Play Life, Live Games: Microsoft making bold moves with Xbox Series X
Back in 2002, I purchased an original Xbox. Although I already had a PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube at the time, the Xbox became my go-to system. If a game I wanted was available on multiple systems, I would always pick up the Xbox version.
Despite enjoying Xbox exclusives like the first two Halo games, when it came time to upgrade to a new system a few years later I went with the PlayStation 3 over the Xbox 360, and I really haven’t had an overwhelming desire to return to the Xbox ecosystem since.
But Microsoft has slowly been winning me over.
It started with services like Xbox Game Pass, which cost $10 a month and gives you unlimited access to over 100 games, including all new Microsoft first-party titles the day they release.
Then earlier this week, Phil Harrison, the head of Xbox, posted a letter on Xbox.com giving a lot of new information on the upcoming Xbox Series X, and the machine sounds great.
Xbox Series X is going to be a beast of a home console. The new system, expected to launch this holiday season, will be powered by Microsoft’s custom-designed processor featuring AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures. I’m not a PC gamer, so I don’t know what that means, but Harrison wrote in his letter that the new system will have four times the processing power of an Xbox One and that its 12 TFLOPS of GPU is twice that of an Xbox One X and more than eight times the original Xbox One.
“Xbox Series X delivers a true generational leap in processing and graphics power with cutting edge techniques resulting in higher framerates, larger, more sophisticated game worlds, and an immersive experience unlike anything seen in console gaming,” Harrison wrote in his letter.
Its SSD hard drive will allow for game worlds that are larger, more dynamic and load much faster than the current systems allow.
A new feature Harrison announced that sounds exciting to me is the new Quick Resume. The new system will let you suspend multiple games at one time, turn your system off and then return to them later almost instantly without having to wait through long loading screens.
Harrison also talked about Xbox’s commitment to games and gamers. All Xbox One games will be compatible with Xbox Series X, as will a large number of original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles, all them with faster load times, steadier frame rates and sharper graphics because of the increased power in the Series X.
He also touted Microsoft’s new Smart Delivery technology, in which a gamer will be able to buy certain games, all first-party Microsoft titles and some third-party titles, once and it will be optimized for whatever system you’re playing it on.
Not long after Xbox released all the new details on the Series X, game developer CD Projekt Red announced its upcoming “Cyberpunk 2077” will take advantage of Smart Delivery.
Now is all of that enough for me to leave the PlayStation nation and jump ship to Xbox?
I’m pretty well tied into the PlayStation platform. The Uncharted series is probably my favorite franchise in gaming, so it would be difficult for me to switch sides and pick up an Xbox Series X over a PlayStation 5.
That being said, Microsoft is making some great decisions with the Xbox Series X, and everything they announced this week sounds terrific. A week ago I was 100% getting a PlayStation 5 this holiday season. While I am still very much leaning in that direction, Microsoft has swayed me some and given me something else to consider.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at email@example.com.