Next-Gen

3 surprising revelations we learned from Xbox Series X previews

The first impressions for Microsoft's next-gen console are in.

The first impressions for Xbox Series X are out in the wild. Sites like GameSpot, The Verge, and VentureBeat have been hands-on with the new console for over a week, and the first impressions were revealed on Monday morning. Overall impressions seem overwhelmingly positive, but there are 3 aspects of the Xbox Series X that seem to stand out. They mainly involve the vastly increased load times, Quick Resume feature, and better frame rates for older games.

3. Drastically Improved Loading Times

Across all Xbox Series X previews, the common consensus is that the loading times for many major games are extremely impressive. Load times spent booting up a game or transitioning between gameplay sequences has been drastically reduced across the board.

Playing Xbox One X games that weren't even officially optimized for Xbox Series X, VentureBeat claims the loading times indicate a "very noticeable upgrade." In particular, Final Fantasy XV's boot-up load time went from over a minute to just 15 seconds.

Meanwhile, The Verge's preview contains many more load time comparisons. Highlights include Warframe's loading time of 1 minute 31 seconds being reduced to a mere 25 seconds on the Xbox Series X. Destiny 2's 1 minute, 52 seconds load time was reduced to 43 seconds.

While load times are still far from instantaneous, the power of the Xbox Series X does mean a drastic reduction in downtime spent on loading screens in games.

2. Quick Resume is a "game-changer"

Another intriguing Xbox Series X feature that was briefly teased in the past is Quick Resume, which allows users to start games right where they left up for up to six games — even if they spend an extended period of time playing another game or running a different application.

Current-gen consoles only allow players run a single app at a time, so you'd have to rely on saving your game if you wanted to shift gears to watch Netflix or play a different game. GameSpot called the feature "a literal game-changer" and confirmed that changing games only takes around 5 to 8 seconds.

GameSpot notes that this feature works particularly well with Xbox Game Pass and only makes things smoother for gamers that like to play through multiple titles at once. Geoff Keighley, who also went hands-on with the system, claims "Load Times + Quick Resume makes moving between games almost like Alt-TABing." He also thinks it will be a "game-changer."

1. Improved Frame Rate

Obviously, with improved hardware comes better frame rates for games. That means we'll see more images on-screen per second, which therefore translates to smoother video animations.

These previews communicate that unless a game's frame rate is locked at 30 FPS, you'll almost always see an improvement on Xbox Series X. VentureBeat points out that games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Final Fantasy XV, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice all manage to hit a relatively stable 60 FPS on Xbox Series X.

On Xbox One X, performance on these games never went above 48 FPS. VentureBeat called the improvements on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice "like a revelation" and that "it is such a better experience on the Xbox Series X that I’m trying not to play it all over again." For games that require quick response times like Sekiro, the next-generation consoles appear to be the way to go.

The Inverse Analysis — All of the Xbox Series X previews seem overwhelmingly positive, which bodes well for the next-gen platform. It is clear that this next generation's improvements won't be as flashy, but the improved loading times and frame rates, as well as Quick Resume, should make playing current-gen games on Xbox Series X worth it, even when the early days of the system's life aren't packed with many compelling exclusives.

For now, we'll just have to wait and see how it stacks up against PlayStation 5 in terms of overall processing power.

Xbox Series X will be released on November 10, 2020.

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