We are less than a month away from the next generation becoming the current generation and more details have steadily been trickling in about what the consoles will be capable of at launch.
On Thursday, Xbox released a list of the 30 games that will be optimized for the Series S/X at launch. There are no real “exclusives,” as just about every game on this list is also available for folks who own the Xbox One. Titles include Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Gears Tactics.
Highkey, I thought Gears Tactics was launching on Series X but no, you can already cop that shit on PC. That means that Series X is launching without any real exclusive killer apps of its own.
After watching multiple gameplay videos of the Series X in action, though, it makes sense. Xbox has continually labeled the Series X as the best way to play games and it appears they’re doing that by focusing on quality of life improvements.
In past generations, we lost our minds seeing the crazy graphics the new consoles could be capable of. There is some of that here but, considering how far we’ve already come graphically, there isn’t much further we can go beyond straight hyper-reality.
Hey man, science said it not me.
Xbox has smartly focused on improving the experience of simply playing the game. Load times on the Series X look incredible, as this video from Gamespot demonstrates. Red Dead Redemption 2’s load times went from 2 minutes on the Xbox One to just over 30 seconds on the Series X. Across all four games that were tested, load times significantly went down from their Xbox One counterparts.
Graphically, games look better and run smoother on the Series X. The current generation never quite seemed to get a firm handle on finding a good middle ground between high resolution graphics and fluid frame rates. From what has been shown of the Series X, so far, that gap appears to be closing.
The Xbox Series X really seems to be pushing itself as having the best version of your games, old or new. I honestly respect it. The focus on not only making the console backwards compatible, but also improving the performance of older games, offers a decent value proposition that, personally, I don’t feel Sony has rivaled.
I know the PS5 is backwards compatible but Sony hasn’t really shown how its games will perform better on PS5. Considering how weak the launch year is for both consoles, it’s a detail that’s more important than I think they may realize.
Speaking of Sony, they revealed the Playstation 5’s user interface on Thursday and, uh, it looks like a menu, I guess? The menu will never take you fully out of the game, which is a nice little quality of life feature but otherwise all the bells and whistles they’ve added just seems like shit you’ll try out day 1 and forget about.
It’s basically like when Apple added 3D touch to the iPhone, a feature you probably already forgot about.
What Sony still hasn’t done is provide some clarification on the newly introduced snitching feature that came with this week’s 8.00 update. Whenever you join a voice party on Playstation Network (PSN), you must now agree that you may be recorded while playing.
Folks were not happy about the change as it was just sprung up with no warning. I was hoping that by this point Sony would have at least released a blog post explaining how the change actually works in action. It sounds like your friends will have the option to record you should they decide to report you to the Feds at Sony but, again, they haven’t clearly laid it out.
I’m typically a Sony guy, my first console was the original Playstation, but I gotta admit the Series X is just doing a better job at selling me on the console. While Sony hasn’t made any of the same mistakes it made while trying to launch the PS3 (overpriced console that was hard to develop for), it does seem to be a little complacent at the moment.
Hopefully, that changes as we approach launch day.