Xbox Series X looks like a PC tower, every Microsoft studio working on exclusives

Surprisingly, Microsoft announced the next Xbox console at The Game Awards. It's called the Xbox Series X, which, sure, is a thing you could name it, and it's releasing late next year.

"Next holiday, Xbox Series X will lead us into the future of console gaming," said Xbox head Phil Spencer. "Our fastest, most powerful Xbox will set a new bar for performance, speed, compatibility."

Microsoft's 15 game studios are developing "the largest and and most creatively-diverse lineup of exclusive games in our history," he added. The first of those to be revealed is Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2.

A couple things strike me. One, it looks nothing like consoles usually do—it's a rectangular tower. It looks like a PC case that could contain a mini-ITX motherboard. Why not just have a compact PC next to your TV? Well, convenience and price, probably, but Microsoft hasn't revealed pricing yet.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The second thing that's noteworthy for us is that Microsoft has committed itself to publishing Xbox exclusives on Windows 10 through its store, and recently even through Steam. That means that the 15 studios working on exclusives should, if Microsoft doesn't change course, release their games on PC—some may be available through the Xbox Game Pass for PC, as well.

As a reminder, here are the Microsoft-owned studios Spencer is referring to:

  • 343 Industries (currently developing Halo Infinite)
  • Compulsion Games (We Happy Few)
  • Double Fine (Psychonauts, Broken Age)
  • inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 3)
  • Mojang (Minecraft)
  • Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice)
  • Obsidian Entertainment (The Outer Worlds)
  • Playground Games (Forza Horizon series)
  • Rare (Sea of Thieves, loads of other games)
  • The Coalition (Gears 5)
  • The Initiative
  • Turn 10 Studios (Forza Motorsport)
  • Undead Labs (State of Decay)
  • World's Edge
  • Xbox Game Studios Publishing

New, more powerful consoles also tend to mean developers start targeting higher specs as the baseline, so if you've got a newer mid-range to high-end system, you can probably look forward to more games optimized for your hardware. (I really need to upgrade my GTX 980, but the old boy has served me so well.)

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.