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Xbox Series X hands-on preview: "A continuation rather than an evolution"

Xbox Series X preview
(Image credit: Future)

The Xbox Series X represents more than the beginning of a new generation of home consoles. For Microsoft, it shoulders the responsibility of bringing a shift in strategy to bear, and of demonstrating that the company is truly committed to returning video games to the forefront of the Xbox experience. To appreciate what the Xbox Series X is trying to achieve here, you first have to understand how it ended up in this position. 

The Xbox One was positioned as a mainstream portal for all forms of entertainment. That born out of a perception that players were spending as much time watching media on Xbox 360 as they were playing games. But where the Xbox 360 never let a burgeoning infatuation with Netflix diminish the quality of games at the heart of the experience, the same could not be so easily said of the console that followed. The Xbox One underperformed against the PS4, for a spell it felt like more exclusives were being cancelled than released, and for the first time in Xbox's history the future began to look a little uncertain.   

In the seven years since the introduction of the Xbox One, we have seen Microsoft attempt a drastic return to the values that were once synonymous with Xbox: power and performance. That transition hasn't always been smooth, but the Xbox Series X represents the next step in an endeavour that began in earnest in 2017. As the vastly more powerful Xbox One X made its debut, Kinect was laid to rest, and Xbox Game Pass was introduced to the world. As a result, the Xbox Series X shouldn't be seen as so much of an evolution but rather a continuation. 

For the Xbox Series X then, November 10 isn't just an opportunity to showcase the next iteration of games and the technology that powers them: it's a moment that needs to be seized, the culmination of a generation-long effort to change the perception of players and bring them back home to Xbox. GamesRadar+ has had its hands on a pre-launch Xbox Series X for two weeks now. This is not a review of the console, but rather our impressions and reactions based on the non-final hardware and software.


VIDEO: 50 of your Xbox Series X questions answered


XBOX SERIES X – HARDWARE AND DESIGN

Xbox Series X preview

(Image credit: Future)

The Xbox Series X casts a commanding silhouette. While Microsoft created the Xbox One to fade into the background of your home entertainment center, the Xbox Series X is designed to dominate it. It's a monolithic slab of matte black plastic that stands 11.8-inches tall, 5.9-inches deep, and 5.9-inches wide, weighing in at 9.8 pounds. On the front of the console you'll find little more than the 4K UHD Blu-ray optical drive and a USB 3.2 port, along with an Xbox logo-shaped power button which is deeply satisfying to click on – that Microsoft didn't bring back the Xbox One's hyper-sensitive capacitive equivalent is a small blessing.

The facade of the Xbox Series X is elegance incarnate, which only belies the true power housed within. The Xbox Series X has a custom processor with eight AMD Zen 2 CPU cores, and a 12 Teraflop RDNA 2 GPU. That pairing means that the console can target performance of more than eight times the original Xbox One, with Xbox Series X able to execute games at a native 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with little compromise. That is itself a statement of intent, one surely born out of criticism levied at Microsoft's desire to position past consoles as all-encompassing entertainment portals. 

Xbox Series X preview

(Image credit: Future)
Future Proofing

(Image credit: Future)

With respect to network connectivity, the Xbox Series X has support for both 5GHz Wi-Fi and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Unlike the PS5, the Xbox Series X does not support 6GHz wireless networks; given that this incoming standard more than doubles the rate of data transfer between devices on a wireless network, I do wonder whether this will prove to be a missed opportunity to future-proof the system.

The Xbox Series X's connectivity options are a further signal that Microsoft has abandoned the aspirations that loomed over the sunset years of the Xbox 360 and informed much of its earliest ambitions with the Xbox One. HDMI-In is out, as is the optical audio connection, and the IR port for universal remotes. On the back of the console, you also find two additional USB 3.2, a gigabit Ethernet, and an HDMI 2.1 port, alongside a storage expansion slot. Speaking of storage, the Xbox Series X comes equipped with a high-speed 1TB NVME SSD that unlocks the true potential of the system, including an allowance for faster load times and impressive new features such as Quick Resume. That HDMI 2.1 port is also key, as it unlocks new performance and latency-reducing innovations for home consoles such as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM) on supported televisions, as well as the option for compatible games to run at 120 frames per second. 

Even with all of these system-intensive features in play, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the console runs quietly and efficiently, even after lengthy sessions with games optimised for Xbox Series X. While the system can be placed in vertical and horizontal orientations, it is clearly designed to be positioned upright – it's the optimal way to ensure that air is able to flow unimpeded from behind the console and up through the curved venting array that sits at the north-end of the console. I can't say that I noticed the console running all that hot, not any more so than expected, although I think it would be in your best interest to not box a $500/£450 console into a small, unventilated space. 

The Xbox Series X is an impressive and powerful piece of technology. It's undoubtedly the best looking and most impressive console that Microsoft has ever put to market, a system with the specifications to inspire the next generation of games and services. November 10 is only the beginning of this journey for Microsoft, but I think that the Xbox Series X demonstrates that the company is prepared to put video games back at the centre of the Xbox experience. 

XBOX SERIES X – CONTROLLER

Xbox Series X preview

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft hasn't changed the basic layout of the Xbox controller in 15 years, and for good reason – the Xbox 360 gamepad is still considered by many to be the gold standard. As a testament to its enduring legacy, Microsoft has opted to leverage small iterations on the Xbox One gamepad that leave a large impact. Microsoft has made adjustments by the millimetre to ensure that it is a better fit for your palms. The grips have been resculpted and reweighted, with a balance born out of that decision that stands up to the scrutiny of lengthy play sessions. As does the gentle, tactile textured effect that has been applied to the top and back of the matte-black chassis. 

For those of you out there with a natural disdain for the Xbox One bumpers, you'll find they have been comfortably reangled and replaced for the Xbox Series X controller, while the analogue triggers have been given a little trim too. They are ever so slightly deeper, requiring a little more force than before to achieve a full depression – a key differential as developers look towards dialling in greater precision and intuitive control in this generation. The Xbox Series X controller also comes equipped with a new and easy to reach Share button, premium face buttons that are as satisfying as ever to press, and analogue sticks that offer greater resistance, which is again perfect for precision input. 

Xbox Series X preview

(Image credit: Future)
Xbox Series X controller impressions

(Image credit: Future)

Want to learn more about the Xbox Series X controller? As part of our Xbox Series X in detail series, we put a detailed breakdown of the gamepad together, so click the link for more of our Xbox Series X controller design impressions.

The Impulse and Rumble motors housed within the triggers and grips of the chassis have also returned. Given how heavily Sony is investing in haptic feedback this generation with its PS5 DualSense controller, it's disappointing to find that Microsoft hasn't made any striking developments or iterations on its impressive rumble technology. All throughout the last generation, the Impulse and Rumble pairing has proven to make the world of difference to feedback and immersion when properly implemented. Sadly, few games outside of those funded by Microsoft and Ubisoft bothered to do so. 

The Xbox Series X controller now features a hybrid directional pad that incorporates a familiar cross shaping with the faceted dish from the premium Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. The Xbox One controller had a surprisingly versatile D-pad, and I'm happy to report that this overhaul only improves the degree of precision control you'll be able to exert. Better still, there's a little well in the dish of the D-pad that allows your thumb to rest comfortably, and the axis is responsive enough that only minimal pressure needs to be applied to hear a satisfying click across all eight directions. 

Like its predecessor, the Xbox Series X controller accepts two AA batteries as standard and I've been impressed with the results. Battery life has been an ongoing concern on Xbox One; say what you will about Kinect, but I miss its ability to detect inactivity and drop the controller into a low-power mode dearly. Still, I'd say you should expect to get between 30-40 hours of play out of standard AA batteries, although using the 3.5mm port for a headset will reduce that estimation significantly. While you can still tether the controller to the console via USB to disable its wireless connection, you shouldn't do in service of latency reduction: the Xbox Series X controller is fast and responsive, more so than any Xbox controller that has come before it. Truth be told, the Xbox Series X controller is among the most comfortable and capable gamepads I have ever used.

XBOX SERIES X – USER INTERFACE

Xbox Series X dashboard

(Image credit: Xbox)

The Xbox One User Interface underwent so many revisions that it felt as if it were in a perpetual state of beta. It has been heavily tested, revised, and iterated upon, which means the Xbox Series X is launching with perhaps the best Xbox dashboard to date. It feels purpose-built to let you easily navigate between your most played games and appears flexible enough to let you tailor the user experience in line with your priorities as a player. At this stage of the Xbox Series X preview experience, I need to note that the dashboard and user interface is not fully representative of the launch dashboard and user experience, but rather it's a reflection of the New Xbox Experience that has been beta tested by Xbox Insiders (myself included) since earlier this year. 

With that caveat out of the way, what's here right now is quick to impress. The speed and performance of the dashboard is a noted improvement over previous versions of the long-suffering Windows 10-styled design thanks to the console's SSD. The user interface feels well optimised, designed to ensure that navigating the Xbox Series X is as frictionless as possible. It's quick and easy to jump between high-traffic areas such as My Games & Apps, Xbox Game Pass, and the Xbox Store, which has been given a wide-reaching overhaul to emphasise visibility and useability. Better still, even more functionality and system-level accessibility has been packed into the Guide.

Xbox Series X Quick Resume

(Image credit: Remedy)
Xbox Series X Quick Resume impressions

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What to learn more about Quick Resume? In our Xbox Series X Quick Resume impressions feature you will find an in-depth exploration of the new feature, and our thoughts on why it feels revelatory in the age of Xbox Game Pass.

The Guide now features enhanced social features in the People tab, while the functionality of the Game Activity tab has been overhauled. From hitting the Nexus button on your controller, you now have a wealth of options at your fingertips. It's easy to track the progress of achievements that you are currently working chipping away at, to check your recent Captures, and to get a better sense of what your friends are up to. Again, we'll wait for review to judge the faster and more functional guide, particularly with respect to new community features such as Looking for Group. 

All of this improved speed and functionality is key when you give consideration to new system-level features unlocked by that SSD, such as Quick Resume. This is primarily designed to let you jump between four-to-five games that are stored in a suspended state in the NVME memory, letting you launch back into an abandoned play session from where you left off near-instantaneously. This also works if the machine is powered down, switched off entirely, or if you introduce physical media into the equation. It's one of my favourite new features of the Xbox Series X, particularly when paired with smart use of the redesigned Guide. Quick Resume feels like a truly seismic feature for the perpetually indecisive, but it isn't perfect. There's currently no way to track what games are running in Quick Resume, a small frustration that can lead to unexpected load times if you've gotten a little cavalier with the games you have on rotation. 

Still, as functional and fast as the dashboard is, I think some will be undoubtedly disappointed that this isn't an entirely new user experience and is instead a continuation of what has come before – that is a reality born out of Microsoft's commitment to cross-gen compatibility. What I will say is that while the Xbox One User Interface often felt like a sluggish, disparate set of loosely-connected applications, the Xbox Series X UI feels streamlined enough that it can get out of your way and let you play your way.

XBOX SERIES X – BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY

Xbox Series X Quantum Break

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Given the power the Xbox Series X is able to generate, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft would use this as an opportunity to draw a line in the sand under the previous generation. Instead, the Xbox Series X is embracing it with full backwards compatibility support for last-gen games (minus anything requiring Kinect, yet another casualty of Microsoft's ongoing attempt to refocus), as well as bringing the Xbox One's support for select Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles forward too. 

Backwards compatible games run natively on Xbox Series X, which means that the thousands of games in the service automatically benefit from the performance of the CPU, GPU, and SSD. It's hugely impressive, and it casts so many legacy titles in a brand new light. I have seen significant reductions in load times in almost every instance – lowering as much as 70% in some cases. I've also found that games typically run smoother, enjoying steadier framerates and more stable transitions between action and menu-based admin. It means your favourite games from the past, the cross-gen multiplayer games you're still playing, and those titles you never got around to (but have since caught your eye in Xbox Game Pass) will play better than before by default.

(Image credit: Square Enix)
Xbox Series X Backwards compatibility impressions

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Looking for more detail on the performance and load times of backwards compatible games on Xbox Series X? Here you can read our full Xbox Series X backwards compatibility impressions from our time with the console

More impressive still is the implementation of Auto HDR across the back catalogue. Microsoft's machine learning algorithm is able to automatically add high dynamic range flourishes to existing titles, meaning that those of you with a 4K HDR-compatible television are about to find that your older games look better than ever too. It's truly fascinating to go back through three generations of Xbox games to see them enhanced in this way, boasting more impactful colour hues and brighter detailing. Of course, given that Auto HDR is implemented by an algorithm it isn't perfect and can miss some detailing that seems obvious, but it's a solid foundation for, what I hope, is the future evolution of the algorithm. 

The backwards compatible games with the most to gain from the Xbox Series X's powerful GPU and CPU pairing are undoubtedly the Xbox One exclusives and the titles that were treated to performance-enhancing patches for Xbox One X. I've found that the games within these two categories are finally able to realise their true potential and hit their stride after languishing within the constraints of Xbox One hardware for a generation. Truth be told, the Xbox Series X has cast the entire Xbox One generation in a new light, and the free gains offered by the Xbox Series X makes an Xbox Game Pass subscription feel more necessary than ever before. 

With respect to the games that were updated for the One X, it's the titles that offered unlocked framerate options at the time that truly shine now, locking in at a stable 60fps where they may once have wavered wildly between 30 and 50fps. While it's obviously impossible for me to test everything available through backwards compatibility, everything I have tested from the original Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox One X has enjoyed more vibrant graphics, faster loading, and steadier framerates, making for smoother and more stabilized play sessions. It's made returning to the past a real pleasure. 

XBOX SERIES X – XBOX LIVE

Xbox Series X Warzone

(Image credit: Activision)

Xbox Live has always been the backbone of the Xbox ecosystem and a new generation would traditionally introduce new innovations to the service. Last generation, Microsoft used the Xbox One launch to raise the friends list from 100 to 1000, made a number of quality-of-life improvements, and built a 'Smart Match' system that sought to improve matchmaking. Given how closely the Xbox Series X is intertwined with the Xbox One in service of forwards and backwards compatibility, we aren't seeing the same degree of innovation or evolution. Everything has to be consistent across both generations. 

Microsoft's decision to integrate universally-synced cloud saves – complete with automatic saving and unlimited storage – with Xbox Live back in 2013 has proven to be one of the best decisions the company has ever made. Turn on your Xbox Series X, sign-in to your Live account, and everything is there. Your digital licenses, achievements, your profile and preferences, and, more importantly, all of your save data too. Xbox Series X backwards compatibility takes on a new dimension because of cloud saves, and so it's no surprise that Sony is implementing something similar for PS5, letting you to move your PS4 save data over to the new console. A clear advantage of this connected Xbox ecosystem, however, is in the ability to load up a 15-year-old game only to find your save data waiting for you… honestly, it feels like magic in action.

Xbox Series X Guide

(Image credit: Sega)
Save your save data

(Image credit: Capcom)

Did you abandon the Xbox ecosystem for PS4 and are now thinking of coming back? If you've still got your Xbox 360 to hand, you'll be able to soon transfer all of the save data from the hard drive into the cloud for free, meaning those old saves will be waiting for you on Xbox Series X, should you want to explore some old favourites.

The biggest change to Xbox Live surrounds game capture and streaming, an area Microsoft trailed behind Sony for an entire generation. The Xbox Series X controller features a Share button, meaning you no longer need to mess around in the Guide to capture screenshots and video clips. The Xbox Series X is capable of capturing 4K resolution screenshots, as well as streaming gameplay and recording clips in 4K and at a framerate of 60 frames per second. The Xbox One's Game DVR launched with a cap of 720p at 30fps, while the One X could just about manage 4K at 30, so this is a massive step up. Oh, and better still there's no more sifting through OneDrive or Upload Studio to get captures off your console and onto social, everything is beamed straight to the Cloud and will appear within the Xbox App on your Smartphone within seconds.

With the Xbox Series X wired in to the broader Xbox ecosystem – now encompassing Xbox One, PC, and Android devices through xCloud – you'll find that there are no new restrictions on who you can play with, party with, or send messages to. Xbox Live recognises Xbox Series X as another console on the network and, as a result, I haven't experienced any problems jumping into rounds of Fortnite or Call of Duty: Warzone with Xbox One players, nor did I notice any problems or disadvantages when playing Gears 5 multiplayer at 120fps with Xbox One players who are locked to 60fps. 

There are some other, smaller quality-of-life changes on the way as part of the new User Interface, dashboard, and Guide, but as I noted before I'm going to hold off until I can see the final experience to really judge Looking For Group, the changes to Communities, and the like. I will say this, however, Xbox Live remains a phenomenal service. Multiplayer is smooth and secure (for the most part, at any rate), and services such as Xbox Game Pass remain unparalleled in the industry. But I would like to have seen Microsoft embrace some change in Xbox Live.

XBOX SERIES X – SETUP & USER EXPERIENCE

Xbox Series X preview

(Image credit: Future)

If you are turning on an Xbox Series X from a complete, powered-off state you should expect the startup to take around 20 seconds from pressing the power button to being signed into Xbox Live. If you have the Instant-On power mode enabled, that startup sequence will take between two and four seconds. From there, any of the games you previously had in a Quick Resume suspended state can be immediately loaded. The Xbox Series X is quick to start, and moves fast to get you straight into games. 

Of course, if you're powering the machine on for the very first time then you should expect to be greeted with an initial update. While this is downloading and installing, you'll actually be able to use the new Xbox app for your Apple or Android device and start tinkering with the settings; you'll be able to sign the Xbox Series X in with your Xbox Live account and move all of your existing settings and preferences over. It's an easy process, the calm before the inevitable frustration. Once the initial OS install is done and dusted, you should expect to find around 802GB of that 1TB SSD remaining for games and applications.

(Image credit: Future)

"The Xbox Series X is quick to start, and moves fast to get you straight into games"

Don't expect to play all that much on day one of owning an Xbox Series X. Obviously, this is completely dependent on your internet reliability and download bandwidth caps, but it still takes a while to install games. With such a massive library available from the second you sign in – be it through backwards compatibility or Xbox Game Pass – you need to pick your battles wisely. Don't do what I did and start downloading Call of Duty: Warzone first, you'll be waiting so long that you'll wish Microsoft had repeated the success of the Xbox 360 launch and included something like a Hexic HD on the hard drive to tide you over. 

Don't think that those of you with physical media are in for an easier ride, either; disks take as long to install on Xbox Series X as they did for Xbox One, so expect to wait anywhere between 20-50 minutes for installation before the inevitable patch requests kick in. And, no, you still can't download multiple patches, games, or updates simultaneously. If you have an external SSD to hand, you might want to prepare ahead of time and move your favourite games from Xbox One to the drive before slotting that into one of the Xbox Series X's USB 3.2 ports – this will drastically cut down on downtime, although data transfers to external drives will pause any downloads and installations you have on the go. 

I've been using a non-final build of the OS during this preview experience, so this is all subject to change. Still, one thing I'm happy to see hasn't changed is the wealth of options available through the Settings app carry over from Xbox One. The face buttons and triggers on the controller can be remapped at a system level, including the functionality of the Capture button on the inversion of the thumbsticks. Privacy and parental settings are easy to control and leverage, which you also have the ability to really dial in the types of notifications you receive – being able to turn the screenshot capture and upload to Live notifications off is recommended. If there's any one frustration, it's that you need to dip into the Display settings every time you want to enable 120hz – it's surprising that the console can't auto-detect that I'm playing a compatible game and give me the option in-game accordingly. 

XBOX SERIES X – ENTERTAINMENT

(Image credit: Xbox)

Like the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X is designed to be the centerpiece of your living-room experience – just not in the same way. For starters, the console is huge, which immediately draws the eye of anybody that walks into the room. But more importantly, it's clear that the power of the console is being used to reduce points of friction all across the Xbox experience, with very little attention being put toward the ambition Microsoft once held to be the gatekeeper of input one on your TV. 

Of course, becoming an all-encompassing entertainment portal is a redundant ambition in 2020. This is a console designed to be played through new 4K televisions, and few of those are going to come without robust, built-in support for Smart TV and entertainment applications. The loss of support for HDMI-In, makes something like OneGuide redundant; with the IR Blaster gone, so too is support for universal remotes; as Kinect stirs six feet under, so too does the need to beg and plead with your Xbox to pause a show. We also live in an age where the usage of a second-screen devices is ubiquitous, and so Microsoft has shifted accordingly; the Xbox One's unique Snap functionality – the ability to run an app or watch television side-by-side with a game – was removed from the OS back in 2017, and no picture-in-picture solution has been introduced here for Series X. 

(Image credit: Xbox)

"Like the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X is designed to be the centerpiece of your living-room experience"

Instead, the Xbox Series X keeps it simple and comes loaded with just about every application that you could need. There are over 28 entertainment apps available through the store, so if any of your favourites are missing on Xbox One they will be missing here too. Media control for 4K UHD, Blu-Ray, and DVDs also shares the same underlying architecture with the Xbox One player, which is to say that it is functional and does its best to get out of your way. 

The Xbox Series X will also let you load up your OneDrive account and view media from there, and it also supports playback from a USB storage device and media streaming from PC via DLNA should you download the free Media Player app. Music can, of course, still be played in the background of your games by booting into one of the supported Music apps, loading up an album, and launching straight into a game from the guide. The Xbox Series X is a capable entertainment hub, it just isn't the focal point of the experience.  

That isn't to say the entertainment experience is a complete success. Quick Resume support does not extend to media in the way that you would want or expect it to. If you're watching a show or movie on Netflix or Disney Plus, for example, Quick Resume won't suspend in place when you start switching around. If you jump into a game from a show and then back again, you'll be met with the main menu screen of the entertainment app. It's easy enough to resume playback, of course, but it would have been nice to be able to pick straight back up from where you left off when using streaming services. As the Xbox Series X preview experience isn't fully reflective of the final, launch-day experience there is a chance this could be fixed ahead of November 10.

XBOX SERIES X – GAMES

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With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is preparing to put a powerful and capable console out onto the market. It's clearly designed to offer a generational leap over what we experienced in the Xbox One era, a new system with its focus undoubtedly on putting video games back at the centre of the Xbox ecosystem. That is evidenced by the impressive tech and architecture that has been engineered and implemented, but I'm still struggling to see how that will be reflected in the launch line-up. 

To be clear, I am yet to experience even a fraction of the games that will be there on November 10 as part of this preview window, but what I have played indicates that evolution, at least on day one, is going to be incremental. With Halo Infinite pushed into 2021, the Xbox Series X is missing an obvious system showcase. I am yet to be convinced that the likes of Gears Tactics, Dirt 5, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and the Optimised for Xbox Series X version of Gears 5 will get that job done. That isn't to say that any of those games are bad – far from it. I have had access to pre-release builds of all of the above over the past two weeks and while I've had a lot of fun, they bring attention to the fact that improvements are going to be on the margins – at least until next year. 

(Image credit: Sega)

"The Xbox Series X has made me believe that this generation will do for playability what the Xbox 360 generation did for graphical fidelity"

Gears Tactics looks as good as it would on a max-spec PC, while Dirt 5 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon offer a greater degree of shadowing, density and clarity in their environments which makes for incredibly convincing immersion. It's impressive, but the leap in fidelity doesn't feel significant. While the games don't look like a true step forward, not in the traditional sense, the Xbox Series X has made me believe that this generation will do for playability what the Xbox 360 generation did for graphical fidelity. 

The Xbox Series X changes the way these games feel in your hands, a nebulous benchmark for success, I know. If we look at Gears Tactics as an example, it's easily able to lock at 60fps now, an obvious improvement over my time with it on PC which could be a little uneven in its cinematics and boss battles. The improvements are only amplified if you have a 4K television equipped with HDMI 2.1 and support for some of the console's more system-intensive features. I've been running the Xbox Series X through the HDMI 2.1 port on Samsung's Q85T – a beautiful QLED 2020 television that's more than equipped to handle the next generation - with a high-speed HDMI cable to unlock the new framerate capabilities of Dirt 5 and Gears 5's multiplayer, which has been optimised for Xbox Series X. Both Dirt 5 and Gears 5 make a compelling case for VRR, ALLM, and 120Hz; they run impossibly well, offering a stability and responsiveness that home consoles have never before been able to achieve or deliver. 

Loading times are, for the most part, almost imperceivable too. Despite having a lot of fun with these games, there's honestly a part of me that wonders whether I spent so much time with Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Dirt 5 not because I was enjoying myself, necessarily, but because I wasn't given the option to break away from the experience by a lengthy load time interrupting play. The faster loading made all of these games feel seamless and natural in a way I hadn't anticipated, encouraging me to keep my hands on the controller. Quality-of-life improvements are going to be the key driver through the earliest years of the next generation, it seems. 

XBOX SERIES X – FINAL THOUGHTS

Xbox Series X preview

(Image credit: Future)

It's easy to be impressed with the Xbox Series X. It's the most powerful and capable console Microsoft has ever engineered that makes a confident statement of intent. While the console lacks a clear system seller, the Xbox Series X regains some ground with a number of key quality-of-life improvements. Between the massive reduction in load times, the ability to push games at a stable 60fps at 4K, and a number of improvements to existing games through backwards compatibility, it would be difficult to go back to either the Xbox One or Xbox One X now. 

Microsoft is looking beyond November 10 with the Xbox Series X. While I'm eager to see how things will change between now and launch with respect to the User Interface and Operating System, and I'm excited to get my hands on final builds of the Xbox Series X launch games, it's clear that this is a system set up for future evolution, iteration, and success. From my time previewing the console, I believe the Xbox Series X is a great gaming console that lacks the games to show its full and true potential at launch. For those we will have to wait a little longer, but in the meantime, the Xbox Series X is shaping up to be one of the best consoles Microsoft has ever created. 


(Image credit: Xbox)

GamesRadar+ is exploring the Xbox Series X in detail. Our Xbox Series X Quick Resume impressions are already live, and you should continue to check back every day for more analysis and opinion of the console. 

Hello there! I'm the Features Editor here at GamesRadar and have been known to moonlight as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. I'm probably best known for the various hills I've been willing to die on.