Microsoft's latest Xbox Series X demo shows off the console's full feature set

Polycount

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In context: Microsoft's next-gen Xbox Series X and S consoles are just around the corner now. When they launch in a few shorts weeks, thousands of gamers will be entering the new Xbox ecosystem. There will be a totally new UI to get used to and a host of new features to experience, so there will probably be a bit of a learning curve.

To help you prepare for the next generation of gaming, Microsoft has released a 14-minute video walking you through the entire Xbox Series X (or S) experience. The video hosts, Malik Prince from the Xbox community team and product engineer Harrison Hoffman, kick things off by explaining the company's design goals with the new Xbox UI.

According to Hoffman, the idea was to create a more straightforward and accessible UI for new customers while ensuring it remains powerful enough to satisfy "loyal Xbox gamers" and "upgraders."

Whether or not the UI accomplishes the latter goal remains to be seen, but it certainly hits the mark for the former: the new Xbox interface is cleaner and seemingly easier to navigate than many of its predecessors. The top row in the dashboard looks like a list of recently-played games as well as a few shortcuts to useful services, like the Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass.

Below that, you'll see banners that show off new games and experiences you might be interested in trying, such as an open beta or a Game Pass title Microsoft thinks you might like. Over on the left, you'll see a single shortcut that will take you directly to your library of "games & apps." It's unclear how customizable this home screen will be (if at all).

Hoffman and Prince then show one of the Xbox Series X's core features in action: Quick Resume. As the name suggests, this tool lets you swiftly boot into a game that you'd loaded up previously, even if you've since hopped into Netflix or launched an entirely different title.

For example, you could finish up a tense firefight in Gears of War 5 and then swap over to Cyberpunk 2077 for a bit of open-world fun. Once you tire of that, you can swing back into Gears 5 and pick up right where you left off.

The hosts then move on to actual gameplay to give viewers a glimpse of the Xbox Series X's raw graphical power. They show Gears 5 running at 4K and 60 FPS while pointing out the enhanced textures and the game's ability to reach 120 FPS in competitive multiplayer modes.

Next up, we get a look at the "Guide," a new screen that you access by pressing the Series X controller's home button. The Guide displays over the top of any game or app you happen to be running and has buttons for your friends list, your notifications, Quick Resume games, the Microsoft Store, dnd more.

In short, it's a one-stop-shop for everything Xbox that won't get in the way of your gaming any more than necessary.

Another feature you access exclusively through your controller is the Xbox Series X and S's new "Share" button. Tapping the button results in a quick screenshot, whereas holding it down lets you record a gameplay clip without navigating through clunky menus.

However, there's a bit of a catch here. Any screenshots you take or clips you record will be uploaded to Xbox Live, but you need the redesigned Xbox mobile app to actually share them.

The app is also required to set up your console on day one, so if you're going with the Green Team this console generation, it might be worth giving it a download sooner rather than later. Naturally, it's available on both iOS and Android at no cost, and it has a few other nifty features of note, such as Remote Play.

Hoffman and Prince spend the rest of the video showing off the Xbox's new game library as well as the Game Pass and Microsoft Store interfaces. There's nothing notable to mention there: they're functional, clean, and seem pretty easy to navigate, even with a controller.

If Microsoft's latest walkthrough has sold you on the Xbox Series X or S experience, the consoles are theoretically available for pre-order right now at $500 and $400, respectively.

We say "theoretically" because both consoles are out of stock at just about every retailer as of writing, so it might be tricky to snag one. Still, if you get lucky, it seems like you'll have a pretty great experience ahead of you -- let's hope the first set of customer reviews reinforce that assumption.

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R00sT3R

Posts: 326   +802
Cyberpunk perhaps, although given the recommended specs that game looks to run on even low end parts.
Even the much hyped backwards compatibility mode, playing older games with improved frame rates and other improvements, isn't a selling point for me, as I don't own any previous Xbox games...so yeah, with no AAA exclusives there is not a single reason for me to lay down $500 for it.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,271   +2,121
If only it had some actual (new) games worth buying it for....
If you point this out you're called all sorts of names. However, it remains a strong personal opinion of mine that next gen consoles need jaw dropping next gen games that stun you into submission and make you want the hardware. This errr...ummm?

Now Microsoft have got their ecosystem rolling here, the back compat is very nice, but it should not be a headline feature. Game pass is great value and very attractive, although it's hardly exclusive to the new consoles.

The question is where is the games? Granted, PS5 is hardly better in this regard but their launch window lineup is clearly a lot stronger. If I had to point to one game then it is Demon's Souls. It's a remaster of an 11 year old game many may not have played the first time around, but it does at least have that jaw dropping improvement that you expect from new console hardware. It looks amazing and it runs super silky.
 
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R00sT3R

Posts: 326   +802
If I had to point to one game then it is Demon's Souls
If I tried to play that, I'd end up smashing the PS5 controller against the wall in frustration.

These 'prove your a super hard gamer' games and me do not get along. I have no time for the seemingly endless trial & error nature of their combat. I've played Sekiro on my PC, and simply gave up after a few hours of infuriatingly frustrating (lack of) progress. Life is just too short to waste on that type of game from my perspective.
 
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Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,271   +2,121
If I tried to play that, I'd end up smashing the PS5 controller against the wall in frustration.

These 'prove your a super hard gamer' games and me do not get along. I have no time for the seemingly endless trial & error nature of their combat. I've played Sekiro on my PC, and simply gave up after a few hours of infuriatingly frustrating (lack of) progress. Life is just too short to waste on that type of game from my perspective.
I'm not a fan of the game either. It's beautiful though. Easily comparable to anything I have seen on a high end PC.
 
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DZillaXx

Posts: 106   +157
If you point this out you're called all sorts of names. However, it remains a strong personal opinion of mine that next gen consoles need jaw dropping next gen games that stun you into submission and make you want the hardware. This errr...ummm?

Now Microsoft have got their ecosystem rolling here, the back compat is very nice, but it should not be a headline feature. Game pass is great value and very attractive, although it's hardly exclusive to the new consoles.

The question is where is the games? Granted, PS5 is hardly better in this regard but their launch window lineup is clearly a lot stronger. If I had to point to one game then it is Demon's Souls. It's a remaster of an 11 year old game many may not have played the first time around, but it does at least have that jaw dropping improvement that you expect from new console hardware. It looks amazing and it runs super silky.
I think a lot of people will be disappointed with Demon Souls after playing it. I still have the original with my PS3, it is not a game that most people would enjoy. Its a tedious game and very much a technical game. Mostly timed attack/dodge/etc type of actions, not pressing the right button at the correct time means death. I pained through most of it myself, but the game IMO was nothing special. Some loved it.

IMO Spiderman is the consoles biggest game at launch. Even if most will just get it for the PS4.

I think 3rd party games are the biggest titles at launch, and they will play better on the Series X. Cyberpunk is the game I'm looking forward to the most and will be playing that on the Series X for best performance on a console day one. Assassin's creed valhalla will IMO be one of the best selling titles at launch.

I'll get the PS5 when Ratchet and Clank drops or Horizon, I missed my chance to preorder. They were all sold out by the time I woke back up the next day when Sony said it would go live. Not knowing it went live hours earlier. So I'll just play Spiderman on my PS4 and just wait until the PS5 is easy to grab on store shelves. So probably February. But lets be honest, the PS5 will be better for exclusive titles. I wouldn't be surprised if every multiplat runs better on the XSX. This is the reason why I preferred games on the PS4 over XB1. PC for me is mostly just RTS & Sim games, and IMO the best way to play a FPS RPG like outterworlds or boarderlands.
 
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