After a torturous wait so many months since the initial announcement, we finally got the specs on what the Xbox Series X will deliver. In most areas, these specs turned out better than we hoped, with the faster SSDs being an especially important and potentially game-changing factor (forgive the pun). Of course, as with any announcement of any system ever, we’ll have to wait until we get the controllers in our hands before we can speak to the final result, but so far the indications are strong.

Understanding this, the question now turns to how exactly Microsoft will choose to leverage new potentials and a changing marketplace to better aid the customer? Looking at some of the major developments of the last generation, we want to examine what is likely to change, and what we’d like to see become standard.

Different Display Modes

If you’re a dual console/PC gamer, then multiplatform games often become the domain of the PC. When this does happen, it’s largely because PCs can go above and beyond what is often a 30FPS cap on consoles, to a much smoother 60 and beyond. While there are exceptions to this rule, it’s still been an issue which has remained for generations.

Hope on this front has been given by how a few standout games of last-gen managed their display mode options. The Surge 2 and Nioh were brilliant in this regard, allowing 30fps quality display modes and 60fps action modes, which added a level of customizability that consoles rarely see. The action modes might night have looked the best in static images, which developers and publishers often hate, but there is no denying they played much better than the slower FPS options.

According to reports from the team over at Microsoft, there are claims that the performance target for the Series X is 4K at 60FPS. While we doubt that the majority of games will manage this performance (we’d bet 30fps at 4K still standard), a common render target of 4K could mean a toggle down to 1080p on demand for higher possible frame-rates.

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Open Infrastructure

The other major changes we could see coming from Series X relate to growing externalities in the wider gaming world. Specifically, we’ve got some big dreams for more open platforms and cross-platform cooperation between the different console developers.

For more open platforms, we’ve seen significant growth when it comes to indie games on the current-gen. This has allowed players a far greater level of flexibility in low-cost gaming, which is reflected in the enormous success of Nintendo’s Switch. We would expect that the next-gen could take this a step further, where online browser games could become reliably playable. In essence, these browser entries such as those from Newgrounds and Albino Blacksheep take the idea of indie gaming a step further, allowing a much broader range of free or low-cost games without the requirements for larger data requirements or more intrusive installs.

Of all the visions we have for next-gen, perhaps the most likely is that of greater cross-platform acceptance. The origins of cross-platform gaming date back at least as far as the Dreamcast, which offered cross-platform play with the PC on games like Quake 3 and Phantasy Star Online. Since that point, development has been slow, but the likes of Fortnite and Rocket-League have slowly been raising the bar.

It could also be the case that the next-gen of cross-platform might need to be more fully advertised that unfamiliar players better recognize its potential. Inspiration on this front could be found from services like online casinos. Here, many offerings are available over PC, laptop, and mobile systems. Each of these offer near-identical experiences, and each draw in new players with free spins and other bonus offers. Such dedication might prove immensely useful for more traditional video games too, with in-game cash and account levelling standing out as areas ripe for investigation.

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Counting down the final few months until release, many of us are starting down our usual path of saving, and waiting to see which among the launch offerings could be worth the price. As for whether our hopes and predictions for the next-gen prove true, only time will tell. In the meantime, we’ll just go back to marking the days until Cyberpunk 2077 hits shelves.