Xbox Series X: UK price, release date, specs, games and news

Announced at the Game Awards 2019, the Xbox Series X will arrive in the 2020 holiday season.

Updated . What changed?

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Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X pros and cons

Summary

Microsoft’s premium next-generation console is the Xbox Series X. It is releasing in the UK on 10 November 2020 for £449.99 and will go up against Sony’s PlayStation 5. The Xbox Series X wins out on power, accessibility and thanks to its great Game Pass service. Meanwhile, a run of studio acquisitions ensures a strong library of games, giving Xbox a great chance to winning back momentum from PlayStation.

Pros

  • Sleek, modern design
  • Plenty of raw power
  • New Halo, Forza Motorsport and Hellblade games
  • Existing Xbox One peripherals are compatible
  • Robust backwards compatibility, with Smart Delivery
  • Xbox All Access provides play now, pay later solution
  • 4K Blu-ray drive
  • 8K ready and capable of 4K at 120 frames per second
  • Innovative xCloud game steaming service
  • Games Pass is a great value service
  • Large collection of first-party developers working on exclusive games
  • Supported by the Xbox Series S, a mid-powered, cheaper next-gen console.

Cons

  • At £449.00 for the premium model, it’s not cheap
  • Only 802GB of useable internal HD space
  • Could be reliant on fast broadband to maximise functionality
  • No significant redesign of controller or user-interface
  • Less blockbuster brand exclusives in the pipeline
  • Square design isn’t for everyone
  • No virtual reality support
  • Has lost the Mixer streaming feature
  • Key “exclusives” also available on PC
  • Halo Infinite delayed into 2021
  • Expandable hard-drive solution is expensive

Gamers had been anxiously awaiting confirmation of the next generation of gaming consoles and Microsoft was the first to deliver the key details.

Gamers will be able to purchase the Xbox Series X when it launches on 10 November 2020. Microsoft describes the Xbox Series X as the most powerful console ever and has confirmed a handful of new exclusive titles to accompany the console’s launch year. The Xbox Series X will cost £449.99 in the UK.

The Xbox Series X is the premium option of two confirmed models. The alternative is the Xbox Series S, which we have detailed here; a lower specced, cheaper, digital only console.

Alongside Sony PlayStation 5 console, which is also set to launch in November 2020, it’s set to be a huge end of year for gamers. Those of us who love games will be asked to make an important and decisive choice on their gaming future. It’s a case of PS5 vs XBX.

Below, you will find everything there is to know about the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series X Specs

Manufacturer: Microsoft
Release date: 10 November 2020
Price: £449.99
Controller price: £54.99
Seagate HD 1TB expansion price: £220
Dimensions: 15.1cm (d) × 15.1cm (w) × 30.1cm (h)
Weight: 4.45kg
CPU: 8-core custom 7nm Zen 2, 3.8 GHz (or 3.66GHz with simultaneous multithreading)
Power: 12.15 teraflops
GPU: Custom Radeon RDNA 2 GPU, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
Storage: NVMe M.2 1TB at 2.4GB/s (raw) to 4.8GB/s (compressed) read speed (802GB useable storage)
Memory: 16GB GDDR6 SDRAM with 320mb bus; broken into 560GB/s bandwidth (10GB of memory) and 336GB/s (for 6GB of memory)
Controller: Xbox Controller (4th Gen)
Features: Dolby Atmos, 3D Audio, DirectX 12 Ultimate, ray tracing, 8K ready, HDMI 2.1
Optical: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Compatible: Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Xbox games as well as all Xbox One peripherals
Predecessor: Xbox One X

What is the Xbox Series X release date in the UK?

Microsoft has officially confirmed that the Xbox Series X will launch on 10 November 2020 in the UK. It will launch simultaneously with the Xbox Series S.

This beats out Sony’s PlayStation 5 by nine days, as it launches on 19 November 2020. It’s a win for Microsoft that it has got its Xbox Series X console out before its rival, even if it’s marginal. The date is also well-timed to make the most of the lead-up to Christmas. The end-of-year buying frenzy is a key event to be a part of, not to mention it’s the start of the cold months for the Northern Hemisphere where more time inside is a given.

It should come as no surprise that the last three consoles in the Xbox family – the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the original Xbox – all released in November.

Xbox Series X price: How much will it cost in the UK?

The Xbox Series X will cost £449.99 in the UK. When we consider tax and exchange rates, that’s exactly the same price as it is the USA.

There was hope that, with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing and economies across the world suffering, Microsoft would come in at a more competitive price point. But at £449.99, it’s the most expensive console launch in the company’s history.

It is, however, supported by its smaller brother, the £249.99 Xbox Series S. As well as the enticing pay as you play optoin in Telstra All Access. These do lower the barrier for entry for Brits cash-strapped during COVID-19.

The premium version of Sony’s PlayStation 5 console will also come in at £449, giving neither console a price advantage. However, Microsoft’s Xbox Series S beats out the Digital Edition of the PS5 by £200 at retail. This is due to the Xbox Series S taking a power hit, while the PS5 DE is the same console as its big brother minus a Blu-ray drive.

How to pre-order an Xbox Series X

Pre-orders for the Xbox Series X opened on 22 September 2020 and sold out almost immediately. Thankfully, more pre-orders will become available ahead of the launch.

There’s also been concerns that even those that have successfully pre-ordered may get a delay in receiving the console due to COVID-19 impacting delivery times. However, this has not been confirmed.

Xbox Series X pre-order guide


Design: What does the Xbox Series X look like?

  • Unique design
  • Stands either vertically or horizontally
  • New Xbox wireless controller has a Share button
  • Retains physical disc drive
Xbox Series X review

Controller: What comes with the Xbox Series X?

  • Sticks to the similar design of an Xbox Elite 2 controller
  • Dedicated Share button added
  • Rounded design to fit a greater range of hand sizes
  • Compatible with Xbox One controllers
Xbox Series X controller

Performance: How powerful is the Xbox Series X?

  • 12.15 Teraflops of power
  • 8K output
  • 120 frames per second
  • Internal SSD for super-fast performance and loading
  • Support for ray-tracing
Xbox Series X top

Games: What games are on the XSX?

  • New Halo, Forza Motorsport and Hellblade games announced!
  • Backwards compatible across four generations
  • Microsoft has acquired Bethesda and its sister studios
  • 100 games at launch, including 22 console exclusives
  • 23 Xbox Game studios currently developing exclusives for the XSX
  • Games also playable on PC and mobiles
Halo Infinite game

What are the best games on Xbox Series X?

Things are heating up in the console war between the XSX vs PS5. Following on from a strong game reveal event from Sony in June 2020, Microsoft hit back in July 2020 with one of its own. With 100 games expected during the launch window, Xbox SX owners will have no shortage of experiences to jump into. Here are the best XSX games coming to the console.

Experience: Will the Xbox Series X have a new UI?

  • Will stick with similar UI to Xbox One
  • Quick resume of multiple games
  • One profile across XSX, PC and mobile
  • Innovative xCloud experience
  • Redone Xbox Store

What are the best games on Xbox Series X?

Things are heating up in the console war between the XSX vs PS5. Following on from a strong game reveal event from Sony in June 2020, Microsoft hit back in July 2020 with one of its own. With 100 games expected during the launch window, Xbox SX owners will have no shortage of experiences to jump into. Here are the best XSX games coming to the console.

What is xCloud for the Xbox Series X?

As its name suggests, xCloud is a cloud-based streaming service for games. It operates in much the same way as Netflix, in that users are able to stream games to a screen from an external server rather than from local hardware. Early demonstrations have shown Xbox Series X games being played on basic mobile phones. As it’s being run on the cloud, the hardware in the phone doesn’t need to be powerful. We also know xCloud will work on a PC, too. Microsoft’s Azure Cloud will be the conduit on which xCloud rides.

Initially, xCloud will launch as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and utilise Xbox One hardware. The plan is then to upgrade xCloud to the Xbox Series X hardware in 2021, which should see six times the performance boost. This suggests that xCloud, while a very important feature of the new console, won’t be a deciding factor at launch.

When will xCloud launch?

We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that xCloud will launch before the Xbox Series X console. In fact, it will become available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers on 15 September. At first, xCloud will only work through Android devices, with iOS support scheduled to arrive at a later date.

What does Optimised for Xbox Series X mean?

At the start of any generation of video game consoles, there are often a lot of games that are considered cross-gen. This means they work on both the old console and the new console. Given that the Xbox Series X is backwards compatible, this can create some confusion among consumers. If a game is listed as being playable on Xbox Series X, is it actually built to make the most of the new console or is it just backwards compatible?

This is where the Optimised for Xbox Series X badge comes into play. According to Microsoft, this distinguishes titles that are “either natively designed or fully rebuilt to take full advantage of the unique capabilities of our most powerful console ever”.

Some of the features of the Xbox Series X that Optimised games are compatible with include the following:

  • Near-zero load times via the Xbox Velocity Architecture
  • DirectX 12 Ultimate support
  • Hardware-accelerated DirectX ray tracing
  • Higher frame rates up to 120fps
  • Full support of the new controller
  • Smart delivery support

The following initial batch of launch window games has been confirmed to be Optimised for Xbox Series X:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Bright Memory Infinite
  • Call of the Sea
  • Chivalry 2
  • Chorus
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (image below)
  • Destiny 2
  • DiRT 5
  • FIFA 21
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Gears Tactics
  • Halo Infinite
  • Hitman 3
  • Madden NFL 21
  • Marvel’s Avengers
  • Outriders
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Scorn
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Second Extinction
  • The Ascent
  • The Medium
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Cyberpunk 2077 XSX

What is Xbox Series X Smart Delivery?

Ahead of the launch of the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has been touting a key feature called Smart Delivery. But what is Xbox Smart Delivery?

This feature is designed to provide a seamless transition for gamers between the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X with regard to cross-generation titles. At its core, the feature will download the optimal version of a game based on the system you are playing on at no additional cost, or effort, to the player.

There are three situations gamers may end up in when buying a cross-generation game:

  1. You’re playing it on an Xbox One
  2. You’re playing it on an Xbox Series X as it’s backwards compatible
  3. The game is optimised for Xbox Series X and you’re playing it on the new console

When you purchase a game, Smart Delivery will identify which of these three options is the best fit and deliver only the files you need. If you upgrade to Xbox Series X in the future, or if the developer optimises their game for Xbox Series X via a patch, then Smart Delivery will take care of downloading the required files to maximise the playing experience.

In short, this means you can comfortably buy a game on Xbox One, knowing that you will get the Xbox Series X version in the future for free, and without unnecessary bloat in the download file. Plus, Microsoft has confirmed that your game progress will transition with you to the next console: no starting again!

Microsoft has made it clear to third-party developers that the expectation is that next-gen upgrades of existing games are free to consumers, but not everyone is listening. Remedy’s game Control has found a loophole of sorts. Rather than optimising Control for XSX, it’s re-releasing the game as “Definitive Edition” with two DLC packs included.

Smart Delivery on Xbox Series S?

The Xbox Series S (previously known as Project Lockhart) also offers the Smart Delivery feature. However, due to the reduced specifications in this digital-only device, you won’t get the full suite of Xbox Series X optimisations. Smart Delivery will also play into any future models, such as a “Pro” model, should one arrive in years to come.

How does Xbox All Access work with the XSX?

One of the differentiating features between Sony and Microsoft is the latter’s Xbox All Access program. Microsoft has worked with select partners around the world to provide a means of getting an Xbox console without paying for it upfront. The Xbox All Access program came into effect towards the backend of the Xbox One generation and will carry forward into the Xbox Series X lifecycle.

Xbox All Access works much like a mobile broadband deal that comes with a phone. You effectively lease the console on a contract until such time as you pay it off, allowing you to have the Xbox in your home even if you can’t afford to pay for it upfront.

Those already on Xbox All Access looking to migrate from Xbox One to Xbox Series X will be given that opportunity.

Is Xbox All Access good?

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, believes Xbox All Access will prove to be a huge win for the company’s next-generation console. He points to the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19, suggesting that many consumers may not have the upfront money to purchase a next-generation console. Xbox All Access would, therefore, prove to be a great solution for these gamers.

Spencer has also indicated that Xbox All Access will come to more markets and even more retailers within existing markets.

“Xbox All Access this generation has been something we’ve trialled in a limited capacity in certain areas. It’s a path for us to learn and see if there’s a signal from customers [that it’s desired]. And it’s been great. We should also understand the global economic situation that we’re going to see this year. I think having more pricing options for consumers is, frankly, just a thoughtful thing for us as an industry. So, you’re going to see a much broader market and retail support for Xbox All Access.”

What is Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture?

A term you may hear in relation to the Xbox Series X is Velocity Architecture. This is the name Microsoft as given to an additional power-pack within its console that acts as a bullet train between the storage of games and the playing of games.

Think of it as the console’s spine. The Xbox Velocity Architecture’s remit is to compress the size of files and expediate their transfer to their destination in the console’s brain. The result is faster loading times and greater throughput of game worlds to the playing experience by providing specific power to improving run-time decompression.

In short; you access your games faster, they play better and they can go bigger. The latter point relating to open-world experiences.

The Xbox Velocity Architecture is made up of two custom hardware components within the machine itself, driven by a software component. So, it’s more than just a program; there is power driving it. As a result, the Xbox Velocity Architecture does its thing without putting extra labour on the CPU or GPU.

Microsoft believes that the Xbox Velocity Architecture, when combined with other touted streamlining processes such as DirectStorage (asset streaming optimisation) and Sampler Feedback Streaming (which manages the loading of textures), helps it combat PS5’s much faster internal SSD hard drive.

Sony argues that the PS5 HD, being around twice as fast, gives it the advantage over the XSX. Whereas, Microsoft says its Velocity Architecture negates that SSD speed difference.

“The CPU is the brain of our new console, and the GPU is the heart, but the Xbox Velocity Architecture is the soul. The Xbox Velocity Architecture is about so much more than fast last times. It’s one of the most innovative parts of our new console. It’s about revolutionizing how games can create vastly bigger, more compelling worlds.” – Andrew Goossen, Technical Fellow on Xbox Series X

Xbox buys Bethesda

List of first-party Xbox game studios developers

When it comes to choosing the right video game console for you, it’s important to know what exclusive titles will be available. These are games you can’t get on rival platforms. The majority of exclusive Xbox titles will come from Microsoft’s first-party developers. These are game development studios that have been acquired by Microsoft and charged with developing games specifically for Xbox and/or Windows 10.

In recent years, Microsoft has gone on a buying frenzy, greatly swelling its ranks of studios developing games for the Xbox Series X console. There are 23 in-house studios following the purchase of ZeniMax Media: the eight studios acquired in this deal are at the end of the below list. Note that, in the short-term, games made through the ZeniMax Studios are likely to be on PS5 as well as XSX.

  • 343 Industries (Halo series)
  • Compulsion Games (Contrast, We Happy Few)
  • Double Fine (Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, Broken Age, Minecraft Dungeons)
  • inXile Entertainment (Wasteland, Bard’s Tale)
  • Mojang Studios (Minecraft)
  • Ninja Theory (Kung Fu Chaos, Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
  • Obsidian Entertainment (The Outer Worlds, Fallout: New Vegas, Dungeon Siege III, South Park: The Stick of Truth)
  • Playground Games (Forza Horizon series)
  • Rare (Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Banjo-Kazooie, Conker, Perfect Dark, GoldenEye Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Kameo: Elements of Power, Viva Piñata, Sea of Thieves)
  • The Coalition (Microsoft Flight Simulator, Gears of War series)
  • The Initiative (New studio led by veterans from Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics)
  • Turn 10 Studios (Forza Motorsport series)
  • Undead Labs (State of Decay series)
  • World’s Edge (Age of Empires series)
  • Xbox Game Studios Publishing (Development support studio)
  • Alpha Dog Games (MonstroCity Rampage, Wraithborne)
  • Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Prey, Deathloop, Arx Fatalis)
  • Bethesda Game Studios (Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Fallout Shelter, Starfield)
  • id Software (Doom, Rage, Quake, Quakecon, id Tech engine)
  • MachineGames (Wolfenstein)
  • Roundhouse Studios (Unannounced AAA project)
  • Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo)
  • ZeniMax Online Studios (The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76, Commander Keen)

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S

If the Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s premium, top-end next-generation console, the Xbox Series S is its baby brother. It will release alongside the Xbox Series X, but the Xbox Series S will cost £249.99.

This second model originally went by the codename Project Lockhart before being officially confirmed on 8 September 2020. The reveal follows in similar footsteps to Sony, who announced a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition console.

However, unlike the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, the Xbox Series S does more than just remove the optical Blu-ray drive. It will limit the internal hardware power to dramatically bring down the cost and the size of the console. The result is a console capable of playing Xbox Series X games and even offering advanced visuals like ray-tracing. But a console unable to reach the same resolution or frame rate.

Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S size comparison

Is the Xbox Series X worth it?

The Xbox One era didn’t go according to plan for Microsoft; at least when you look at the raw figures. Not only did the PlayStation 4 take a commanding position with more than double the sales, but even the Nintendo Switch, which released four years after the Xbox One, was able to reel it in before the close of the generation.

Yet, on closer inspection, it would seem Microsoft has had its eye on the next generation for quite some time. The company has made several compelling moves to help differentiate itself from future PlayStation consoles.

With Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft has established a valued subscription service beyond its core Xbox Live Gold offering. The company has doubled down on the integration of Windows 10 into the Xbox experience as well as pushing brands on to Switch and – with Minecraft, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo – even PlayStation!

When we also look at Microsoft’s push into mobiles, notably with the pioneering “Netflix for games” streaming experience xCloud, we get a picture of a console casting a wide net by investing in flexibility. The company has even established a play now, pay later model with All Access. Microsoft is also using blockchain technology to build out an enticing remuneration platform for its partner developers, encouraging them to create for the system.

On paper, the Xbox Series X is also more powerful than the PS5, even if its hardware is more off-the-shelf rather than customised. And while an official reveal of the Xbox Series S has yet to occur, insider leaks suggest this digital-only alternative will go very aggressive on price.

Even the monolith design has been lauded by gamers!

Elsewhere, through a number of acquisitions, Microsoft has managed to build its number of first-party studios quickly and to a point where it rivals Sony. The loss of Halo Infinite at launch, however, cannot be underestimated. It’s a big blow! At least Xbox One controllers work with the new console, with backwards compatibility over three generations of games adding to a consumer focused outlook.

What does all this mean? It means the PlayStation 5 isn’t going to get this console war all its own way. The Xbox Series X may be up against it in terms of current momentum, but it’s arriving with a compelling premise. What will be particularly intriguing is how dependent the Xbox Series X is on fast broadband.

Sadly, that’s a question we will be unable to answer until our final Xbox Series X review.

“For eighteen years and three generations, we’ve designed Xbox consoles to power your dreams. We see a future where you’re instantly absorbed in your games. Where worlds are even more immersive, responsive and surprising. Where you are at the centre of your gaming experience.

Next holiday, Xbox Series X will lead us into the future of console gaming. It’s our fastest, most powerful Xbox yet and will set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility. Developers around the globe are already hard at work building games for Xbox Series X. Our 15 [in-house] Xbox Game Studios are developing the largest and most creatively diverse line-up of exclusive games in our history.” – Phil Spencer, head of Xbox

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