100 games from the cloud on their Android phone or tablet, ‘enabling them to take their console gaming on the go’.
‘Experiences you expect on Xbox consoles such as your friends list, achievements, controller settings and saved game progress all come with you when you play on mobile,’ Microsoft said in its post.
The US gaming giant has already partnered Samsung for the release of its new Galaxy Note 20 range, which has built-in support for game streaming via Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft first teased the Xbox Series X under the code name ‘Project Scarlett’ during the E3 2019 games conference in June 2019 before announcing the new console’s name and revealing images in December.
The design of the new console is different from previous Xbox generations, with a jet black colour and a more upright ‘tower block’ appearance.
Microsoft then revealed detailed specifications of the Xbox Series X in March, including a ‘quick resume’ feature that lets gamers pause and resume games instantly
In addition to heavy processing power, Series X will also have room for 1TB removable expansion cards in the back of the console.
It will run games at 4K resolution with the possibility of running 8K resolution with frame rates of up to 120 frames-per-second.