The new generation of console gaming is here, and it’s uncanny how similar it looks when compared to last gen. While the Xbox Series X boasts brand new features like ray tracing, faster loading speeds, better graphics and slicker performance, the improvements between the consoles aren’t always obvious. But beyond the brand new console box, new games lineup and overall tweaks, there are a few major changes between this console generation and the last.
Here’s every major difference between the last gen Xbox One X and the new gen Xbox Series X, and why you should consider upgrading.
The Xbox Series X has faster loading times
On average, it takes between two and 15 seconds to load gameplay on the Xbox Series X after initial menus, game logos and introductions are completed. While it’s not ‘instant’ it’s pretty dang fast, and if you’re in a rush to jump into your favourite game you won’t have to wait long. It’s even faster if you’re loading via Quick Resume, which takes between three to thirteen seconds to deliver action-ready gameplay.
It’s a far cry from the 40+ second load time of the Xbox One X and while you won’t notice a huge difference at first, the time saved stacks up.
The Xbox Series X also feels fast. You never feel like you’re waiting for anything, even when the game makes you sit through the Xbox Game Studios logo for the twelfth time. Loading times are noticeably difference, and it’s a very attractive change.
The XSX also has better, more realistic graphics
The Xbox Series X features major graphical improvements from the Xbox One era of gaming. While you will need a HDMI 2.1 capable TV to see the ideal 120 frames per second promised by the console, you’ll still be able to see the difference in graphics on any old 4K TV. First, there’s the minor things: pores are more defined in close up shots, sweat can be seen dripping steadily (and realistically) and even fine hairs are visible. Facial expressions have escaped the uncanny valley and characters seem more personable and likeable.
Then there’s the big whopper: ray tracing. The Xbox Series X is the first Xbox console capable of ray tracing, the art of rendering realistic light patterns in a game world. While it might seem like a minor upgrade, it makes a world of difference. Ray tracing makes worlds seem brighter and characters more alive. There’s a deeper sense of realism than ever before with the Xbox Series X’s graphics, and it really shines when you’re travelling through wide, open world games like Gears 5.
For the first time ever, characters actually look and feel like real people. Hair is much better, eyes have the perfect level of shine and skin looks soft to the touch. As much as the PS4 and Xbox One improved character models and the sense of realism in gaming, the Xbox Series X really does take a leap up. Some games don’t reflect these improvements just yet (some are yet to be enhanced), but if you dive into Gears 5, Yakuza: Like A Dragon or even Gears Tactics, you’ll see some of the best-looking character models gaming has to offer.
The Xbox Series X is incredibly quiet
If you’re tired of straining to hear over the noise your PS4 Pro or Xbox One X generates, you’re in for a world of surprise. The Xbox Series X is basically silent. If you’re sitting on a nearby couch or bed, you won’t hear the console going at all, even on higher spec games like Gears 5, Dirt 5 and other graphics-intensive titles.
It doesn’t make a single sound — not a peep! If you get up close, you can hear a mild whir while the console’s guts churn but it’s barely noticeable while you’re actually playing and you really will need to get close to hear it. (I smashed my head on my TV unit doing so.)
This is one of the changes you won’t really think about, but you’ll certainly benefit from.
Quick Resume is useful new feature on XSX
The other major difference between the Xbox One X and Xbox Series X is the inclusion of the Quick Resume feature. This enables you to switch between games at lightning fast speeds, with the console remembering exactly where you left off. Not all games are compatible with Quick Resume, but you’ll be able to play the vast majority of games this way.
You can store between four to six games in the console’s Quick Resume memory, with game save states being kept even after the console switches on. Loading these Quick Resume games is even faster than booting up a game from scratch, with most QR games being available and gameplay ready in about 12 seconds flat.
It’s fast, easy to use and makes playing games on the Xbox Series X a total breeze.
The Xbox Series X rocks an improved controller
The differences between the the Xbox One X controller and the Xbox Series X controller aren’t obvious until you stick them side-by-side. First, there’s a brand new directional pad in place of the traditional buttons. This is very clicky and fun, but mostly operates the same. The newest and best addition to the XSX controller is the social sharing button, which allows you to screenshot your games and share your photos instantly with your mates. It’s quick and ultra simple. (More on this shortly, though.)
Outside of the new social integration, the Xbox Series X controller is also shaped slightly differently from its predecessor. It’s got a thicker rump and a smaller overall size, making it easier and more comfortable to hold. For those with smaller hands in particular, it’s a massive blessing. This will be one of the most comfortable and sturdy controllers you’ll ever hold.
On the surface there’s not a heap of change, but there’s certainly some improvements to the controller worth mentioning.
The Xbox Series X is a very social console
As mentioned, the Xbox Series X controller comes with a social sharing button. Any time you screenshot a game on the Xbox Series X, it’ll be instantly uploaded to your Xbox app on your phone. You can then take it and share it with any of your mates on all your social medias (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.). It’s simple, very easy and a real turning point in the sociability of gaming consoles.
As games become more social and community-based, being able to share your favourite moments and memories is essential. The experience really is seamless on Xbox Series X and you’ll never have to interrupt your game to share any of your favourite shots.
While this generation of Xbox consoles doesn’t feature a massive leap in features and capabilities when compared to last gen’s tech leap, there’s still plenty to love about the Xbox Series X.
Consider all of these upgrades before you head out to purchase your device and keep in mind while the next generation of gaming is exciting, it’s designed to be futureproof. You’ll have to be patient to get the most out of your new console. Expect to see more upgrades, accessories and reasons to buy in the coming years ahead.
Stay tuned to Kotaku Australia for more coverage on all things Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5 and beyond.