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Xbox Series X Promises Faster Play, Less Waiting

Microsoft is promising “immersion in an instant” thanks to a range of system features new to its next-generation console. 

When designing the Xbox Series X, Microsoft’s new console set to launch later this year, Xbox chief Phil Spencer says his team analysed every step between player and game, from controller to console to display, and asked how they could make it faster. 

Their answer includes the use of SSD (solid state drive) technology as an internal storage solution. This should greatly reduce load times during play and upon console and game startup. 

Microsoft has given a name to its high bandwidth, proprietary wireless communication protocol that works to optimise latency from the Xbox controller. Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) will synchronise input immediately with what is displayed on-screen, according to Spencer, to enable more precise and responsive controls. 

A new feature dubbed Quick Resume will allows multiple games—and presumably apps, too—to be held in a suspended state and resumed almost instantly. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 can suspend games and applications, but only one at a time. It’s not clear what Spencer means precisely by “multiple” here, though of course more than one will be an improvement. 

Spencer also says they have partnered with “the HDMI forum and TV manufacturers” to offer “innovation” around HDMI features. He namechecks Auto Low Latency Mode, which allows the console to automatically set the connected display to its lowest latency mode, and Variable Refresh Rate, which synchronises the display’s refresh rate to the game’s framerate. Both features, Spencer says, help to maintain smooth visuals, minimise lag and provide a responsive gaming experience. 

Finally, the Series X will support games running at up to 120 frames per second. Currently, console games run at 60fps max and many are capped at 30fps, with actual performance varying. A solid 60fps across the board with Series X would be a huge improvement. 

Spencer today also detailed more of the hardware specs of the Series X. 

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