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Clarifying the Xbox Series X name

No, the next-gen Xbox isn't just called 'Xbox'. It's named the 'Xbox Series X,' and here's why that distinction matters

Derek Strickland | Dec 17, 2019 at 11:00 am CST (12 mins, 21 secs time to read)

The Xbox Series X name is confusing some, and it didn't help when Business Insider put out an article saying "Xbox" is the name of the new next-gen console. It's not. Microsoft's new next-gen console is called the Xbox Series X, not just Xbox. Here's why that distinction matters.

Clarifying the Xbox Series X name | TweakTown.com

The Xbox Series X is the start of a new console family. It's a naming scheme that confirms an iterative cadence that will see multiple new Xboxes released under the new Series banner. It's not a new ecosystem--the Xbox Series X (Xbox SX) is backward compatible with all existing Xbox One games and peripherals--but the start of a new console hardware cycle set in a familial hierarchy.

Business Insider says Xbox is the make, and Series X is the model, but it goes deeper than that. There's three parts to this new naming scheme: make, family, and model.

Xbox is the make, Series is the family, and X is the model.

This naming pattern was deliberately chosen with the iterative approach in mind and it's important to maintain this distinction to understand Microsoft's future roadmap. Microsoft is making a conscious effort now to plan for the iterative family approach on a base consumer recognition level.

The confusion set in when Microsoft delivered the following statement to Business Insider:

"The name we're carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox. The name 'Xbox Series X' allows room for additional consoles in the future."

To be clear, Microsoft has always carried the Xbox name forward. It's the name of the brand. Of course they would. We've seen it with the Xbox (make and model), Xbox (make) 360 (family) S/E (model), and finally with the new console family hierarchy with the Xbox One family (eg Xbox is the make, One is the family, and S/X is the model).

Microsoft started making these provisions when it kicked off the new meaningful iterative family approach with the Xbox One S, which was somewhat improvised and mainly made because of the Xbox One's poor hardware and to push 4K TV adoption(although the specs are similar, Xbox One S features a smaller, more efficient APU and 4K upscaling capabilities).

It was the big brother of the Xbox One family, and soon became the man of the house when the OG 2013 Xbox One was (thankfully) retired.

The Xbox One X was the patriarch of the Xbox One familial structure, and was made specifically for 4K HDR gaming. It was a vital stepping-stone to the Xbox Series X.

These naming provisions are in place for a good reason. Microsoft is future-proofing the next-gen Xbox brand and sending a clear message: The Xbox Series X won't be the only future Xbox Series console. Microsoft even confirmed Xbox Series X won't be the last console at E3 2019.

Rumor has it Microsoft will release two next-gen Xbox consoles in 2020: the higher-end Xbox SX that hits native 4K 60FPS with a 12TFLOP GPU, and a lower-end system with less RAM, no disc drive, and a tuned-down 4TFLOP GPU for 1440p gaming.

This new system will undoubtedly be a part of the Xbox Series family. Perhaps it'll be the Xbox Series E, or maybe the Xbox Series S (although I doubt Microsoft wants to be associated with the Xbox SS abbreviation).

Microsoft even confirmed as much in their official statement to Business Insider:

"Similar to what fans have seen with previous generations, the name 'Xbox Series X' allows room for additional consoles in the future."

Again, this was something that was obvious from the start. Once the Xbox Series X was announced, everyone knew there'd be more "Xbox Series" consoles.

(Continued below)

Honestly I really shouldn't have to write this article. Consumers already inherently know these things on a base level. It's something that's prevalent in lots of industries (like the automobile industry with its supersports, SE's, LT's, etc).

I just thought it was important to clarify what these names mean, why they're chosen, and why it all matters. And to underline how the Xbox console hardware roadmap is now an iterative family structure that'll see multiple new models roll out in the coming years.

Each of the Xbox Series consoles will be different and offer varying things, whether it be dramatic power discrepancies/perf targets like 4K 60FPS vs 1440 60FPS or even a digital-only set-top box designed as a conduit for Project xCloud streaming. And they'll all be named accordingly to reflect those capabilities.

The Xbox Series X is due out by Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced.

Check below for confirmed specs and details, and a huge content listing of everything we've heard about Xbox Series X so far:

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • Navi GPU on RDNA architecture
  • Highly customized 7nm SoC from AMD
  • GDDR6 memory
  • 2x Xbox One X's 6TFLOPs of GPU perf
  • 4x CPU power of Xbox One generation
  • Can deliver up to 40x more performance than Xbox One in specific use cases
  • Adaptive sync supported
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • Supports 8K resolution (likely media playback)
  • 120FPS gaming
  • Variable refresh rate (adaptive sync/FreeSync)
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Raytracing confirmed with dedicated raytracing cores
  • Backward compatible with thousands of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games
  • New controller with a dedicated share button
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories

Lockhart (Unconfirmed lower-end Xbox Series hardware)

  • 1440p 60FPS
  • No disc drive
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC w/ scaled-down 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHZ and Navi GPU
  • Lower GDDR6 memory pool (Possibly 12GB)
  • ~6-8 TFLOPs of power?
  • Aims to rival PS4 Pro/Replace Xbox One S
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • Cheaper MSRP

Anaconda/Xbox Series X/Project Scarlett

  • 4K 60FPS
  • Disc drive with 4K UHD playback
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC with 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz and Navi GPU
  • 16GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 12 TFLOPs of power
  • 2x GPU power as Xbox One X/aims to replace Xbox One X
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • More expensive MSRP

Xbox Series X coverage:

Last updated: Dec 18, 2019 at 06:11 am CST

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Derek Strickland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Derek Strickland

Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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