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Xbox Series X pre-order guide – all the info on Microsoft’s next console

The next-generation of Xbox consoles is coming later this year in the form of the Xbox Series X. With that in mind, we’ve gathered up as much information as possible about its upcoming launch. There’s no word on price just yet as retailers haven’t announced their Xbox Series X pre-order allocation. With a Holiday 2020 release date, though, it won’t be too far away and this is the perfect time for you to figure out what you’re saving up for. Especially now we have a better idea of what Xbox Series X games are coming in the launch window! 

Maybe you’ve never owned an Xbox console before and you’re super keen for the Series X to be the first? Or maybe you’re a diehard achievement addict and you can’t wait to get your hands on the new and shiniest Microsoft console out there? Whatever the reason, we have everything you could possibly need to know if you’re considering an Xbox Series X pre-order in this handy guide.

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Not only will we give you a basic rundown of what to expect from the Xbox Series X so far, but we’ll also have a look at the key differences between it and the Xbox One X – the current highest specification system for Microsoft fans. There’s also a quick look at what games to expect and what accessories you might want to budget for.

Phil Spencer hosting the Xbox Series X reveal event.

Where can I place an Xbox Series X pre-order?

No retailers have confirmed their Xbox Series X pre-order allocation just yet. All you can currently do is put down your email to be notified when pre-orders go live.

There should be some more news a little nearer to launch. We’d expected this info to come out at E3, but now the show has been cancelled plans are up in the air. Still, it seems quite likely that more details should emerge about the Xbox Series X pre-orders around then.

After that, you can expect regular retailers like Amazon, Game, and ShopTo to battle it out for the cheapest price. Don’t expect a bargain! Odds are you’ll be lucky to get a deal that’s a few pence lower than the RRP – at least early on in the Xbox Series X’s lifespan.

How much will the Xbox Series X cost?

Again, we’re not sure of the exact price. We’d expect it to cost around £430-£450. The Xbox One went on sale for £429 when it was released in 2013 so it’d make sense for the Xbox Series X to be roughly the same price. Microsoft won’t want to price itself out of the market if the PlayStation 5 is substantially less. However, no price details are available for that either.

Don’t expect it to be as inexpensive as a Nintendo Switch. The level of hardware involved with the Xbox Series X such as its use of AMD’s Zen 2 CPU architecture will make it pricier. It also has features like a solid state drive which will increase the price. All important things to keep in mind before placing an Xbox Series X pre-order.

When is the Xbox Series X release date?

For now, the Xbox Series X doesn’t have a set release date. We’ve merely been promised ‘Holidays 2020’. That suggests any time in the autumn and early winter. The most likely time is almost certainly going to be November 2020, much like how the Xbox One was launched in November 2013.

Even with the current complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has said they still expect to hit this release window. This could change, though, if they can’t ensure the safety of staff and supply lines. With that in mind, do keep an eye on the latest news in case your Xbox Series X pre-order is delayed.

A close up of the Xbox Series X console.

What is the Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X is the next games console from Microsoft. Following the phenomenal success of the Xbox One – and the Xbox 360 and original Xbox before it – the Xbox Series X is aiming to be newer, bigger, and better than any of its predecessors. Originally known as Project Scarlett, Xbox Series X may have a lot of the letter ‘x’ in its name, but we’ll forgive it that quirk.

For the most complete a conclusive look at the Xbox Series X specs we’d encourage you to visit our pals at Digital Foundry. They had the opportunity to visit Microsoft to get up close and personal with the forthcoming console. They’ll have all the specifics you could possibly need.

We’re going to cover the essentials right here, though. Inside the six-inch-wide and 12-inch-tall Xbox Series X, you can expect a custom AMD CPU and GPU and 16GB of GDDR6 SDRAM that make it a powerful piece of kit. The target performance is 4k resolutions at 60fps with real-time ray-tracing, though it should support 8k resolutions and up to 120 fps rendering.

Similar to the PS5, there will be a 1TB NVMe SSD included for lightning-fast load times. This storage can be expanded by a propriety 1TB SSD – much like the memory cards of old. However, you can also add more HDD storage through USB, though it obviously won’t be as fast.

Digital Foundry has an incredible look at all the individual components when they were able to build the Xbox Series X.

Meanwhile, an updated version of the Xbox Wireless Controller is also on the way. You’d be forgiven if you thought it was just the same controller of old as the differences do look minimal. However, it’s going to be smaller and more accessible – plus there will be a reworked share button and improved d-pad.

A look at the new Xbox Wireless Controller that comes with every Xbox Series X pre-order.

What’s the difference between the Xbox Series X and the Xbox One?

In the most straightforward terms possible: the Xbox Series X is going to be at least twice as powerful as the Xbox One X. The console will be faster, more powerful and able to display superior graphics to anything you’ve seen on an Xbox console before.

What could be most impressive, though, is the new Quick Resume feature. This will allow you to cycle between multiple save game states with minimal loading times. So, instead of having to close and reopen each game any time you want to switch, you can almost immediately resume the action every time. It’s a bit like current suspend or rest mode features on the PS4, but on a much larger scale.

Microsoft has also stated that the Xbox Series X will support all games playable on the Xbox One. This includes backwards compatible titles from the Xbox 360 and original Xbox. While that won’t be a huge selling point for all, it sounds pretty useful to be able to play games from all four generations of consoles on one system. Plus, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members should also find their subscription worthwhile with the new console.

Should I pre-order the Xbox Series X?

If you’re a big Xbox fan then this is a no-brainer of a choice. That’s even more so if you love unlocking achievements while you play. However, if you’re undecided in the console wars, it might be worthwhile waiting. You can weigh up what each offer once more details about the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have been unveiled.

A screenshot from Xbox Series X games Halo Infinite .

What Xbox Series X games have been confirmed?

In May, Microsoft made the first move and revealed a number of Xbox Series X games in it’s Inside Xbox live event. For the first time, we were given a better idea of the types of games and experiences that would be coming to Xbox Series X during the launch window. At least, in addition to the like of Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II that we already knew about. Here are all the Xbox Series X games currently confirmed:

  • Halo Infinite
  • Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Bright Memory Infinite
  • Call of the Sea
  • Chorus
  • Dirt 5
  • Madden NFL 21
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Scorn
  • Second Extinction
  • The Ascent
  • The Medium
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Quite a strong and varied list, we think you’ll agree!

It’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft has gone an unusual but beneficial route with the Xbox Series X. It has introduced a ‘Smart Delivery’ system. With this, you’ll be able to upgrade any compatible games you buy on Xbox One to their Xbox Series X version for free. Microsft has confirmed that this will be in place for all of their first-party games. Other publishers will be able to decide if they want to participate in a case-by-case basis. For example, CD Projekt Red has announced that Cyberpunk 2077 will support this scheme. It’s excellent news for fans on current-gen consoles looking to upgrade to the Xbox Series X in the future.

Of course, some Xbox Game Studio games like Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II are offering enhanced features and performance on Xbox Series X, too. The nitty-gritty of resolutions and frame rates will be dependant on the game, though Microsoft wants to achieve 4K at 60fps where possible – at least for first-party games. Recent news suggests that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be limited to 30fps at 4K resolution on the Xbox Series X, though.

What accessories do I need?

One of the best things about the Xbox Series X is that all existing Xbox One controllers and accessories will be supported.

However, the new console will ship with an updated version of the Xbox One controller. This features a more ergonomic design and a concave circle pad that looks a lot like the Elite Controller. There’ll also be a new ‘Share’ button. Otherwise, it’s a lot like an Xbox One controller which explains why it’s backwards compatible with the Xbox One.

That covers just about everything for now. If you’re think about going for an Xbox Series X pre-order then now is the perfect time to stock up on accessories like a new Xbox One external hard drive or grab the best Xbox Game Pass Ultimate deal just in time for the new console. You can always use them on your existing Xbox One (or PC!) while you wait.

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