Microsoft teases ray tracing support for Minecraft on the Xbox Series X (update)

Xbox Series X Minecraft Ray Tracing
Xbox Series X Minecraft Ray Tracing (Image credit: Xbox)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Series X is Microsoft's next-generation powerhouse, and they just dropped a ton of information about it.
  • The new info includes specs, performance targets, and the focus on cross-generation compatibility.
  • Microsoft even mentioned Minecraft while talking about the console's capabilities for hardware accelerated ray tracing.
  • While nothing has been confirmed, it seems ray tracing could come to Minecraft on the Series X later on.

Microsoft just dropped a ton of news on the world about the Xbox Series X today, expanding on or confirming what we already knew with new information and specs. Mentioned in Xbox's post about the Xbox Series X is the newfound focus on the power of ray tracing in the next generation, while using Minecraft as a specific technical demo highlighting the benefits of the technology.

We've already gone over ray tracing in Minecraft in detail, but in the past the partnership has been, at least on paper, exclusively with NVIDIA and their RTX GPU cards. This means that only Windows 10 computers running the Bedrock Edition of Minecraft and NVIDIA's best graphics cards were going to benefit. However, Mojang did mention that while the tech was coming to Windows 10 computers first, they were looking into other platforms for future support.

The unique aspect of Minecraft's planned support for ray tracing is that it isn't technically restricted to NVIDIA's graphics cards. Minecraft's Render Dragon engine will implement Microsoft's DXR industry standard API through DirectX 12 to accomplish true ray tracing built into the very foundation of the game, which lays the groundwork for the technology to come to other platforms and hardware in the future. It's a lot of technical jargon that essentially says: Minecraft with ray tracing could come to the Xbox Series X.

Update March 17, 2020: We reached out for Microsoft to comment on the demo, and they offered us this statement: "Austin Evans saw a technical demonstration designed to show off the capabilities of hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing on Xbox Series X. It is not a product announcement." While not a flat out denial that it could come in the future, the Evans demo isn't indicative of any upcoming announcement.

While nothing has been openly confirmed by Microsoft or Mojang yet, the use of Minecraft for their Xbox Series X ray tracing technical demo means that the thought is at least there, and it is a possibility. We've reached out to Microsoft for comment and we'll update this space whenever we get any new information. We'll also be keeping our eyes peeled for more information in the months leading to the Xbox Series X and its epic launch.

Until then, are you wanting to see Minecraft support more of the Series X's truly impressive hardware? Let us know in the comments below!

Xbox Series X/S


Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.