Phil Spencer 'felt even better' about Xbox Series X after PS5 reveal, still on track for 2020

Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Xbox head Phil Spencer was interviewed by IGN's Ryan McCaffrey recently.
  • Spencer revealed that the Xbox Series X was still on track for Holiday 2020.
  • He also said that he felt great when the Xbox Series X specifications proved to be better than the PlayStation 5.
  • A lot more details like the philosophy behind pricing and Project xCloud were discussed for an hour.

Today, IGN's Ryan McCaffrey released a new "Unlocked" podcast featuring Xbox head Phil Spencer. A lot of new details were revealed, but the biggest news from the interview was the fact that the Xbox Series X is still on track. The supply chain in China is coming back after the coronavirus outbreak ravaged the nation, and console hardware is still on track. If there is any delay, it'll be related to the software, but Spencer doesn't think that's likely.

Spencer was also asked about how he felt when the PlayStation 5 (PS5) specifications were revealed a few days ago. Spencer said that he felt even better. The Xbox Series X has a more powerful CPU and GPU than Sony's machine, as well as other advantages when it comes to generating visuals.

When we saw the public disclosure, I felt even better about the choices that we made on our platform. And I kind of expected that I would. The hardware team...that did... Xbox One X...I have a lot of confidence in them. If I give them the time and the targets to go hit... I just believe in their ability to... create.

Spencer is also confident about the price point the company is targeting for the Xbox Series X, but no new information was revealed. The pricing should be revealed later this summer, as we get closer to launch.

I feel good about the price we'll be able to get to. I feel good about the price and performance capabilities that we have with Xbox Series X. I feel incredibly strong about the overall package... We think it's a winning plan... We're going to make sure we stay agile on our pricing.

The Xbox Series X wants to eliminate loading times on Xbox Series X, and Project xCloud, Microsoft's game streaming service, may play a major role in this. Spencer said that making Project xCloud available on consoles "makes a ton of sense" for playing immediately or testing out various games, but the best experience will still be on local hardware, especially when it comes to input lag.

McCaffrey also asked Spencer about the controversial decision to remove the optical audio port. Microsoft discussed the removal with companies like Astro early, and is working with them to enable existing devices through USB. Many people didn't use the optical audio port so it would've just made the console more expensive.

Xbox Series X/S

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

44 Comments
  • What a joke to say optical port would make the console more expensive, they only think about the money they will make and they have absolutely no care for the millions of people that use it, The trend is to make things last!! They just act the same as countries not keeping enough mask and respirators for people because of cost. money money just money. Buy buy buy those people are crazy..... Optical audio with DTS and Dolby 5.1 7.1 is more than enough for most people, not everyone is living in San Francisco, so out of touch.....
  • I think he was very candid. It makes minimal difference on one console, in terms of bill of materials, but when you sell 50 million, that could mean £100 million of expense over the life of the studio. Probably works out cheaper for MS to buy, for the ones that used it, a USB adapter or something similar. He was pretty clear, it is not a widely used feature. He also did mention that they were working on some USB solutions, which likely includes to make any current accessories work. I'd suspect that for 99% of people that buy a Series X, will have a decent TV with optical out.
  • Users are paying the price, not Microsoft, optical implementation on millions of consoles would cost marginally few cents, less than a dollar for sure. Ok they cost ditch it after 1 or 2 years and create an incentive for people to buy those consoles sooner than later...
    Can't wait to see what Sony has to offer, not sure I wil go for Sony anyway :( ....
  • Stripping out a feature later is fraught with its own, anti consumer, issues. They'll likely be an adapter.
  • What is your use case exactly? All modern TVs have sound come through HDMI and so do most modern surround and sound bars. And most modern TVs still have spdf too. So I'm having trouble seeing who all these people are that will struggle with no digital audio out
  • They are whiners who are stuck in the past.
  • Wow, that might be the falsest equivalency ever... Also, what's living in San Francisco got to do with anything? Doesn't your TV have an optical port you can use?
  • HDMI 1.4 output only support "Stereo uncompressed" so I would be sending stereo 2.0 to my DTS THX 5.1 installation, the reference to San Francisco is just because real estate are so crazy there, but Seattle must be in the close range, also US is having very cheap prices on latest tech equipment, so they can change their equipment which just goes to garbage after 2 or 3 years maybe
    Only to say consoles are not only used on latest tech Tvs and receivers in the living room, that's a fact and no optical output is just annoying for people who use it, if you don't use it of course you see no use to it.
    I really don't believe his assumption that it is barely used, that's just to justify their decision, that could be called trumping !!!
  • You're off with your thinking. You do realise that they know exactly how many use it, don't you? They have the telemetry, and know exactly, there is no assumption, none at all. I genuinely feel your pain, it'd annoy me. But, I suspect that most buying the X, will want to run it through a TV with more than HDMI 1.4 in. That woul be the only assumption, actual current use is well known.
  • They will say not many use it because they made there decision, I bet there is millions using it anyway, lots of people play on gaming monitor (display port and no audio for example) and use optical, if Microsoft make an HDMI 2.1 audio extractor then ok, I bet they won't Yet there is no HDMI audio extractor on the market with Hdmi 2.1 and passthrough, there is no HDMI 2.1 receivers yet aswellnot until next year. Concerning tvs only LG has real HDMI 2.1 full compliance, and Full HDMI 2.1 compliance is the thing everyone needs with Xbox Series X. So a bit too soon to ditch my great HDMI 1.4 Panasonic tv. They should not push people to throw there equipment...
  • I've got an LG C9... Feelsgoodman. I don't know if I'll buy the new Xbox though lol.
  • No storage cards available for it either, yet. Seriously, they have the data. If 100% used it, it'd be in. They are not pushing you anywhere, you're trying to push them to include a feature that barely anyone uses, lol. So a tiny percentage use it, and of that tiny percent, many will have a workaround. 50% of not many is still... Not many.do you think Sony will have one?
  • Sorry to burst your bubble but Samsung also has full HDMI 2.1 in their 2020 TVs do a t in the q90 and there 8K TVs it's only one port but they do have a 2.1 HDMI port that is in full compliance
  • Besides optical itself, the vast majority of users don't have aTHX 5.1 setup or any 5.1 setup at all... I'm pretty sure hdmi 1.4 does suppor multichannel audio and may actually have more audio bandwidth than optical. But the bottom line is that you'll always have trouble using older technology with stuff that's new. You may as well be complaining that you can't find an RTX 2080 that will fit into an AGP motherboard or connect to a VGA monitor... Just as a personal use case, I've never used the optical port on a console, nor has anyone i know.
  • What Tv or display and how have you connected your gear up currently? most recent Tvs of the last 10 or so years have optical digital out and pass through, so say basic connection would be for example, Xbox one, Xbox One X, hdmi connection directly to the Tv, then optical cable from the tv to a old school receiver or pre amp, this way you should be able to receive at least Dolby Digital or DTS and most games and movies will be in 5.1 at the highest possible bitrate of 640 kbit/s for the codec on Dolby Digital for example, it helps to know exactly what gear you have to help any further.
  • There's your problem you have an old TV you might need to upgrade your TV especially if you're going to get the new Xbox. Newer TVs have HDMI 2.0 which does do stereo uncompressed as well as 5.1 and 7.1 Anna Dolby Atmos which optical cannot do. So if you have an old TV that has HDMI 1.4 then you need a new TV my TV has HDMI 2.0 I am playing a game on a new Samsung 55q80t chazin HDMI 2.1 port. So your problem is you need a new TV or you could just use the optical Port on your TV
  • @lephilou: HDMI 1.4 can carry 8 channels (7.1) of uncompressed audio, even HDMI 1.0 can do it as well.
  • Well maybe on a 5.1 receiver but my tv with HDMI 1.4 ARC doesn't want it whatever I try and I tried everything possible, my One X doesn't want too and gives me a 0x80bd0009 error when I select HDMI 5.1 uncompressed It might be a problem with Panasonic, the picture is amazing on their tvs but the audio and their customer support was always nearly non existent
  • "They just act the same as countries not keeping enough mask and respirators for people because of cost." I know, right? I can't believe that they would put your life at risk by omitting a port just for money.
  • Line I said, falsest equivalence ever lol.
  • I said that because the assumption they will save 100 millons dollars by ditching optical is wrong, they will make just as much money because anyway you pay for all the tech they put. On the scale the optical port will cost cents, not more than a dollar.
    100 millions on 6 or 7 years of console cycle is nothing for their business, they sell at least a hundred billion of Xbox products each year, revenues over 10 billions per year, the trend is too keep, not waste
    This is just like ditching the 3.5mm audio output on mobile phones or batteries you can't change by yourself!!
    They treat people like goats, don't follow the group buddy, don't accept those bs, they are bs
    And concerning masks, don't be a first degree fool...
  • And those phones... Work with adapters for you 3.5mm headphones.
  • So you think you are clever insulting others who don't meet your pov on internet, wow what a man looooooool
  • Insults and terrible spelling and grammar aside, they did have a fair point...
  • Excellent point. Too many crybabies are stuck in the past and or can't afford newer better technology.
  • hey hello troll
  • Have you checked out the news about the Microsoft Editor?
  • Karl, drop the mike!
  • I don't understand the hate for the no optical port. It has no priority over lets say HDMI.. That by default outputs higher resolution audio formats when setting it up right. Smh. And the Series X has 2.1, optical port audio doesn't even come close to that.
  • Well it's called flexibility, they can do it and it would not be expensive at all, would just be consumer friendly and practical Also apart from Blurays you don't find much source using DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD, Netflix has few Dolby Atmos source but it is backward compatible anyway as it is just an extension to existing audio codec. Not everyone has the equipment to see the benefit of it, most users play with headphones, not the latest 2.1 receivers which are not even sold until next year...... If you listen to a real DTS audio source with the right equipment it is already amazing,
    most important is 3d audio right now on headphones and existing equipment as Sony also said.
    If Sony has an optical output then they will be closer to people's need, those console are sold all around the world no??
  • MS will likely have a USB option, would that do?
  • Well I guess it would of course, dunno if they will bother to... 2020 is not going to be the best year to sell a new console I guess but they sell lots right now...
  • You do realize that you can use your TV's optical Port because all the sound is being pulled from the Xbox through the HDMI cable
  • He's probably still using a crt tv by the sounds of it. Along with a fax machine, flip phone and dial-up internet.
  • yes of course troll, you are so clever and your pov is breathtaking
  • I'm more disappointed about the lack of HDMI in.
  • "want to make sure we stay agile", meaning they may meet or beat PS5 price point.
  • A lot is made about his previous statement: "we won't be beaten on price or performance". For me, I think a lot of people have assumed it meant the Series X. I don't, I think they will honour the statement by having two consoles, the X will be the power element of the statement, and Lockhart would be the price element. Spencer even mentioned that they are confident in the Xbox All Access program, and likened the purchase to a mobile phone, which is often funded across 24 months. I don't think the Series X will come in below the PS5, I think his "agility" reference was in regard to them not letting Sony get more than £50 lower. He also hinted, towards the last 10mins, about it being a high price.
  • One last point, the interview was superb. Some top class questions.
  • Read the title, bit I didn't interpret it that way in the interview. I assumed he was just happy with their disclosure and they widely positive response. I may need to watch it again. Hope it isn't too far in, lol!
  • It's 11:34 in. Thanks to the guy on YouTube that detailed the times!
  • I was wrong, he does allude to the PS5.
  • To be honest everyone knew after watching thr Sony reveal Xbox had the hardware in the bag. Digital Foundry have also today put a new video up addressing some misconceptions of the PS5 as well. Explain how the variable clock rate really works on PS5 and that less CUs with higher clock rates is absolutely not better than more CUs and lower clock rate. Even demoing a GPU with 40CUs against a GPU with 36CUs both with the same TFLOPS count. And the 40 CUs had a 3-4 frame edge over the 36CUs. This will be even more amplified with 52CUs vs 36CUs. As Sony gets deminishing returns as they boost the clock rate. Exactly what tech heads have been saying since they saw the reveal and Marks comments the other way. Which leads me to believe the PS5 GPU originally was 9.2 TFLOPS. And they boosted it to get closer to the Series X. But as we all know boosting that frequency isn't going to give them the same performance as if they had 42 CUs at a lower frequency to get to 10.28tflops. So the GPU gap is bigger than the 2tflops it appears. As you boost the frequency the return in real world performance deminishes. Mark Cerny wasn't correct with what he said. And Digital Foundry were able to put that to the test. https://youtu.be/KfM_nTTxftE
  • Yes it's what we thought, a boost mode which overclocks between the CPU and GPU until it uses too much power or overheats. How this has been sold as 10.3 tf is astounding as is the way PS fans have eaten it up no questions asked.