The year of the Xbox Series X is here and as we quickly approach the holiday time, gamers are chomping at the bit for a release date, among other details. The conversation also revolves around system specifications and the inevitable discussion of the dollar value. While there isn’t a lot of concrete information yet, there is certainly a lot of information floating around out there.
Last updated on March 18, 2020.
Xbox Series X release date
Updated March 18: The Xbox Series X release date has been revealed to be "Thanksgiving 2020," meaning November 26, 2020, according to an updated graphic on the Xbox website's Xbox Series X console page.
While Microsoft has revealed what the Xbox Series X looks like, we are yet to receive an exact release date. However, what we do have is a release window of “Holiday 2020”. This typically means the last quarter of the year between October and December.
We might not have a date, but what we do have is history and with that we can make some guesses. Firstly, Microsoft has released three “base” consoles with a few variations and updated versions in between:
- Xbox – November 15, 2001 (Thursday)
- Xbox 360 – November 22, 2005 (Tuesday)
- Xbox One – November 22, 2013 (Friday)
Outside of these three base consoles is a myriad of updated versions and slimmer models:
- Xbox 360 Elite – April 29, 2007
- Xbox 360 S – June, 2010
- Xbox 360 E – June 10, 2013
- Xbox One S – August 23, 2016
- Xbox One X – November 7, 2017
- Xbox One S All Digital – May 7, 2019
However, what we can see from this is that the big consoles designed to push the specs up higher have a release date set in November. While the Xbox One X isn’t technically a new base console, it did mark a drastic shift in performance and was an important product for Xbox, hence the November release date.
From all of this, we can likely state that there is a very good chance the Xbox Series X will release in November. As for the exact date, it’s really anyone’s guess. While the 22nd might seem like it fits the pattern, that falls on a Sunday this year, which doesn’t afford gamers much time to enjoy their new console.
The best choice would likely be to release on a Friday. With this, we could guess that the Xbox Series X release date could be November 6, 13, 20, or 27.
Xbox Series X specs (updated)
Updated (March, 17): Xbox has revealed the specs of the Xbox Series X through a new page featuring a whole lot of information. Below is a table covering everything from the CPU and GPU, to the expandable storage and memory bandwidth. Digital Foundry has an extremely detailed rundown and comparison of the information released, comparing the Xbox Series X to the previous Xbox consoles.
|CPU||8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU|
|GPU||12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU|
|Die Size||360.45 mm2|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus|
|Memory Bandwidth||10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s|
|Internal Storage||1 TB Custom NVME SSD|
|I/O Throughput||2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)|
|Expandable Storage||1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)|
|External Storage||USB 3.2 External HDD Support|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive|
|Performance Target||4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS|
Updated (2/24/2020): On February 24, 2020, Xbox revealed a slew of new details about the hardware and capabilities of the Xbox Series X. The system is set to feature a 12 teraflop GPU. This allows for DirectX raytracing, which has been detailed before, but it also supports variable rate shading (VRS), HDMI 2.1, Dynamic Latency Input (DMI), and up to 120 frame-per-second (FPS support). The system will also feature a solid-state hard drive (SSD) which will allow for much faster and quieter storage and loading over traditional hard drives.
Original Details: When it comes to a new generation of consoles, players expect higher frame rates, better graphics, and faster loading times. Based on the rumors and leaks floating around, it sounds like the Xbox Series X is going to be a powerhouse of a console.
TechRadar has an extremely detailed write-up of the potential Xbox Series X specifications. In this piece, Vic Hood and Bill Thomas list off some of the goals Microsoft has with the new generation of Xbox.
Included in this is the goal to have the Xbox Series X running games at 60FPS in 4K resolution while also offering 120FPS. While the Xbox One X was able to achieve 4K, games were still limited to 360FPS. But 60FPS isn’t the cap.
The Verge has also offered up some more information on the Xbox Series X which will apparently have a, “custom-designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA 2 architecture,” as well as an NVMe SSD.
Xbox Series X price
Another burning question gamers have is about the Xbox Series X price. Buying any piece of hardware is going to be an expensive endeavour, so really all we can assume is that the Xbox Series X is going to retail in the $499 area. Could we see the price jump to $599? Maybe, but it’s dubious whether Microsoft wants another E3 2013 embarrassment.
Seven years ago now, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox One would retail at $499. This was a surprise to many, and Sony took the opportunity to reveal the PlayStation 4 would cost $399. This $100 difference was one of the many nails in the proverbial coffin for Microsoft. It’s been a long and hard road, but the team at Xbox have done a fantastic job at turning the ship around.
But right now, a cursory look at GameStop reveals the PS4 Pro at $399 while the undeniably more powerful console, the Xbox One X, is priced at $349. At the end of the generation, the Xbox One is finally cheaper than its primary competitor.
In terms of what this means for the price of Xbox Series X, we could see a situation where Microsoft holds off on revealing the price until after Sony shows its hand.
If our guess of a November release date is accurate, this gives gamers ten months to save up the necessary funds to purchase the Xbox Series X, regardless of whether it’s $499 or even $599.
Xbox Series X launch titles and games (updated)
Updated (2/24/18): On February 24, 2020, Xbox revealed two major details regarding games for the Xbox Series X. Firstly, the system will continue to feature the Xbox Games Pass, and many first-party Xbox games like Halo Infinite will be available on the Games Pass from day one launch via the program according to the Xbox Blog. Another major feature was the introduction of the Smart Delivery system. This is a program in which supported games will be playable in their most optimal version regardless of what Xbox system you play on after you puchase them the first time.
For instance, Cyberpunk 2077 is supported by Smart Delivery, but it comes out in September 2020 ahead of the Xbox Series X launch. If you choose to purchase Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One X, and then transition over to Xbox Series X, your copy of Cyberpunk 2077 will be upgraded to the Xbox Series X version without need to purchase an Xbox Series X copy of the game. It should make transitioning and keeping your library of games easily accessible in their best forms as you decide if you want to get the new console.
Original Details: Good news everyone, the Xbox Series X is going to be able to play all the games that currently work on your Xbox One. This means backward compatible titles from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 will still play, as will the myriad of must-have Xbox One titles from this generation.
As for console exclusives, well there won’t be those for about a year as Microsoft plans to continue support for the Xbox One. This tidbit was revealed by head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty in an interview with MCV.
As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” Booty explains. “We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.
While games will work on both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X, they will no doubt perform better – and look better – on the Series X.
One game that is a confirmed launch title (though not exclusive) is Halo Infinite. This will be the first full Halo title since Halo 5: Guardians released in 2015. Because the Xbox Series X will be capable of playing Xbox One titles, gamers will also be able to play every single other Halo title on the Series X thanks to the Master Chief Collection.
The Xbox Series X is scheduled to release this holiday season. While the exact release date is still a mystery, the specs still elusive, and the price under wraps, you can be certain Shacknews will be reporting on it as soon as it’s all made public.