Microsoft released a new video today showcasing the performance of their upcoming console. The Xbox Series demo went into detail to demonstrate a massive improvement over the Xbox One.
Some of the topics we saw include load times, the Quick Resume feature, frame rates, graphical quality, the Xbox Store, and the Xbox Game Pass.
The Xbox Series X is launching on November 10 for $499. The budget alternative, the Xbox Series S, is launching on the same say for $299.
Xbox Series Demo overview
Overall, the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S console both pack the same performance levels. The one characteristic that sets them apart from current-gen consoles is speed. Both consoles handle all tasks -from browsing to playing- easily.
The other characteristics that set the consoles apart are performance. The Xbox Series demo showcased Gears of War 5 playing at 120fps of 4K. Its graphical quality was equivalent to a PC’s ultra settings on 4K. Now, that’s impressive.
In essence, both consoles offer faster load times, dynamic worlds with HDR features, and consistent frame rates. They can play all titles at 60fps, whereas some games -like Gears of War 5- offer a 120fps option.
Let’s get ourselves into detail. First, though, check the video below:
The Xbox Series demo also detailed a new interface. Microsoft redesigned the UI to make it easier and faster.
In particular, it has a Home menu that gives you quick access to all of the games you have played recently. It also features an option to jump right into the Xbox Game Pass, the Microsoft Store, and Xbox messages.
Lastly, it has a “Sponsored” tab where Microsoft showcases games you can discover. The demo placed Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, which we consider one of the best games coming in late 2020.
There’s a tab on the left side of the UI that reads “My Apps and Games.” It gives you access to the rest of the things you have installed, like Netflix or a game you haven’t visited in quite some time.
By the looks of it, we know Microsoft has emphasized where it belongs. Whereas the Xbox One was all about being an entertainment hub back n launch day, the Xbox Series is a gaming console.
The Xbox Series and the Xbox one will have the same UI from November 10.
Quick Resume and load times
Now, if you press any of the games on the home menu, you’ll jump right back into where you left them.
The Quick Resume feature also lets you open a smaller menu as you play to trade the game for another.
Needless to say, it works instantly. You can go from a deep dive into Subnaturica towards Dirt 5, right in the middle of a race. And it all happens in seconds.
“Quick resume allows you to pick up where you left across multiple games in the system.”
On that same note, we’ve already seen the Xbox Series’s load times on previous videos. A recent demo previewed the load times of Obsidian’s Outer Worlds. The clip demonstrates the Xbox Series is significantly faster than the Xbox One.
We’ve already discussed the Xbox Series X/S specs in other articles. Now, we were able to see how that translates into real-world performance.
Unfortunately, Microsoft wasn’t able to showcase any next-gen game, for they are not out yet.
We got to see 2019’s Gears of Wars 5, which is already a gorgeous looking game. It’s also quite demanding for PC. Its recommended specs ask for a GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB Ram, and a Ryzen 3 CPU. And those specs are targeting 1080p at low/medium settings.
We’re talking about the performance of an expensive $2000 built PC.
Yet, the Xbox Series X played Gears of War 5 on 4K ultra with 120fps. Not only that: it also looks better with the Auto HDR feature of the newer console.
You can even play multiplayer at 120fps. Many people have never experienced these high frame rates as fps are resource hungry on PC. Jumping from 60 to 120fps is a new gaming experience.
It doesn’t show the Xbox Series S’s performance. We expect similar results, albeit on 1440p / 1080p.
The result looked gorgeous on my smartphone’s screen playing at 720p. I can only imagine how it would look on a real 4K TV sitting in front of me.
We also have to say Xbox Series games also have Ray Tracing features. Take a look:
Dirt 5 already shared a promo showcasing how it works on the Xbox Series consoles. The gameplay trailer includes the Ray Tracing features of the device.
Similarly, the Xbox Series can play all Xbox generation games. You can load them into the console’s SDD or play them through an external HDD.
Playing older games from the SDD (or the extra custom SDD) grants them faster load times plus the Quick Resume feature.
On top of all, all older games playing on the Xbox Series have Auto HDR plus higher frame rates. In particular, the Xbox Series S can also upscale graphics up to 4K.
The HDR add-on makes old-gen games look better than ever. However, you do need HDR-ready TV.
The High Dynamic Range technology reproduces a wider greyscale. As a result, it delivers better contrast, larger colors, and a bigger brightness range. The impact is higher than 4K, although 4K provides sharper images.
Xbox Game Pass and the Microsoft Store
The Xbox Game Pass is a membership that allows you to download and play over 100 games for $9.99 per month.
As I said, the Home menu offers a tab to enter the Xbox Game Pass offers. Moreover, you move downwards with your controller’s stick to display more info about the membership.
It works like the secondary Home page, and it’s there to help users discover new games. In particular, it showcases Game Pass’ latest additions, featured titles, categories, and more.
Here’s an additional demo:
You can open the full catalog as well. As you press on any game, the store opens a full menu displaying further info. For example, it has a synopsis, trailers, screenshots, release date, and the Install option.
On November 10, EA Games will become a part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service. It appears as a long-term commitment, so you’ll be able to play games like Titan Fall 2, FIFA 2020, or the Mass Effect trilogy.
Ultimate members also have the option to Stream Game Pass’ titles on top of the Install option.
Similarly, the Microsoft Store features a new design. It allows you to search for games, watch trailers, and buy titles available to play or pre-order.
Lastly, the Xbox Series has a new Navicom technology that improves the performance of your home network. That translates into better downloading speeds and zero-latency on multiplayer.
Here’s the upcoming Xbox Game Pass additions:
Xbox Series controller and peripherals
The controller comes with a few changes. All Microsoft did was make it a tad smaller to improve ergonomics.
I have to say that it comes included with the console. The Xbox Series X comes with a black version; the Series S comes with the “Robot White” version.
Another thing to note is the sharing options of the console. The controller has a share button that allows you to create and share screenshots and video captures.
To make a screenshot, you only have to press the button once. Otherwise, you can hold the button for a few minutes to record a video.
Then, you can share your content through your phone via the Xbox. The console shares your content automatically with your phone via the Xbox app for Android and iOS.
You can check the official page of the peripheral to design and buy a controller with custom colors. You can also order the Stereo Headset, which plays 3D audio.
The mobile app and Remote Play
Microsoft resigned from the mobile app as well. It can link to the console via your WiFi network.
The app allows you to do various things. First off, you can browse the Microsoft Store or the Xbox Game Pass menu from your phone to download any game directly into your Xbox.
Secondly, Microsoft is offering the Remote Play feature for both iOS and Android. It allows you to play games you’ve installed on your Xbox.
Here’s a tutorial video on how to set up Remote Play:
Remote Play only works if you have an Xbox One/ Xbox Series console. You’d need an Android 6.0 or newer, iOS 10 or newer, the app, a strong-enough connection, and a Bluetooth controller.
In comparison, the PS Remote Play app allows you to control the PS4 and the upcoming PS5 from your smartphone. However, it doesn’t give you the ability to play on a smaller screen.
That said, Microsoft’s Remote Play is not compatible with Xbox and Xbox 360 games.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members can stream the service’s games on their Android phones. These games play on 720p, just like Remote Play.
Also, remember Xbox is working on additional Xbox Game Pass tiers. They are also working on a solution to stream Xbox games towards TVs (smart and non-smart TVs). Apparently, they are aiming for a dongle.
Custom Seagate SSD
You can increase the SDD storage of the Xbox Series with a pricy custom Seagate SDD drive.
However expensive, it works flawlessly. Its 1Tb extra storage offers the same speed as the original NVME SDD storage.
You only need to plug the SDD on the Xbox Series to make it work. Moreover, you can install games back and forth the two drives instantly. The Xbox Series demo also showcased said speeds.
Additionally, you have the option to plug a regular USB HDD drive into the Xbox Series. Naturally, you can transfer the games you store on the additional drive towards one of the two SDD drives so it can install elsewhere. That, too, works very fast.
However, the HDD drive can’t play games that are optimized for the Xbox Series.
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All in all, the Xbox Series demo showcased a fantastic array of the console. Having such performance (high resolutions, high frame rates, instant load times, and HDR) is excellent at its price point.
Phil Spencer, Xbox head, is turning the balance towards Microsoft’s side. The Xbox is aiming towards the casual gamer, people looking for variety, fast availability, and budget.
It’s missing the power of the PlayStation Exclusives, though. No Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, Demon’s Souls, or God of War here. If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’re probably better off on SOny’s side. Especially if you have the budget to afford $70 titles.
Casual gamers are going to be better on Microsoft’s side. Xbox Game Pass alone offers more games than you can ever play if you’re not looking for something specific. Moreover, it will offer Microsoft’s exclusives on their launch day, but those are mostly coming out in late 2021 or 2022.