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Unanswered questions we still have about the Series X

The unveiling of the Series X at The Game Awards in 2019 ended a lot of speculation about what to expect from the next generation of the Xbox platform. However, global disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in the cancellation of many of the events where Microsoft and the Series X team would have provided further details about the console.

While Microsoft has made up for these missed opportunities by releasing sneak peeks and specifications on a regular basis throughout 2020, fans still have lots they would like to know about the console. From the price and exclusives to a digital edition, here are some of the most important unanswered questions gamers still have about the Xbox Series X.

How much will the Xbox Series X cost?

With the PlayStation 5 arriving at the same time as the Series X, one of the biggest questions on everyone's minds is how the prices of the two new consoles will compare. While Microsoft has not stated what the exact price of any of the expected bundle options will be, it has dropped a few hints.

Xbox team head Phil Spencer has left clues about the price of the Series X in interviews since the announcement of the new console. In April 2020, Spencer indicated the final price of the Series X could be influenced by the announcement of the PlayStation 5's price. He even stated the importance of retaining the ability to stay agile on pricing.

This indicates the price of the console should be in line with past releases, and as such is expected to cost around $500 at a minimum. Expect further announcements from Microsoft confirming the price as Holiday 2020 draws closer.

When will Microsoft release the Xbox Series X?

Microsoft's targeted release window has been the 2020 holiday season since before the Series X announcement. However, there has not been an official release date set so far and some wonder if the global supply chain and financial disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have put that release date in question.

The console's production occurs for the most part in Chinese facilities. China has been a focal point for the virus and it is hard to gauge whether the supply will meet the demand. In addition, worldwide quarantines put in place to slow the spread of the disease have wreaked havoc on the schedules for many gaming studios and other technology businesses.

However, if Microsoft is able to keep rising above these challenges, there are some educated guesses you can make as to the eventual release date. All of the past Xbox models have debuted in the month of November. Both the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 released on Nov. 22 in their respective years and the original Xbox hit shelves on Nov. 15, 2001.

What Series X exclusives will be available?

Confirmation of some of the titles that would be compatible with the new console accompanied the announcement of the Series X. One of the most important games on that list is Halo Infinite, a soft reboot of the Halo series expected to be a signature launch title for the Series X.

However, Halo Infinite is a cross-generation development and is expected for the Xbox One and PC at the same time it is available for the Series X. A new version of Microsoft's flagship racing series Forza is expected soon, considering the franchise took a hiatus in 2019 and Microsoft Game Studios has indicated that a new racing game is on the way.

As far as confirmed Series X games, the list is short. Rare, the studio behind Sea of Thieves, has announced a new original fantasy adventure property called Everwild built with the Series X in mind and Microsoft has released a trailer for Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. In addition, Ebb is developing a first-person adventure game, Scorn, that will be a Series X exclusive at launch, although there is no word if it will remain so.

Will there be an all-digital version of the Xbox Series X?

Questions regarding the Series X's relationship to the Xbox brand have fueled rumors that there might be a second console slated for release after the launch of the Series X. These rumors were supported by a collection of codenames Microsoft utilized to refer to new console systems in development prior to the Series X announcement in 2019.

The overall moniker for the new development cycle was Project Scarlett. Microsoft reportedly divided that into two pieces of equipment, known by the codenames Anaconda and Lockhart. Anaconda was the planned successor to the Xbox One and has been confirmed as what you now know as the Series X.

Lockhart, however, is rumored to be a successor to the Xbox One X. This version would be disc-less and have a lower price point than the Series X. Though Microsoft did not unveil a digital edition of the Series X, a Kotaku article stated that sources familiar with Microsoft's plans asserted the project was still in development. 

You can probably safely expect to see a disc-less next-gen Xbox, especially now that Sony has announced a Digital Edition of the PS5.

How much will the new Series X controllers cost?

The launch of the Series X will be accompanied by a redesigned Xbox controller. It will feature a new cross-segmented D-pad that takes inspiration from the Xbox Elite controller that has grown in popularity over the last few years. Textured trigger grips are expected to give a more tactile sensation and allow for greater accuracy. In addition, the controller takes a cue from Nintendo and Sony's controllers with the inclusion of a share button in a nod to the dominance of social gaming platforms such as Twitch.

Microsoft also revealed that gamers will have the option to use AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack with the controller. It's still unclear how much the controller will cost. With standard Xbox controllers starting at $60 and going up to $150 for the Elite Controllers, that price is very much up in the air.

When do Series X preorders open and what bundles will be available?

Another conversation that has dominated speculation about the release of the Series X is what sort of bundles will be available, whether some will be preorder exclusives and how that will impact the price. With so many unknowns about the cost of the hardware it is hard to guess how bundle prices will affect the final purchase but there are some guesses about bundles to be made.

The launch of Halo Infinite alongside the Series X means there will likely be an option to get that title included with the purchase of a new Series X system. Dirt 5 and Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 are both slated for 2020 releases as well, which would make them good candidates for inclusion with a launch bundle.

Preorders will likely start during summer 2020 for the Series X, although no official preorder procedure has been revealed by Microsoft.

What developers will support Smart Delivery?

One of the most exciting new features that Microsoft will debut with the Series X is Smart Delivery, which will allow gamers to purchase titles for either the Xbox One or Series X and play them on either console.

Players will receive a version of the game optimized for the console which they are playing on, meaning those who access these titles will actually have two versions of the same game in their library. High profile games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla are confirmed to take advantage of the technology, leaving fans to wonder what other developers will use it.

The official Xbox blog revealed that all Xbox Game Studios titles created with the Series X in mind will utilize Smart Delivery. The question that remains is if the remainder of third party developers will embrace this technology as well. About a dozen titles are confirmed to support the technology, and you will have to wait until launch to see how popular the new system will be.

What does the 'Series' label mean for the future of the Xbox?

What exactly does the new "Series" label mean for the future of Xbox products? After all, the Xbox is Microsoft's primary gaming property and the brand offers a diverse array of choices. Right now, there are four versions of the Xbox One available, including the discontinued original design, the compact Xbox One S, the upgraded Xbox One X and the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital.

All that gamers have seen so far is the monolith Series X set up that reverses the form factor of modern consoles. Does the Series X represent the next evolution of the Xbox, or will it be something on its own? We will know more when announcements are made about pricing and bundle choices but the community is curious if there may be more surprises about the future of the Xbox line waiting after the launch of the Series X.