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Xbox Series X — Next Gen Console Coming Holiday 2020

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What if... the new series S is just a newly designed Xbox One X Slim?  Priced at like $200-250? That lets them differentiate between the new series X and the old one X.  A confusing nomenclature.  One X and S systems are stopped on manufacturing.  The two “new” systems both fundamentally let you buy into the eco system, without going full on necessarily. The two options now become the pinnacle of the previous gen, and full on next gen. Without the confusing naming similarities. 

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That price would be pretty insane since rumours suggest we'll only see a decrease in RAM and GPU on Lockhart, but again it comes back to the question of how badly do MS want to "win." I don't think any of us really know how far they're willing to go to make up for the XB1 launch debacle. It's feasible they could go $399 there and $499 for Series X I suppose. Certainly, with lockhart on the shelves, I would hope they would want to phase out the Xbox One systems relatively quickly.

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22 minutes ago, Eldorado said:

What if... the new series S is just a newly designed Xbox One X Slim?  Priced at like $200-250? That lets them differentiate between the new series X and the old one X.  A confusing nomenclature.  One X and S systems are stopped on manufacturing.  The two “new” systems both fundamentally let you buy into the eco system, without going full on necessarily. The two options now become the pinnacle of the previous gen, and full on next gen. Without the confusing naming similarities. 

 

I don't think you're far off in your theory if credible rumors are to be believed but what you're propositioning still doesn't resolve the issue of leaving behind current gen development entirely. It seems that Microsoft is positioning the Series S as a "next generation" alternative that primarily targets 1080p. The bulk of the internals will remain the same with reduced power on the GPU/CPU.

 

https://www.thurrott.com/games/xbox/237240/the-latest-on-lockhart

 

Quote

One of the misconceptions about Lockhart is that it is going to hold back next-generation games. It’s a valid concern and the idea sprung up about a year ago when details were murky about the path ahead for the next generation consoles. Specifically, developers were not fully versed in how development (or profiling as it is now called) was going to actually work on the hardware which resulted in myself, and others, hearing mixed messaging from those briefed early on the plans.


As we have learned more during the past year, those concerns have faded as Microsoft has built a strategy of using the same base components across both devices (like Raytracing support and CPU specs) that should make it easier for developers to target the same visual fidelity for both consoles but at different resolutions. Meaning, the series X will be optimized for 4k gaming while the series S is optimized at 4TF for 1080P displays.

 

 

If that is the case, its almost splitting hairs as you could describe it as a juiced Xbox One X or a crippled Series X. Pick your poison there. 

Though if that tracks to what we see in August, then I highly doubt we'll see a price point that low. I could see another $499/$399 scenario here so that they can hit that magic $399 number in some way. That would make for an interesting market comparison if Sony does the same with their Disc vs Digital consoles. $399 for a lesser powered console vs $399 for a fully digital but fully powered competitor. 

 

Given where we are with 4K set adoption, I question the efficacy of producing a console that caters to 1080p displays as well but I guess the most options the merrier?

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10 minutes ago, Romier S said:

Given where we are with 4K set adoption, I question the efficacy of producing a console that caters to 1080p displays as well but I guess the most options the merrier?

 

Is there a remote chance it could do 1440p, or is it really looking locked in to 1080 with the rumoured specs?

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11 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

Is there a remote chance it could do 1440p, or is it really looking locked in to 1080 with the rumoured specs?

 

I don't think they would actively lock it down to a specific resolution. They would likely still allow the dashboard to display in 4K for instance and they would leave it up to the developer on how they would choose to use the Lockhart profiling in the SDK. I'm mainly commenting on the report that they're seemingly designing the hardware as being optimized for 1080p which seems an odd choice and again if we're following their current marketing - will there then also be an "Optimized for Series S" tag on certain titles? I truly hope not.

 

My guess is as the Xbox One and Xbox One X phase out, the "Optimized for Series X" tag is the message that tells you the game is truly meant to run on their big boy hardware and that's that with the understanding being that even if it does have the tag, its also going to run on the Series S but at a lower resolution and possibly less visual features, etc? I don't know but that's probably the "cleanest" way that that messaging would come across, IMO.

 

I should mention that there are rumors out there that Lockhart could end up being in the $299 range but I'll take those with a grain of salt. It would make for an interesting strategy from Microsoft in undercutting Sony on price but possibly knee capping sales of the Series X in the process. In the end, they may not care as they mainly want people in the ecosystem as previously mentioned.

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Are there rumours pointing to whether Lockhart will have an optical drive or not? If it didn't have one then that'd be the one thing to damage the replacement for Xbox One systems theory I think. It may be difficult to market it as the de facto entry level model into the Xbox ecosystem if the S and X cease production and become harder to find. 

 

 

39 minutes ago, Romier S said:

It would make for an interesting strategy from Microsoft in undercutting Sony on price but possibly knee capping sales of the Series X in the process. In the end, they may not care as they mainly want people in the ecosystem as previously mentioned.

 

How much does MS want this, and what lengths will they go to in trying to regain the success of the 360 era? That's the big question at the end of the day, and I wonder how long the game of chicken between Sony and MS can run when it comes to revealing the pricing. It would be weird for Microsoft to unveil Lockhart in August and not take that moment to lay their pricing cards on the table because you'd think they'd want to bolster that reveal of such a system by showing that it's cheaper. 

 

I do think MS will be in a more confident position to leverage their revenue from services against losses on hardware compared to Sony as Sony still lack something as attractive as Gamepass. Microsoft's earnings call in April stated they were nearing 90million "active users" on XBL, and had just passed 10 million Gamepass subs. I'd love to know the retention details on subscriptions.  

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

How much does MS want this, and what lengths will they go to in trying to regain the success of the 360 era? That's the big question at the end of the day, and I wonder how long the game of chicken between Sony and MS can run when it comes to revealing the pricing. It would be weird for Microsoft to unveil Lockhart in August and not take that moment to lay their pricing cards on the table because you'd think they'd want to bolster that reveal of such a system by showing that it's cheaper. 

 

I do think MS will be in a more confident position to leverage their revenue from services against losses on hardware compared to Sony as Sony still lack something as attractive as Gamepass. Microsoft's earnings call in April stated they were nearing 90million "active users" on XBL, and had just passed 10 million Gamepass subs. I'd love to know the retention details on subscriptions.  

 

 

 

I'll say this again and I've said it before, Xbox is not a global brand. The success of the 360 was primarily here in the States and in the UK. By the end of the last generation and despite all of the bungling stupidity by Sony, the Playstation 3 had overtaken the lifetime sales of the Xbox 360 primarily on the back of its success in Europe and abroad and the course corrections by Sony.

 

Microsoft today is in a FAR better position to compete than ever, IMO. Their service offering is stronger on the back of Game Pass (though I wonder how sustainable that is), they've made huge strides on the console design front and they've refocused the brand around gaming and not TV, TV, TV or set top box bullshit. So success is attainable but I don't know that they've done anything to broaden that appeal to take away the type or cache/cushion that Sony holds in vast majorities of Europe and other foreign markets. Just throwing that out there as a conversational piece because I think it needs to be part of the calculus for the success of the Xbox brand.

 

On the notion that Microsoft is more confident leveraging revenue from services? Seriously? Have you looked at any Sony financials in the last few years? PSN subscriptions have made them BILLIONS of dollars and they have an enormous "attach" rate on users that sub to the service. They make money hand over fist on that alone much less hardware/software sales. Microsoft is a more diversified company in its offering so it has the financials to throw money at the Xbox brand but Sony is hardly some pauper in the corner unwilling to subsidize their hardware here. If anything, I would say that Sony has even more  incentive to "win" in that they're business has become that much more HIGHLY dependent on its games business and they have a 100+ million user base to leverage.

 

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I think nex-gen will definitely be affected by what MS decides to do with the lowest spec console.

 

In the worst case, it'll be some version of the "one X - that would be a big "HELL NO!" from me, as that means essentially all cross-platform titles, we'll be targeting that as the lowest common denominator and the industry won't advance game simulation.

 

IMHO, you can see some of this on PC - I feel like it has stagnated even though there's super powerful GPUs available and insane cpu's - mostly because the lowest common denominator are still console specs. Yeah you can turn eye candy and run at very high refresh rates, but the fundamental game simulation aspects are held back.

 

Hopefully Lockhart simply has less GPU but the same CPU base as Series X - that would make sense to me in order to advance game simulation - though there's obviously intersection with GPU compute as well here.

 

This is why MS messaging saying  "2 years before series X exclusives" is annoying to me. I can see why they want to push for forward compatibility but ultimately I think that will hold the industry back.

 

That means that Sony's first/second party titles will be the ones pushing the envelope as they seem to be drawing a clear next-gen line in the sand - I'm fine with that - but I wonder how the market will respond.

From my own limited sample, all my kids friends have cheap Xbox One's.. simply because of the price - they never got into the playstation 4 ecosystem.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, AlbertA said:

 

From my own limited sample, all my kids friends have cheap Xbox One's.. simply because of the price - they never got into the playstation 4 ecosystem.

 

 

 

Those that did go into the PS4 ecosystem primarily did so with the base model, too. The Pro and X are outlier systems that cater to hobbyists that don't care about throwing out upgrade money. We are the minority. Its why I've never been a particular fan of the whole "blur" the generational line play.

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2 minutes ago, Romier S said:

 

I'll say this again and I've said it before, Xbox is not a global brand. The success of the 360 was primarily here in the States and in the UK. By the end of the last generation and despite all of the bungling stupidity by Sony, the Playstation 3 had overtaken the lifetime sales of the Xbox 360 primarily on the back of its success in Europe and abroad and the course corrections by Sony.

 

Microsoft today is in a FAR better position to compete than ever, IMO. Their service offering is stronger on the back of Game Pass (though I wonder how sustainable that is), they've made huge strides on the console design front and they've refocused the brand around gaming and not TV, TV, TV or set top box bullshit. So success is attainable but I don't know that they've done anything to broadened that appeal to take away the type or cache/cushion that Sony holds in vast majorities of Europe and other foreign markets. 

 

Just throwing that out there as a conversational piece because I think it needs to be part of the calculus for the success of Xbox brand.

 

 

 

Definitely. I agree on all points, but even to see 360 levels of adoption in similar markets again, but bolstered now by increased service revenue, would put them in a pretty happy place. I'm really not at all confident Microsoft can usher in an era of exclusive games in the way that Playstation's studios have. Sony's greatest asset going into the next gen is surely the good will built off of the love for so many incredible games and the desire to play the sequels. I know Spencer has said he's committed to getting that level of quality out there on Xbox from first party studios too, but I don't see them having success after success after success in the same way. Maybe that's OK though. Both seem to know the things they're bringing to the table, and that actually appeals to me. This will be the first time in many years that I've immediately felt like I could commit to multiple systems because I can quickly see the different things I will get out of the investment. A year ago I wasn't nearly so sure.  

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I do hope they have sense about the Xbox ecosystem to the extent that games aren’t locking out older/cheaper options just on principle. AAA land are welcome to create the world’s most advanced beard physics or whatever, but at the indie end if a game runs on a laptop there’s no need to arbitrarily stop Xbox One X users from running it just because they want everything to be for the new hardware. 

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8 hours ago, iainl said:

I do hope they have sense about the Xbox ecosystem to the extent that games aren’t locking out older/cheaper options just on principle. AAA land are welcome to create the world’s most advanced beard physics or whatever, but at the indie end if a game runs on a laptop there’s no need to arbitrarily stop Xbox One X users from running it just because they want everything to be for the new hardware. 

 

I've every expectation that's how it will play out. Just as MS are not dictating that indies or third parties have to produce for cross-gen, there's surely never going to be a rule to suddenly force them not to either.

 

For indies in particular I'd wager MS will encourage it, and the likes of Fifa didn't even abandon the PS3/360 until Fifa 20 (LAST YEAR!) making it the first PS4/XB1/PC only version (they do their half hearted dedicated Switch version too of course, running off an old game engine I believe? I think all they do is update the teams every year). Call of Duty didn't abandon the previous gen until November of 2016 when Infinite Warfare came out, and Black Ops did not make its PS4/XB1 only debut until October of 2018. This is kind of why I'm not hugely concerned about the two year window Microsoft Studios are placing on first party titles being cross gen, much as I would love to see them fully immerse themselves in the capabilities of the new hardware sooner. That window just isn't all that different to what we regularly see from other publishers, and even if you think about things like Unreal Engine 5, while we could see UE4 developed games quickly ported over to make early use of the new features before release, ground up next-gen UE5 titles would themselves be a ways off. So I really don't think MS stand alone in that two year window.

 

Microsoft do run risk of Sony showing them up as Sony's studios get exclusive PS5 big hitters out the door sooner though (from launch no less), and I suppose that's really why I hope they don't drag their feet too long. Having said that though, I know next to nothing about game development. We have only limited information about Microsoft's new SDK, and maybe the evolution of existing architecture we're getting in the next-gen systems will, radical SSD advances aside, allow huge graphical and computational advances in games running on the new hardware, while simultaneously allowing them to scale well to PS4 and XB1. One of the most interesting things MS could do is Show Halo Infinite running on Series X, Lockhart, XB 1 X and the XB1 VCR side by side, but we'll probably have to wait for Digital Foundry to do that themselves. 

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19 hours ago, iainl said:

AAA land are welcome to create the world’s most advanced beard physics or whatever...

 

You joke, but this is this is the Director of Program Management at Xbox, Jason Ronald.

 

Jason-Ronald-Microsoft.png.982ce7d6b799862ccaede776e4f28425.png

 

You better believe that the beards on Series X are going to be lit with that guy in charge.

  • Haha 1
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Looking forward to it! A lot is riding on this presentation for Microsoft after Sony's debut of the PS5.

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I'll be interested to see it as well, but obviously not right in the middle of the day on a Thursday.  I know the gamer cliche is someone who barely works and sleeps half the day, but I guess they don't want regular folk to be able to watch these as they happen.  We all aren't tied down at home or even near a computer. 

 

I miss E3.  

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I thought they might follow Sony with.a 1pm Pacific time slot, which (having just checked) would have actually mimicked Microsoft's 2019 E3 presentation time too. It's left me wondering if anything can be read into that choice of time slot and whether it has anything to do with Microsoft wanting to chase the wider market in Europe next-gen and capture more attention there. It could also be that they want to roll out other material and interviews throughout the day maybe? 

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I've really no idea what my expectations are. I hope it's good. It'll be interesting to see just how far along development is with a lot of stuff under the Microsoft Studios banner. I'm intrigued to know more about Everwild from Rare, and Hellblade II. I wonder how long the presentation will be and whether we will actually get some dev commentary and gameplay deep dives for several titles. It would also be really interesting to see Microsoft show the same game running on Series X, XB1 X and XB1 to help answer some of the questions and concerns we have about older systems holding back quality. 

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49 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

I've really no idea what my expectations are. I hope it's good. It'll be interesting to see just how far along development is with a lot of stuff under the Microsoft Studios banner. I'm intrigued to know more about Everwild from Rare, and Hellblade II. I wonder how long the presentation will be and whether we will actually get some dev commentary and gameplay deep dives for several titles. It would also be really interesting to see Microsoft show the same game running on Series X, XB1 X and XB1 to help answer some of the questions and concerns we have about older systems holding back quality. 


I want interesting new IP’s from them. They’ve spent a good bit on new studios and while I’m all for a new glimpse at Halo Infinite and Hellblade II, it’s the other unknown stuff that could possibly entice me to buy a Series X at launch alongside the PS5.

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