On February 24, Xbox head Phil Spencer released a blog post with the latest on the Xbox Series X. This was the latest in a trickle of new information about the upcoming game system. Once again, this is line with what DFC believes is a solid strategy of slowly leaking information to an eager audience.
The official Microsoft blog post contained little in the way of new information on the Xbox Series X. The post was targeted towards Xbox fans, but the media of course goes crazy for this type of info. This is a marketing tactic that makes sense. It is simply stoking an ongoing fire of excitement over new game hardware.
On the Friday before the Microsoft blog post, DFC had written an article arguing that the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 do not need traditional game system debuts. At launch these systems are likely to be supply constrained as early consumers rush to buy the initial hardware shipments.
Maintaining a sense of mystique becomes important. In the past, Microsoft has done a poor job with handling new product information. Ignoring the traditional media and going directly to consumers is probably a smart strategy.
So what exactly was announced? There were basically three major themes in the post: 1) power and speed; 2) instant immersion and 3) a new generation of game compatibility.
Spencer confirmed that the Xbox Series X would have a 12 teraflop GPU. Previously Microsoft had said the Xbox Series X would have roughly 8 times the GPU power of the original Xbox One and twice the power of the Xbox One X. The original Xbox One was 1.3 teraflops while the Xbox One X was 6 teraflops. All this power can drive frame rates to 120 fps.
There was also some further talk of SSD storage and Quick Resume features. In the latest DFC report on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X we stated that fast game delivery via SSD and other features was likely to be a key advantage over the slow previous generation. The heading of the Spencer’s post talked about “immersion in an instant.” From a practical standpoint, this could be huge.
The issue of backward compatibility is a little more esoteric. There was talk about playing four generations of games going back to the original Xbox. The post also introduced the concept of Smart Delivery. This promises that supported titles will automatically be upgraded to run on the best hardware. The actual importance of this feature remains to be determined.
Overall, the slow reveal of the Xbox Series X has been far more promising than previous Xbox announcements. Of course, when it comes to advertising and marketing video games, Nintendo remains the master. Microsoft has a long way to go, but we are forecasting strong initial demand for Xbox Series X. Consumers are eager and ready to play.