Microsoft has confirmed that its next games console, the Xbox Series X, will feature a 12 teraflops graphics processor, eight times more powerful than the Xbox One graphics chipset.
The announcement, made by the Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, via Microsoft’s Wire news site, confirmed recent rumours about the machine, which is launching this winter.
Spencer’s blog post also revealed a new Smart Delivery initiative that allows players to make one game purchase, which will then be optimised for whatever machine they’re playing on, whether that’s the Xbox Series X or Xbox One. “This technology empowers you to buy a game once and know that you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on,” explains the blogpost.
The console also supports a graphics technique named Variable Rate Shading, a rendering technique which supplies more detail to the most prominent and important objects in the game world, boosting performance. Meanwhile, hardware-accelerated raytracing allows for the kind of advanced and highly detailed lighting and shadow effects usually seen in animated movies.
The recently leaked specifications for both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 seem to reveal very similar machines, both using AMD Zen 2 and RDNA technologies and SSD drives – but while the Xbox machine promises 12 teraflops of GPU, the leak suggests PS5 will be operating at 12.6 teraflops. However, the unverified specs suggest that Xbox Series X will have a slightly faster CPU (3.7Ghz as opposed to 3.6Ghz) and a larger capacity SSD (1TB versus PS5’s 500GB), but these granular details have not been confirmed.
With a vague launch date set at “Holidays 2020”, it is likely several more waves of information will be released over the coming months. As Spencer states, “I’m proud to be able to share details about some of the technologies we are enabling for the next generation, and look forward to boldly sharing more as we head towards E3.”
Sony is likely to be planning its own marketing onslaught in the meantime, and unlike Microsoft will not be attending the E3 games conference this year. Although there is little to separate the two machines in terms of architecture, it seems Sony’s designers may be looking for unique ways to differentiate PS5 – a recent rumour suggested that the next Dualshock controller could feature biofeedback sensors, allowing game developers to alter the game content depending on the emotional state of the player.