At the same time that the HALO Infinite 2021 delay was announced, Xbox confirmed via their official news site Xbox Wire, that the Series X will release in November though it still did not give an actual date or pricing.
The focus seems to be serving as both a reminder that Smart Delivery will offer a free update to Series X goodness on a growing list of third party games as well as all Xbox Studio games currently out for the Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass, but also going home hard on the backward compatibility element to the Series X.
The article reads:
We have plenty to keep you busy until Chief arrives: There will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November and over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year. And with brand new console features like hardware-accelerated Direct X raytracing, framerates up to 120 frames per second, faster loading times, and Quick Resume for multiple games, playing will look and feel better, no matter which games you choose to play on day one.
More than 50 new games planned for this year across generations and optimized for Xbox Series X, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Gears Tactics, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Watch Dogs: Legion. With Smart Delivery you only have to buy these games once to play the best versions for your console, across generations.
New games developed for Xbox Series X and launching with Xbox Game Pass,including exclusives like The Medium, Scorn, Tetris Effect: Connected, and more.
More than 40 popular games newly optimized to take full advantage of Xbox Series X such as Destiny 2, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Madden NFL 21, and more.
It finishes with another plug for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service, which I along with many others are believing to be the biggest selling aspect to Xbox right now…but is it enough to justify buying the Series X now its flagship title HALO Infinite is now a 2021 title?
The issue with Smart Deliver for free Series X updates for Third Party titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 is that they also confirmed the same free update for those buying for PlayStation 5 if you purchase the titles for your PS4 and if all Third Party games offer the same free new generation update for both consoles then its pretty much the same choice. Hell right now if Sony offer free PS5 updates for PS4 releases such as the recent Last of Us Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima especially then well…it might just be a case of Xbox Game Pass clinching the deal.
COVID-19 has definitely had an impact on this new Console Generation launch but what worries me about the Xbox Series X side, is that so far the big games that have been linked with the launch in Hellblade 2, used when the Series X was revealed back in December 2019 and now HALO Infinite, which the entire Xbox Studio Showcase for the Series X was built around just a few weeks ago are now 2021 titles with now actual date for either.
Both sides in Xbox and PlayStation have been dragging their heels in both announcing a release date for their new consoles but also in pricing and when fans can place a pre-order. I have a real concern that this is going to stretch into September where the issue of stock quantity of new generation consoles might become the next issue COVID-19 has impacted on.
I am finding myself less and less enthusiastic about either launch and if both side keep losing their flagship titles to 2021, this is going be the quietest new console launch in decades. Xbox could be seen as being honest with its core fans about delays and trying to manage expectations of what to expect on Xbox Series X launch day but for me, both Xbox and Sony need to go and look in a mirror, have a talk to themselves and be fully transparent and honest about pricing, actual release date, pre-order and stock issues as well as what fans can expect in terms of launch titles on day one and they need to do this now in August and not drag it out for another month.
All eyes are clearly now on Sony and what they do and say next.