Last night, Microsoft announced some official details about the new Xbox that will debut next year. It’s called the Xbox One Series X—seriously, that’s what it’s called—and it’s the next step in the computing power war the company is waging with Sony.
We don’t have all of the details about Series X just yet—we’ll gradually learn all about it before it hits the market by holiday of 2020. We do know, however, that it ditches the familiar set-top box aesthetic for a more PC-like appearance. The case has a square footprint when it’s arranged vertically, but you can also lay it down, which makes it look vaguely like a fancy wireless speaker.
The important stuff, however, lives on the inside of that redesigned chassis. A custom processor will draw from AMD’s Zen 2 tech, as well as its Radeon RDNA platform. We don’t have hard specs just yet, but Microsoft suggests it will have enough oomph to enable features like 8K gaming and 120 fps frame rates for smooth playing. The guts will also see an upgrade for the built-in storage to an SSD, which should translate into less time spent staring at loading screens when you should be playing games.
At first glance, the new controller doesn’t look all that much different from the current model, but Microsoft has reportedly made some tweaks. It has the same basic button array, but the whole thing is smaller now to accommodate more hand sizes. The addition of a “share” button will make it simple to capture replays and share game footage. Presumably, it will also tie in tightly with Microsoft’s Mixer streaming platform.
We’ve seen how much work it is to design a controller in the case of Google’s Stadia, so it seems safe to assume even Microsoft’s small tweaks resulted from lots of research. We’ll learn how it feels—and lots of other things about the console war—next year when it comes out.
With the release of this new Xbox info, both Sony and Microsoft have officially kicked off the battle set to happen in 2020. We’ve known for a few months now that the PlayStation 5 will arrive in roughly the same timeframe as the new Xbox. That still seems like enough time for Microsoft and Sony to think of different names that are less awkward and more creative, respectively. Branding aside, however, 2020 should be fun.
Since you have to wait all the way until next year for new video games, here’s a quick look back at the rest of the big tech news stories you might have missed this week.
Listen to the latest episode of the Techathlon podcast.
We recently announced our annual Best of What’s New awards to celebrate the most important innovations that happened in 2019. On this week’s episode of the podcast, we tested our knowledge of past winners and reminisce about a time in which some potato chips came with a warning that said they may cause “anal leakage.” Yeah, that actually happened. Check out the episode above, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Anchor, and Spotify.
Everyone got very upset about the Mac Pro
Apple’s long-awaited update to its professional workstation computer finally arrived online for purchase this week. If you max out the specs, the computer costs more the $52,000. That’s not a realistic purchase for most pros, though. Here’s what they’re actually planning on buying.
Samsung says it sold a million Galaxy Fold phones
It’s been a tumultuous year for Samsung’s first foray into folding phones. Still, the company claims to have sold more than a million Galaxy Folds since its release. One can only hope that 900,000 of them went to an eccentric billionaire who built a massive throne out of them.
Fortnite will allow split-screen play on consoles
It may not sound like a big deal, but there aren’t a ton of high-profile games that allow multiple people to play on one screen anymore. Now, Fortnite is adding that functionality for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players, because screaming at your teammate for ruining the game is so much more fun in-person than over your headset.
Samuel L. Jackson’s voice is live on Amazon Echo speakers
If you have a dollar that you really don’t want, you can give it to Amazon in order to enable Samuel L. Jackson’s voice to come out of your Echo speaker. If you want to try it, say “Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson.” Or, just play Pulp Fiction on Netflix and set a dollar bill on fire. It’s basically the same thing.