Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday's Headlines | XBox Update

Microsoft is planning to launch the Xbox Series X during the 2020 holiday season where it will go up against Sony's upcoming PS5 console. The coronavirus pandemic might delay the latest console battle, but things are already starting to heat up. Several major retailers have already begun sign-ups for Xbox Series X pre-order notifications, and you can find details on that below along with the latest information on price, release date, specs, games, and more. Note that this post will be updated as new information is released, so keep tabs on this page in the coming months.

Pre-Orders: If the COVID-19 situation doesn't end up affecting Microsoft's launch of the Xbox Series X, we would expect to see pre-orders go live in June - most likely around the time of the digital event they're planning as a replacement for E3. At the time of writing, you can sign up for pre-order notifications via the following retailers:

Best Buy
Walmart
GameStop
Target

Release Date: 
Again, assuming that the console isn't delayed because of COVID-19, we would expect Microsoft to launch the Xbox Series X in the primetime holiday shopping month of November.

At this point we haven't heard anything official about production delays related to the pandemic, but fans should prepare for them. A holiday launch could see less than optimal supplies of the console, which would likely result in chaos - not the least of which being excessive eBay hoarding and markups. We could also see a shortage of consoles due to other factors - like sourcing enough components for a such a powerful device.

Price: 
Microsoft appears to be biding its time when it comes to pricing the Xbox Series X, possibly waiting to see what Sony does with the PlayStation 5 before making a final decision. Xbox boss Phil Spencer had this to say about pricing:

“You have to set a price target at the beginning for yourselves, and then you kind of roll in as you see the competition come in and you start to do your go-to-market planning,” said Spencer. “I feel good about the price that we’re going to be able to get to. I feel good about the price and the performance capabilities that we have with Series X.”

"We’re getting incredible support from Microsoft. Satya Nadella, the CEO, my boss, Amy Hood, the CFO, they’re very linked in to what our plans are. We’re going to make sure that we stay agile on our pricing and that we have a good plan going into launch.”

Reading that, it seems as though Microsoft is flexible on the price. So far, most rumors put both the PS5 and Xbox Series X between $450 and $549. Perhaps they're willing to sell it on the low end of the spectrum as a loss leader. Hopefully we will find out soon, but Microsoft and Sony are likely waiting to see who will blink first.

Specs:
CPU - 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU - 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Memory - 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
Internal Storage - 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
Expandable Storage - 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage - USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive - 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target - 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

When it comes to pure power, the Xbox Series X has the advantage over the PS5. Xbox boss Phil Spencer chimes in once again:

"I felt really good about how [Xbox] Series X lines up... When I saw the public disclosure (of the specs on PS5), I felt even better on the choices we made on our platform," said Spencer, via IGN." I had a lot of confidence in our hardware team. The work that Jason Ronald and the team has done is just fantastic."