Xbox Series X preview impressions now out

SEPTEMBER 29, 2020

Daily Gaming Update

Transcript

The only significant news story today came from various news outlets previewing the Xbox Series X, with a focus on loading times, the quick resume feature, and storage space.

Loading Times

In the previews from The Verge, loading times were promoted as a huge improvement over the current generation of consoles. Not only for booting a game up for the first time, but also for in-game content, like transitioning into a new area.

All of these numbers do not include any kind of optimization from the developers. This is simply by using the console’s backwards compatibility features. Down the line, developers have planned to released “optimized” versions of their games for the new consoles. Some of these will be free upgrades, others will have to be re-purchased (which was the standard last-gen). In this case, you’ll be getting improvements just by owning the console.

The Verge also details how overall performance of games have generally improved, including frame rates. Again, that’s only using backwards compatible versions of games.

Quick Resume

The Series X is going to have a feature called “Quick Resume,” which allows you to pick a game up right where you left it. Regardless of whether you start a new game or reboot the console, you can start playing in the exact spot you stopped.

According to Gamespot, you can have up to 6 games using the feature at once, and swapping between them takes 5-8 seconds. Not bad, considering you normally need to launch it and reload a save point. Here’s what they have to say about it:

When it was first revealed, I didn’t think much of Quick Resume until I experienced it for myself. Personally, I like jumping between different genres or styles of games when I sit down for a gaming session, mixing things up when I’ve had my fill. I’ll get through pivotal story moments in an RPG and after a big boss fight, I’d go to something more chill for a while as a palette cleanser before hopping into a bunch of matches in a competitive shooter. So, in conjunction with Game Pass, where I’m often jumping between multiple games I have downloaded anyway, Quick Resume truly shines.

I can’t help but agree that it’s a great opportunity for Game Pass players, where they expect you to have lots of different games on your plate at once.

Storage

Storage is probably the part with the most disappointment, especially for those of you who like to play beefy games.

IGN claims that of the 1TB SSD, you have 802GB available to install games. This is even worse with the Series S, which is a 512GB (total) unit. With some games taking up hundreds of GB (looking at you Call of Duty), this could be a problem. Thus, eyes will inevitably fall on expanding the limits.

The official storage expansion gives another 1TB, but costs a whopping $220. Presumably it costs this much because of its size (it’s tiny) but also because it’s built to leverage the technology in the console. You could purchase an external hard drive, but running games off of it would be much slower. The better option there is to transfer games back and forth, which is quicker than having to install/uninstall constantly.

Overall

It looks like there’s quite a bit to be excited for with this tech. Things will inevitably slow down once developers are upping the ante with their games — but that means bigger and better things than we’re used to.

If you want the opinion of someone who really knows this stuff, and isn’t afraid to use very technical terms to explain it, make sure you read Digital Foundry. They’re always doing super deep tech breakdowns of video games, and are super trusted in the industry.