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Xbox Series X: Here's what ray-tracing looks like in Minecraft

A new tech demo shows how much a difference the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab)'s ray-tracing tech makes when playing a game like Minecraft, where you can see dramatically-enhanced lighting, shadows, and reflections.

YouTuber Austin Evans had the chance to play a tech demo of Minecraft on the Xbox Series X, and it's remarkable to see the game with and without ray-tracing. Without, it looks like the Minecraft (opens in new tab) we know and love - at a distance, it's hard to pick out any visual upgrades over the graphics we see on current-gen consoles. But when Evans switches on ray-tracing, the entire look of the game changes.

Colors are more dynamic, shadows vary in darkness depending on how close to the object you are, and the glow of lava reflects off rails. The whole presentation takes on a more natural aesthetic, with nuanced lighting effects that travel through and carry the colors of transparent objects. It's by far the most realistic Minecraft has ever looked, and probably the current best demonstration of ray-tracing's effect on graphics on the Xbox Series X.

Below are some comparison shots from Xbox Wire (opens in new tab) showing Minecraft running with and without ray-tracing:

(Image credit: Mojang/Xbox Game Studios)

(Image credit: Mojang/Xbox Game Studios)

Another Xbox Series X gameplay reveal (opens in new tab) - this time showing State of Decay 2 - shows how much faster the new console boots up compared to the Xbox One. Microsoft also confirmed exactly how big the console itself is (opens in new tab), so now you can clear out enough space under your TV.

Here's a rundown of everything we learned this week about the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab), including what the newly-revealed specs (opens in new tab) say about what the new console can do.

Jordan Gerblick
Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.