With Xbox Series X–the official name of Project Scarlett–Microsoft is aiming to eliminate load times. To that end, the Xbox Series X is getting a significant hardware upgrade in comparison to the Xbox One.
“It’s really about giving the developers the tools and the capabilities to use the hardware in the most efficient way possible,” Xbox partner director of program management Jason Ronald told GameSpot in an exclusive interview. “A good example of that is on the [solid-state drive] side–we’ve basically reached the limit of [what’s] possible with the traditional rotational drive. We’re basically at the upper bounds of the raw performance we can get there. So we’ve invested in MVME SSDs and we’re also giving developers a lot of new capabilities on top of that to try to virtually eliminate load times.”
Ronald continued: “You know, whether that’s a level-based game and I’m going from level one to level two, or if you think about a massive open-world game and actually want to fast-travel or teleport from one end of the world to the other, I shouldn’t have to [have] this loading experience [that takes] me out of the immersion, and that’s all possible with some of the investments we’ve made on the I/O side.”
Xbox Series X cuts down on latency too, which should benefit those who play competitive games–especially shooters and fighting games, where every frame can matter. “We partnered with HDMI Forum to bring gaming-centric features into the living room,” Ronald said. “Things like 120Hz support, things like variable refresh rate, which has been available in the PC space for a while but it’s never really been available in the living room–things like 8k capability.”
Faster load times and less latency will affect more than fast-traveling around large open worlds and playing competitive fighting games. Similar to the PS4’s Dualshock 4, the Xbox Series X controller will have a share button that allows you to capture screenshots and record gameplay, which, according to Ronald, you’ll be able to “instantly” publish. You’ll apparently be able to run multiple games simultaneously too–allowing you to quickly hop back and forth between what you’re playing without needing to wait for each one to load from scratch, not unlike what you’re able to do with a single game on Xbox One or PS4 today.
“Those are things that we can do with the platform level to make the gaming experience just better,” Ronald said. “It’s really about ensuring there’s less waiting and more time playing because that’s ultimately what we all want to do.”
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