Formerly known as Project Scarlett, the new console arrives in time for the holidays in 2020
Microsoft has revealed its next-generation Xbox video game console and announced its official name — the Xbox Series X.
Shown off at the Game Awards on Thursday night and detailed on the Xbox website, the system resembles a small tower PC instead of a traditional game console. But, despite promotional images showing it stood upright, Microsoft says it can be placed on its side — so don't worry, it should still fit in your TV cabinet.
The console doesn't yet have a price, but Microsoft says it will go on sale during the holiday season of 2020, so you can expect to see it in stores from November or December next year.
As for a price, you'll want to save in the region of $500 — plus another $150 for a couple of next-generation games.
Backwards compatibility appears to be present and correct, as Microsoft said the Series X will let owners "bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you."
Microsoft revealed no new details about the specs of the console this week. The company has previously said the next Xbox will offer 4K gaming at 60 frames per second — the same as today's Xbox One X - but says 8K visuals and 120 frames per second will also be possible.
The Xbox Series X features ray tracing, a new visual technology which promises to offer vastly more realistic graphics than what's possible today.
Put simply, ray tracing treats light in video games the same as real life, modeling millions of beams of light and calculating how they bounce off objects, instead of drawing graphics based on an assumption of how the light should look. It's the same technology used by the special effects departments of movie studios.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has previously said how the new console will have eight times the graphical processing power of the standard Xbox One, which was announced in 2013. The new model will have twice the graphical performance and four times the processing power of the two-year-old Xbox One X.
Microsoft's use of the 'Series' name is interesting. This suggests there could be several versions of the new console, with one potentially called the Series S, given we've previously had the Xbox One S.
It is also rumored that Microsoft will also offer a version of the new console without a disc drive but for now the only images of the Series X show a disc slot as normal. We's like to see Microsoft retain the Xbox One's support for voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant.
The images also show a slightly redesigned controller with a new D pad and a central share button for quickly sharing images and videos of your gameplay with friends.
We can expect to hear more about the Xbox Series X — along with new games built to run on it — at the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles in June.