What you need to know
- Phil Spencer, executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, has provided additional context around the removal of HDMI-in, SPDIF optical audio, and the IR blaster with Xbox Series X.
- Spencer attributes the decision to low usage, alongside efforts to streamline the design and cost.
Xbox Series X introduces countless advancements over the Xbox One family, on track for a release this holiday, kickstarting Microsoft's next-generation gaming plans. But its arrival also removes some hardware features commonplace across existing consoles, including the HDMI-in port, SPDIF optical audio, and IR blaster. While primarily remnants of Microsoft's early ambitions for Xbox One, positioned as a media hub, their removal hasn't gone unnoticed.
Executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, has provided additional insight into the decision to remove the trio, discussing how their absence aids the form factor while keeping down per-unit cost. Spencer's response comes via IGN's Unlocked podcast, when the discussion shifted toward the removal of the optical port, and its implications for optical-based accessories, like Astro headsets.
"The optical audio port — we had a conversation with headset manufacturers before all of this," said Spencer. It comes after Astro already confirmed plans to introduce USB compatibility via an update, working with Microsoft to overcome the removal of optical audio. "So, when we stood up and said your accessories are going to work, we weren't walking a tightrope there. We'd already had the conversations. We saw so much of the energies going into so many of the codecs, delivering those over either HDMI or USB."
"We also frankly know how many people use it today on the console. We also do the math of, we have to put a part in every console that x-per cent of the people use. Is there a better place for us to spend that money if we can support it in a different way?"
Spencer explains how a similar philosophy led to the removal of HDMI-in, previously used as HDMI passthrough for cable boxes, and the IR blaster for select accessories. With both heavily centered around Microsoft's former TV and general entertainment focus for Xbox One, it appears usage failed to justify its inclusion for the next generation.
"The decision about HDMI-in, decisions about the Kinect port, decisions about IR blaster on the front — all of these decisions are things that we think through very deeply and try to figure out where the plans are. And I know with everything that we don't do, that we used to do, there is going to be somebody who's disappointed. It's not the funnest part of the job, but I think we have to plan for the future."
Xbox Series X is currently set to launch holiday 2020, with pricing and release dates to come.
Benchmarking the new Surface Book 3 15 with GTX 1660 Ti and 10th Gen i7
Although it's too early for a review, here are some initial benchmarks from the new Surface Book 3 15-inch with a Core i7 and NVIDIA GeForce 1660 Ti (Max-Q) and how it compares to Surface Book 2 and other premium laptops. Spoiler: While the CPU is just OK, that 1660 Ti definitely bumps up the Book 3's potential.
Review: Sabrent's Rocket Q SSDs are fast, well-priced and go up to 4TB
Sabrent has a new SSD range available in the form of the Rocket Q. These new NVMe SSDs use QLC NAND, but offer impressive speeds and storage capacities at affordable prices. Check our full review to see how they compare against other SSDs.
Review: How do I go back to Wi-Fi 5 after using TP-Link's Archer AX6000?
TP-Link's Archer AX6000 is an 802.11ax router designed to take your network into the future. However, it might not be exactly what you're looking for due to its high-end specs and relatively high price. We explain in this review.
Give your sim racing game a lift with one of these great sets of pedals
A good set of pedals is a crucial part of any sim racing setup, and thankfully you don't have to spend a small fortune to get something special. Whether you're a beginner, more advanced, looking to spend a little or money is no object, there's a set of pedals that's right for you.