After quite a bit of hype Microsoft’s new flagship gaming console, the Xbox Series X, launched on November 10th 2020 for $500 — with pre-orders on the books dating back to September 22nd. With so much Xbox Series X news aimed at the consumer market, what should game developers take away from all of this? 

  • What’s new with the Xbox Series X, from the new controller to backwards compatibility  
  • The new games on the horizon thanks to the launch 
  • What the Xbox Series X launch means for you as a game developer

As a game developer, you’ll be pleased to know that the new console features fast as hell loading speeds for games, and the signature high quality Xbox Series X graphics we’ve come to know and love. Perhaps most importantly, the Series X has replaced the Xbox One X as Microsoft’s best and most powerful video gaming console, in just about every way imaginable. It’s quite a time to be creating games for Xbox.  

Xbox Series X news reveals that the new console is backward compatible with all Xbox One video games and has many Xbox Series X exclusives on release. This means that even many of the older games out there will benefit from considerable graphics and performance improvements on the new console. 

Microsoft has even shared that the new Xbox Series X is compatible with thousands of games from both the original Xbox as well as the Xbox 360. And we have no doubt that gamers will really appreciate that all of their games, old and new, are now supported for an impressive 120 fps game playback. 

Ultimately, the new Series X is being positioned as the best and most enjoyable way to play games in the next generation — and it’s great for developers too. Gamers love the high-fidelity gaming experience brought to them in a quietly bold design, and game developers will love the high speeds and graphical performance that bring their visions to life. 

Of course there are tons of details in circulation about the new console out there, but we thought we’d take a second to round up the most important Xbox Series X news just for game developers. Here’s what game developers ought to know about the new console. 

What’s New with the Xbox Series X?

Xbox Series X news reveals that Series X has many useful features as well as some valuable “quality-of-life” improvements. Plus the new inclusion of a Blu-ray drive as well as access to several entertainment apps means that the new console can also double-up as an amazing home entertainment system.

Quick Resume

In case you missed it, the new Xbox console’s Quick Resume feature has been rightfully described by many as a literal game-changer? It essentially lets gamers seamlessly swap between various saved states of any of the games they have running at once. 

That means within seconds gamers can easily jump back into the video game where they left off as if they never stopped playing. In other words, Xbox gamers will likely see very few loading screens ever again. 

As far as game development goes, you might want to consider optimizing any new games you build for Xbox series x for this new style of game entry — as well as spend less effort making content for intro sequences or loading screens.   

Multimedia Capabilities

One of the best things about this launch from a consumer perspective is that the Xbox Series X also offers gamers a range of popular multimedia features. For example, gamers will have access to several streaming services. Some of them are Netflix,  Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video. 

For game developers this means that gamers’ time and attention could now be more divided across gaming and these new streaming channels at their fingertips. Unless you have a huge advertising budget to put towards commercials on those streaming platforms, you might want to set some expectations for occasional fluctuations in gameplay figures KPIs.

1440p Output Support

Although we know that 4K is the resolution king right now, let’s not overlook that many PC gamers still depend on 1440p monitors. For a lot of gamers out there, this is their default gaming resolution because of the friendlier price points and some unique performance advantages. So, it was nice to hear that the new Xbox Series X console is catering to the community by supporting 1440p output. 

Here are some other new and notable features to consider as a game developer:

  • The Xbox Series X console has 1TB of SSD storage
  • SSD also promises faster loading times than gamers get from an HDD (hard disk drive) 
  • The Series X will also have an 8-core CPU that runs at 3.8 GHz 
  • The console will rock a 16GB GDDR6 

The New Xbox Series X Controller

As you can expect, with the new game console comes a new and improved controller. Although the controller doesn’t come with any radical or crazy design changes, note that there are a couple of key updates. One such update is that the Xbox Series X controller finally features a USB Type-C port. 

Probably the most noticeable change on the new Xbox X game controller is its new D-pad. This is a hybrid between the old Xbox One controller’s 4-directional pad and a more rounded diagonal pad, which is a nice middle ground. The design is similar to the one you’ve seen on the Elite controller. 

According to Xbox Series X news, the Xbox X Series controller is mainly designed for ultimate performance, especially in multiplayer video games. This is because of the new locking system feature for triggers. Locking the triggers will help reduce gamers’ finger travel distance, which may mean the button presses will likely happen much faster since gamers’ fingers and hands don’t have to move too far. This is definitely in developers’ best interest to keep this in mind when developing shooting games. 

They’ve also optimized the controller with new textures and grips on the triggers and handles, making the Xbox Series X controller more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. So keep those games binge-able, developers.

Xbox Series X: Backward Compatibility 

There is no doubt that backward compatibility is an important consideration about the Xbox Series X for gamers and developers alike. Thankfully the backward compatibility for this new console is very strong — the Xbox Series X even lets gamers use old Xbox One accessories. 

Nearly every video game that runs on the old Xbox One, such as Xbox as well as Xbox 360 titles — will also work well on the new console on launch day. But of course there are plenty of Xbox Series X exclusive games to look forward to, too. 

Here are a few backward compatible Xbox 360 games playable on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and even Xbox Series S:

  • 3D Ultra Minigolf
  • 0 day Attack on Earth
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
  • Burnout Revenge
  • A World of Keflings
  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • Duke Nukem Forever
  • Dungeon Siege III

As a game developer, you should be happy to know that Microsoft’s commitment and dedication to compatibility means all existing Xbox One games will also play and look better than ever before with Xbox Series X graphics. Also, it is worth noting that some of the best games, including Xbox Series X exclusives, will benefit from faster load times, steadier framerates, and improved resolution.

New Games on the Horizon for Xbox Series X

The list of new and upcoming Series X games is growing longer everyday. This should make any game developers out there more excited and happy than ever about the future of Xbox. It’s a great time to be developing games for this console.

While there will not be any purely Series X exclusive releases in the near future from any of their first-party studios, Microsoft has certainly confirmed many Xbox Series X and Series S (and PC) only releases, which will give gamers something to look forward to. 

There are several games that hit the new console at launch to keep players busy, including some from the current generation that have been given next-generation updates. Here are some popular titles:

  • The Medium 
  • Fortnite
  • Dirt 5
  • Everwild 
  • Avowed
  • Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
  • Borderlands 3
  • Halo Infinite

Marketing Trends and Considerations for Launching a Game for Xbox Series X

These are some marketing considerations for any game developer out there launching a game for Xbox Series X. 

Content Marketing

While you may know that content marketing can take on several forms, the best way to reach your gaming audience in the search engines is through written articles or promotional videos. There’s a ton of people out there searching for which new games are being released on the new Xbox, so creating online content that answers their query — and introduces them to your game — is a great way to capture their interest. 

Landing Pages

A lot of game developers don’t realize that you don’t need to be a digital marketing expert to create an effective landing page. You can easily set up a single-page website to share information about your game and broadcast that it works on the Xbox Series X. 

This is a great way to capture online traffic from all the people searching for new Xbox Series X games right now — and you can even set up an email capture form to keep in touch with people interested in your game. You should use exciting and fun videos, screenshots, and demos of your Xbox Series X game on the landing page.

Know Your Community

Targeted audience research is one of the most important things you have to do as a game developer to ensure the masses find your Xbox Series X game. The hype around the new console isn’t quite enough to ensure widespread interest in a new game built for it.  

Taking the time to research your audience and engage with them before you start promoting to them can pay off in dividends in the long run. 

What the New Xbox Series X Launch Means for Game Developers?

Here are some takeaways regarding what the new Xbox Series X launch means for game developers.

Free Upgrades

According to Xbox Series X news, Series X game upgrades may be free for all cross-generation titles. This is because Microsoft is pushing publishers and game developers to refrain from charging extra costs to those who would like a next-generation copy of a video game they already have.

This request from the company is tied to Xbox’s new Smart Delivery feature for its latest console, which ensures that gamers enjoy the best version of a cross-generation game regardless of which Xbox platform they are running it on. 

Higher Refresh Rates

As a game developer, you know that playing video games at a higher refresh rate and resolutions is one of the next big things in gaming. For example, a gamer who has played a game like Ori and the Will of the Wisps in a high resolution at 120 hertz will know how amazing it is with Xbox Series X graphics. 

In the past, this experience was only available to PC enthusiasts who spent a hefty amount on their machines. Game developers should be very excited that the Xbox Series X brings this type of high performance to the general public.

No More Worries About Frame Rate

Many game developers also like the transition from Xbox One to the latest Xbox Series X, as it was quite straightforward and hassle-free — most developers so far have felt at home with the new and improved devkit. 

The new devkit gives them considerably more freedom without having to worry about the frame rate too much, which is an impressive feat. This lets developers crank up their creations to a much higher frame rate, making their creations far more powerful on the Xbox Series X. 

Final Thoughts

The Xbox Series X has definitely impressed game developers, and Xbox series X news confirms it. The super-fast SSD of Xbox Series X considerably decreases load times for players, while its custom and efficient RDNA 2 GPU is excellent as it allows for 4K/60fps gameplay. 

It’s a great time to be making games for the Xbox Series X.

If you’re working on a game for the new console, get in touch with Loopr for help with an expert promotional strategy, no matter your budget. 

Can’t get enough of this stuff? Check out our video game PR case studies to learn how we’ve helped indie game developers and esports brands just like you.

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