Microsoft unveils details on the Xbox Series X hardware, confirms backwards compatibility with every previous Xbox console

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With the launch of the next generation of consoles looming like a big, exciting thunderstorm of tech, Microsoft is laying their cards on the table for all to see. New specs for the Xbox Series X have appeared and it looks like one seriously beefy machine.

In a blog post published by Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, new details on the capabilities of the Xbox Series X have come to light. While some information was already known, like the inclusion of hardware-based raytracing technology, we also have a better understanding of what exactly will be under the hood of Microsoft’s new box.

The Series X will boast a mighty 12 teraflops of GPU power, meaning that games will look absolutely stunning on the machine. To put that into perspective, the Xbox One boasted 6 teraflops of power and games already looked magnificent on that soon-to-be outdated console. Beyond teraflops and raytracing, the Series X will also feature variable-rate shading, which in the words of Microsoft, will allow them to “prioritize individual effects on specific game characters or important environmental objects. This technique results in more stable frame rates and higher resolution, with no impact on the final image quality.”

Thanks to the inclusion of a next-gen SSD, the Series X will also feature the ability to suspend and resume multiple games at once. While it used to be that you’d have to completely close a previous game to start a new one up, that will no longer be the case with the Series X as you deftly switch back and forth between several games in a heartbeat.

Yet perhaps most exciting is the expansion of backwards compatibility all the way back through to the original Xbox console. Which… well, that’s wild. Four generations of games will be available to play on the Series X and with the addition of Game Pass, players will have an absolute ocean of content to explore and play through.

It’s clear that Microsoft is doubling down on its consumer-focused approach to the industry. If they’re able to establish and maintain a vibrant environment for Xbox users then it seems Sony will have a tough time answering Microsoft’s challenge with the PlayStation 5.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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