Prospective Xbox Series X customers got their first treat of target gameplay footage for the console during today's Inside Xbox episode. As usual whenever a next-generation console is still roughly six months away from release, it's early days still. However, the level of visuals does seem to be already a step above what's currently available on the Xbox One X.
In an interview published today on Eurogamer, Jason Ronald (Partner Director of Program Management at Team Xbox) described the overall design philosophy for the Xbox Series X. According to him, the main goal was to deliver sustained levels of performance with no bottlenecks or compromises whatsoever. This efficiency will allow developers to squeeze even more out of the Xbox Series X hardware than the 12 TFLOPs figure would suggest.
To me, it's about the end-to-end performance of the system. It's not one aspect versus another. What was critically important to us was sustained levels of performance, unlike anything you've seen before. And we designed the Xbox Series X to be a well balanced system with no bottlenecks or no compromises in any area... whether it's the CPU performance or the GPU performance - we were at the upper bounds of what was capable with a traditional rotational drive, so we knew we had to invest in things like SSD level IO performance. We designed the Xbox velocity architecture to be the ultimate solution for asset streaming.
What it comes down to is innovation and the integration between hardware and software. Look at something like the velocity architecture. That's a combination of the NVMe SSD, a dedicated hardware decompression block, a new file system API called Direct Storage, and then new innovation even on top of that called Sampler Feedback Streaming, which is what allows us to have an effective memory multiplier beyond what's in the physical memory. You also look at something like Variable Rate Shading. Not only do we have 12 teraflops of GPU power, but developers can be that much more efficient in how they use it. They can actually deliver results even beyond the raw teraflops that are in the box.
So to me it's more about how the Xbox Series X system is used and the integration of hardware and software that will define what's possible in this next generation.
It is an interesting topic, particularly so since Sony went with variable frequency clocks on both CPU and GPU in the PS5 console, a radically different approach. We'll see which one proves more productive once both consoles are out later this year.