Xbox Series X and Series S
Xbox Series X
Also known as    
    Project Scarlett
    Project Anaconda
    Project Lockhart (codenames)

Developer    Microsoft
Product family    Xbox
Type    Home video game console
Release date    November 10, 2020
Introductory price    Series X / Series S:
US$499 / US$299
GB£449 / GB£249
€499 / €299
A$749 / A$499
Media    Series X: Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, CD, Digital distribution
Series S: Digital distribution
CPU    Custom AMD 8-core Zen 2;
Series X: 3.8 GHz, 3.6 GHz with SMT
Series S: 3.6 GHz, 3.4 GHz with SMT
Memory    GDDR6 SDRAM;
Series X: 16 GB
Series S: 10 GB
Storage    Custom NVMe SSD;
Series X: 1 TB
Series S: 512 GB
Removable storage    Storage Expansion Card (up to 2 TB)
Display    All models: 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 4K
Series X: 8K
Graphics    Custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2 architecture;
Series X: 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
Series S: 20 CUs @ 1.565 GHz

    Custom Project Acoustics 3D Audio
    Dolby Atmos
    7.1 surround sound

Controller input    Xbox Wireless Controller (2020 revision and all previous revisions), plus all previously released Xbox One-compatible controllers and accessories (except Kinect)

    Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac
    Gigabit Ethernet
    3x USB 3.2 Gen 1x1
    HDMI 2.1

Current firmware    10.0.19041.5481
Online services    Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass
Dimensions    Series X: 15.1 cm × 15.1 cm × 30.1 cm (5.9 in × 5.9 in × 11.9 in)
Series S: 15.1 cm × 6.5 cm × 27.5 cm (5.9 in × 2.6 in × 11 in)
Mass    Series X: 9.8 pounds (4.4 kg)
Series S: 4.25 pounds (1.93 kg)
compatibility    All Xbox One games[a] and select Xbox 360 and original Xbox games
Predecessor    Xbox One

The Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S (collectively, the Xbox Series X/S[b]) are home video game consoles developed by Microsoft. They were both released on November 10, 2020 as the fourth generation of the Xbox console family, succeeding the Xbox One family.

Rumors regarding the consoles first emerged in early 2019, with the line as a whole codenamed "Scarlett", and consisting of high-end and lower-end models codenamed "Anaconda" and "Lockhart" respectively. Internally, Microsoft had been satisfied with the two-console approach for the Xbox One, and planned a similar approach for the fourth generation Xbox, with the target for the high-end model to at least double the performance of the Xbox One X. The high-end model was first teased during E3 2019 under the title "Project Scarlett", while its name and design as Xbox Series X was unveiled during The Game Awards later in December. In September 2020, Microsoft unveiled the lower-end model as the Xbox Series S.

The Xbox Series X has higher end hardware, and supports higher display resolutions (up to 8K resolution) along with higher frame rates and real-time ray tracing; it also has a high-speed solid-state drive to reduce loading times. The less expensive Xbox Series S uses the same CPU, but has a less powerful GPU, has less memory and internal storage, and lacks an optical drive. Both consoles are backwards compatible with many previous generation Xbox games, controllers, and accessories. As part of a program Microsoft calls "Smart Delivery", many previous generation games feature upgraded graphics on the Series X/S at no additional charge. The consoles are also compatible with the gaming subscription service Xbox Game Pass, as well as the cloud game-streaming platform Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming.

Initial unveiling and launch

Industry rumors of new Xbox hardware had started as early as June 2018, with Microsoft's Phil Spencer confirming they were "deep into architecturing the next Xbox consoles" at that time.[4] The hardware was believed to be a family of devices under the codename "Scarlett", including a low-cost version, with major emphasis on game streaming and backward compatibility. By March 2019, further industry rumors had led to speculation of two consoles under the Scarlett family under codenames "Anaconda" and the low-cost "Lockhart" version.

Microsoft confirmed Project Scarlett at its E3 2019 press conference. Microsoft said they wanted a "soft" transition from Xbox One to Scarlett, with Scarlett supporting backward compatibility with all games and most hardware supported on the Xbox One. During a presentation at The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft officially revealed the design of Scarlett and its branding, "Xbox Series X", as well as a late-2020 release date. Following the event, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that Xbox Series X constituted an entry in a fourth generation of Xbox hardware, which will be branded simply as "Xbox" with no subtitle.

Microsoft planned to go into detail into the hardware specifications and launch games for the Series X at both the 2020 Game Developers Conference (GDC) and E3 2020, but both events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft scheduled online presentations over the same planned days in March 2020, while the company will schedule its planned E3 presentation at a later time. Detailed specifications were presented by Microsoft, Digital Foundry and Austin Evans of Overclock Media on March 16, 2020. Starting in May and running until launch, Microsoft planned to have additional digital events around the Xbox Series X and its games as part of an "Xbox 20/20" series. This included an Xbox Games Showcase on July 23, 2020, featuring games principally from its first-party Xbox Game Studios.

On July 16, 2020, Microsoft announced that it had ended production of the Xbox One X and all-digital version of the Xbox One S in preparation for the new products.

The existence of the Xbox Series S had been speculated prior to the E3 2019 reveal based on a "Project Lockhart" that accompanied Scarlett, a second lower-end console. Confirmation of the Xbox Series S naming was affirmed through early Xbox hardware accessories that some had been able to purchase. Microsoft officially announced the Series S console on September 8, 2020, revealing that it would also be released alongside the Series X in November 2020. Microsoft pointed out that the Series S had been discretely placed in the background of previous Xbox announcement videos featuring Phil Spencer during July 2020.

When Microsoft's Xbox team started work on the successor to the Xbox One consoles around 2016, they had already envisioned the need to have two console versions similar to their Xbox One X and Xbox One S models to meet the needs of different markets. By developing both units in concert, they would be able to make sure games developed would be able to be played on both systems without exception. As has been tradition with past Xbox projects, the consoles were given code names based on cities. The Xbox Series S was named Project Lockhart, based on the city of Lockhart, Texas, which Alan Greenberg said was known as "the little city with the big heart".

For the high end target, the Xbox Series X, their primary goal was to at least double the graphical performance of the Xbox One X as measured by its floating point operations per second (FLOPS), and increasing CPU performance four-fold compared to Xbox One X while maintaining the same acoustic performance from the Xbox One consoles. As the engineers collected power requirements to meet these specifications, they saw these parts would draw a large amount of internal power (approximately 315 W) and would generate a significant amount of heat.

This led to the decision to split the components onto two separate circuit boards; one housing the CPU/GPU, memory, and power regulators, and a second board to act as a Southbridge board for slower input/output (I/O) functions. The boards mounted on opposite sides of an aluminum chassis helped to create air channels for cooling. The remaining components - the heat sink, the electric shielding, the power supply, the optical drive, and the cooling fan were then arranged in a Tetris-like fashion, according to principal designer Chris Kujawski, to achieve a compact form factor, resulting in the tower-like structure.[28] To meet the acoustics factor, the system includes numerous sensors for controlling the speed of the fan, and the large open top was necessary to assure good air flow through the system.[28] While certain elements like the optical drive, air flow requirements, and heat sink size fixed certain dimensions in the overall form factor, they were satisfied they were able to end up with a square footprint for the unit.
Xbox Series X

Xbox head Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft was prioritizing high frame rates and faster load times as a priority over higher resolutions, which the Series X achieves via the better-matched capabilities of the CPU and GPU.

The Xbox Series X is powered by a custom 7 nm AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores running at a nominal 3.8 GHz, or when simultaneous multithreading (SMT) is used, at 3.6 GHz. One CPU core is dedicated to the underlying operating system. The graphics processing unit is also a custom unit based on AMD's RDNA 2 graphics architecture. It has a total of 56 compute units (CUs) with 3584 cores, with 52 CUs and 3328 cores enabled, and will be running at a fixed 1.825 GHz. This unit is capable of 12 teraflops of computational power. The unit ships with 16GB of GDDR6 SDRAM, with 10GB running at 560GB/s primarily to be used with the graphics system and the other 6GB at 336GB/s to be used for the other computing functions. After accounting for the system software, approximately 13.5GB of memory will be available for games and other applications, with the system software only drawing from the slower pool. The Xbox Series X target performance is to render games at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, with the console being about four times as powerful as the Xbox One X. The Series X can support up to 120 frames per second, and can render up to 8K resolution.

The Xbox Series X's console form is designed to be unobtrusive and minimalistic. It has a 15.1 cm × 15.1 cm (5.9 in × 5.9 in) footprint and is 30.1 cm (11.9 in) high and weighs 4.45 kg (9.8 lb); while configured in this vertical orientation, the unit can also be used on its side. Its forward-facing features present only the main power button and an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive.[15] The top of the unit is a single powerful fan. Spencer stated that the console is as quiet as Xbox One X. The Series X includes an HDMI 2.1 output, the storage expansion slot, three USB 3.2 ports, and an ethernet port.The console does not include an infrared blaster or HDMI pass-through like the Xbox One line, supporting HDMI-CEC instead. An earlier leak had suggested a TOSLINK port for digital audio, but this was eliminated in the final design. However, the console still has an IR receiver integrated into its controller pairing button next to the front USB port.
Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series S is comparable in its hardware to the Xbox Series X, similar to how the Xbox One S relates to the Xbox One X, but has less processing power. While it runs the same CPU with slightly slower clock frequencies, it uses a slower GPU, a custom RDNA2 with 20 CUs at 1.55 GHz for 4 TFLOPS, compared to 12 TFLOPS of the Series X. It ships with 10 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD storage unit with a raw input/output throughput of 2.4GB/s, and does not include any optical disc drive, thus requiring the user to gain all software from digital distribution. It is intended to render games nominally at 1440p, with support for a 4K upscaler, at 60 frames per second, although it can go as high at 120 frames per second at this resolution. Selected games can support native 4K resolution output on the Series S, such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Otherwise, the console has the same functions as the Xbox Series X, including ports, expansions, and game support.

Microsoft designed the Series S to easily fit inside of a small bag or backpack for portability and travel usage. The Series S unit is about 60% smaller by volume than the Series X, measuring 275 by 151 by 63.5 millimetres (10.83 in × 5.94 in × 2.50 in) in its vertical orientation. In this orientation, its large side surface features the major exhaust port for active air cooling, similar to the top surface of the Series X; additional vents are then located on the top of the Series S. Like the Series X, the front of the Series S features one USB port and a controller pairing button with an integrated IR receiver. The rear of the console includes the power connector, one HDMI port, two additional USB ports, and an Ethernet port. Like the Series X, the Series S can also be placed horizontally with the exhaust port facing upward to maintain airflow. The Series S will launch in a matte white case along with a matching controller, distinguishing it from the matte black that the Series X will use.
Common features
Storage architecture
The Xbox Velocity Architecture logo

Both consoles use a new storage solution, the Xbox Velocity Architecture, that includes hardware and software components to improve transfer speeds within the console, reduce the size of digital downloads, and give developers more flexibility. Central to this is the internal storage, a custom NVM Express (NVMe) SSD. On the Series X, this is a 1 TB SSD (802 GB available) with a raw input/output throughput of 2.4 GB/s. An on-board compression/decompression block includes both the industry standard zlib decompression algorithm and a proprietary BCPack algorithm geared for game textures, and gives a combined throughput as high as 4.8 GB/s. Within the software, a new DirectStorage API within DirectX allows developers to fine-tune priority to input/output aspects with other processing threads. The software provides sampler feedback streaming that aids in loading multiple textures in segments to deal with level of detail rendering rather than having to read these textures as a whole before using them. The Series S will include a 512 GB SSD (364 GB available) with similar custom hardware and software specifications.[35] All SSD storage on the architecture uses PCI Express 4.0.

Developers at The Coalition found that without any changes to their code, Gears 5 loaded four times faster on Xbox Series X than Xbox One X due to the higher throughput on memory and storage, and would be able to increase this further once they incorporated the new DirectStorage API routines.

The consoles will support external storage through a proprietary SSD expansion card inserted into the back of the console, which will be manufactured exclusively by Seagate Technology on launch and limited to a 1 TB size, though a 2 TB version is planned later. As with Xbox One, the consoles will also support external USB storage, but only backward compatible games (which can also be transferred directly from an Xbox One console) will be able to run directly from external USB storage. Xbox Series S and Series X-native games must be stored on the internal SSD or an expansion card in order to be played, but can be moved to a USB storage device to save disk space for other games..
Video and audio rendering technologies

Both the Series X and Series S support real-time ray-tracing and support the new features of the HDMI 2.1 standard including variable refresh rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) that are currently being incorporated into newer televisions. The console will have dedicated audio hardware acceleration. A feature called "audio ray tracing" will use the graphics ray tracing processors to process spatial audio in the same manner to improve the audio immersion for the player.

Another goal for Microsoft is reducing the effects of input latency to improve responsiveness, adding support for HDMI 2.1 Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate features, and "dynamic latency input" technology—a new input pathway that allows developers to incorporate potential controller lag into their games.

Both consoles support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies.

The following table is a comparison of the major components of the fourth generation of Xbox consoles.
Component     Series X[30]     Series S[52]
Processors     CPU     Custom Zen 2
8 Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz with SMT)     Custom Zen 2
8 Cores @ 3.6 GHz (3.4 GHz with SMT)
GPU     Custom RDNA 2
52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz
12 TFLOPS     Custom RDNA 2
20 CUs @ 1.565 GHz
Memory     16 GB GDDR6 with 320-bit bus
10 GB @ 560 GB/s, 6 GB @ 336 GB/s     10 GB GDDR6 with 128-bit bus
8 GB @ 224 GB/s, 2 GB @ 56 GB/s
Storage     Internal     1 TB PCIe Gen 4 custom NVMe SSD
2.4 GB/s raw, 4.8 GB/s compressed     512 GB PCIe Gen 4 custom NVMe SSD
2.4 GB/s raw, 4.8 GB/s compressed
Expandable     1-2 TB expansion card (rear)
External     USB 3.1 external HDD support
Optical drive     Ultra HD Blu-ray     None
Performance target     4K resolution at 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS     1440p at 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS
Dimensions     Size     301 mm × 151 mm × 151 mm
(12 in × 5.9 in × 5.9 in)     275 mm × 151 mm × 65 mm
(11 in × 5.9 in × 2.6 in)
Weight     9.8 pounds (4.4 kg)     4.25 pounds (1.93 kg)
Model     1882     1883/1881
Price     US$499/€499/£449/A$749     US$299/€299/£249/A$499
Controller and accessories
Front view of the Xbox Series X and Series S wireless controller, showing the additional share button and revised cosmetics.
Model 1914 controller in 'Shock Blue', with share button approximately in the middle of the controller face.
See also: Xbox Wireless Controller § 2020 revision

Both the Series X and Series S ship with an updated version of the wireless Xbox One controller, which was aimed to be more ergonomic to fit a larger range of hand sizes. They include all the same key buttons as the past controllers: two analog joysticks that can be depressed, a circle pad, four action buttons, two system buttons ("View" and "Menu"), the main Xbox home button, two grip triggers (left and right) and two shoulder buttons (left and right). The new controller adds a "Share" button alongside the "View" and "Menu" buttons, which is used to record and share video clips or screenshots of gameplay. The user will be able to take a screenshot with a single press of the Share button, while holding down the Share button will start to record gameplay, and after either, can be shared to social media or their Xbox game feed.

Microsoft found that by aiming the size to fit an eight-year-old's hands, they were able to make the design fit a larger section of the population, and thus features more sculpted grips, and reducing and rounding the trigger buttons. The D-pad is a new concave design that senior console designer Ryan Whitaker said was a means to merge the normal D-pad style on the standard Xbox One controller and the version on the Elite variant to accommodate a range of playstyles. Small tactile dot patterns have been added to the buttons to help players orient fingers on the controls. The controller will continue to use two AA batteries, though a rechargeable battery pack will be available as an accessory. Microsoft found from focus group studies that players were split nearly 50/50 on the use of batteries versus recharging and thus gave the controller the option to use either.

The controller uses the same wireless protocol introduced by the Xbox One, and is backward compatible with existing Xbox One consoles. Existing Xbox One controllers will also be compatible with Xbox Series X.The new controller also supports the Bluetooth Low Energy standard allowing it to pair with mobile devices and other hardware supporting that standard, and will have internal storage to remember those connections.[53] The new controller uses a standard USB-C charging port for its battery.

Spencer said that the Xbox Series X will likely not have immediate virtual reality (VR) support at launch, and that they expect that any VR support will be based on the Windows Mixed Reality components contained within the console's Windows 10 components, but was otherwise not a focus of the console's development prior to release.
System software and features
See also: Xbox One system software

Both consoles feature a similar user interface (UI) to the Xbox One, but there has been a 40% reduction in memory use to improve its speed. According to the UI development team, the Home section loads in about half the time as it did on the Xbox One. Other changes include adding rounded UI elements, a more-readable font for text elements, rearrangement of certain aligned features, and improvements to the sharing functions. These changes were brought to the Xbox One system software, the Windows' Xbox application, and the Xbox mobile application around September 2020.Based on system previews, about 200 GB of space was reserved on the internal drive of the Xbox Series X for system files.

The console's Quick Resume feature will allow users to suspend and resume more than one game at a time, and also resume suspended games after a reboot of the console.

Several video and streaming media services will be available through the system software on the consoles' launch; notably, it will be the first time that Apple TV will be available on Xbox consoles.

The console will leverage the game subscription service Xbox Game Pass, giving users unlimited access to hundreds of downloadable games for a monthly fee. As with the Xbox One, all first-party and select third-party games will appear on the service upon release. As part of the service, users will be able to stream games remotely from their console onto a supported mobile device via Microsoft's cloud game-streaming platform xCloud. This will be available at no extra cost to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

Microsoft plans to migrate the xCloud service from Xbox One S-based blade servers to Xbox Series X-based systems by 2021.
Main article: List of Xbox Series X and Series S games
The "Optimized for Series X" and "Smart Delivery" logos

Developers are able to optimize existing and newly released Xbox One games to take advantage of Xbox Series X technologies, with higher graphics throughput and faster frame rates, ray tracing, and support for the console's storage architecture. These games will be marketed with an "Optimized for Series X" logo.[64][65][66] Microsoft is offering a distribution framework known as "Smart Delivery" that will automatically download optimized versions of Xbox One games for the console when available; Microsoft has positioned this feature at publishers who plan to release Series X-specific versions of games after releasing on Xbox One, and to users migrating from an existing Xbox One to Series X.

Microsoft is not restricting the ability for developers to release games that are exclusive to Xbox Series X. The company is preferring a "soft" transition more in line with PC gaming, where developers can target optimal play on high-end hardware (such as Series X), but still allow the game to be played with reduced fidelity on lower-end hardware (such as older Xbox One consoles). Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty stated that Microsoft wanted to ensure that those who buy Xbox One consoles prior to the Series X launch would still "feel that they made a good investment and that we're committed to them with content". Spencer explained that this approach was about putting the player at the center rather than the console, and not "forcing" users to migrate. According to Spencer, this concept is enabled in part by many of the Xbox Game Studios subsidiaries having familiarity with developing also on personal computers, where there is a wide range of hardware targets to meet. The same approach in personal computer game development was taken to make Xbox Series X games that could scale down to perform well on the Xbox One consoles while still taking advantage of the new hardware.

Initially, Spencer suggested that their first-party studios' games would support both Xbox One and Xbox Series X platforms for the "next couple of years", but journalists observed that some of the first-party games introduced in the Xbox Game Showcase in July 2020 omitted mention of the Xbox One, and their websites later updated to omit mention of the Xbox One. While none of these games were believed to be launch titles, they were expected to be released within the window Spencer had previously suggested. This led to Aaron Greenberg, general manager of Xbox Games Marketing, to clarify that these games were being developed for the Xbox Series X first, leaving the choice of adding Xbox One support to their development studios as they went forward.

Microsoft has not placed any similar requirements on a soft transition on third party developers and publishers, allowing them to offer Xbox Series X exclusives or other routes to upgrade from the Xbox One edition of a game, though Video Games Chronicle reported that Microsoft had urged publishers to keep the upgrade path free if they took that option. CD Projekt RED and Ubisoft have committed to using Smart Delivery for their upcoming releases. Electronic Arts affirmed for at least one game, Madden NFL 21, it will offer a free update patch from the Xbox One version to the Xbox Series X version prior to the release of the next Madden NFL game.
Backward compatibility
Main articles: List of Xbox One games, List of Xbox One X enhanced games, and List of backward-compatible games for Xbox One

Microsoft has stated that Xbox Series X and Series S would support all games playable on Xbox One (excluding those that require the Kinect sensor), including Xbox 360 and original Xbox console games currently supported through backward compatibility on the Xbox One, thus allowing the console to support four generations of games. To achieve this level of compatibility, Microsoft announced they would no longer be bringing any additional Xbox 360 or original Xbox games into the Xbox One backward compatibility program in June 2019, and instead using their manpower to make sure these older games were playable on the Xbox Series X. Backward compatibility is a launch feature, with Microsoft having put more than 500,000 man-hours in validating thousands of games from the supported Xbox One library; Spencer said in December 2019 that he himself had been helping to test backward compatibility games. As Microsoft neared launch, they reopened the means for players to suggest additional games to add to backward compatibility, stating "Resurrecting titles from history often presents a complex mix of technical and licensing challenges, but the team is committed to doing everything we can to continue to preserve our collective gaming legacy."

It is possible for advanced graphic processes options not originally programmed into these older games to be worked into the game when played on the console, such as automated High-dynamic-range rendering (HDR) support using machine learning, framerate doubling, 16x anisotropic filtering, and resolution upscale. Work done by the Xbox Advanced Technology Group prior to launch was focused on how far into the backward-compatibility library they could take these improvements including into original Xbox games, adding in features like HDR or improving the framerate of games that may have been programmed to be locked at a specific framerate. Backward compatible games are supported under the Quick Resume feature as well. Cloud saves can be used to migrate from Xbox One, and Microsoft stated that it would also add free cloud saves to the Xbox 360 so it can be migrated to a Series S/X console as well.

Xbox Series S can play Xbox One games with improved performance, texture filtering, and auto HDR support, but does not support Xbox One X-specific enhancements. Microsoft is providing development tools for developers to check the performance of their Xbox One games on the Series X and S consoles, which can suggest optimizations "as easy as changing three lines of code" to support the improvements in backward compatibility.
Release and promotion

In March 2020, Microsoft stated that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they expected the Xbox Series X to ship by the end of 2020, though they were monitoring supply chains and the safety of their workers.[88] Then, Spencer believed that while the hardware will continue to ship on time, games poised for the release window of Xbox Series X may be delayed due to the pandemic. By August 2020, Microsoft committed to a November 2020 release window for the Xbox Series X, affirming the console's release was still on track.

Both the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles launched on November 10, 2020, with the Series X priced at US$499, GB£449, and €499 and the Series S priced at US$299, GB£249, and €299. Microsoft has affirmed that 31 games will be available at launch, including those from its Xbox Game Studios and from other third-party publishers, in addition to those from its Xbox One backwards compatibility. While Halo Infinite had been planned as a launch title when the Series X console was first revealed, Microsoft and 343 Industries opted to delay its release until after the console's launch due to production issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft will continue its Xbox All-Access financing plans (which bundle the hardware, Xbox Live Gold, and Xbox Game Pass as part of a monthly payment plan) for Series X. Current All Access plans with the Xbox One will include routes to upgrade to the Xbox Series X, and Spencer states that there will be similar upgrades from the Xbox Series X in the future. The All-Access option for the Xbox Series X option will be based on a 24-month plan at US$35 per month while the Series S will be based on a US$25 per month plan.

On reveal of the Xbox Series X's vertical form factor, a popular Internet meme compared the design to a mini refrigerator. In the lead-up to the console's release, Microsoft manufactured a limited number of refrigerators modeled after the Xbox Series X exterior, complete with a disk drive handle, green interior ambient lighting and the Xbox startup sound. Some were distributed to celebrities like Snoop Dogg and iJustine and others offered as part of promotional contests.

At launch, critics praised the new console hardware and commented positively on its improved graphics, reduction of loading times, and strong backward compatibility support, but due to the lack of any console exclusives, remained hesitant of the console's true power. Because of this, many did not feel these consoles represented the next generation of home consoles at launch. The lack of significant launch-day exclusive titles designed to show off the new hardware capabilities, as well as the familiar controller shape and User Interface, was considered by some to be disappointing given the next-generation focus of Sony's PlayStation 5. The Series X was generally considered the better unit, as the computation and space limitations of the Series S made it a less user-friendly experience to navigate, but still otherwise functional. Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter stated that "I love the hardware in terms of what I can potentially experience with it and the expert implementation of many of its forward-looking features - but a console is defined by its games, and in that sense, I still feel that I barely know the machine at all." Keza MacDonald of The Guardian said that while there is no immediate driving force to buy the consoles at launch, "there's not much to criticise: they do everything they promised to do, and they do it well." Gamasutra's Kris Graft and Chris Kerr said that "Microsoft has delivered two highly appealing entry points that can turn players into long-term customers, while at the same time erasing the idea of "generations," exposing people to more games, past, present and future."

Ahead of the Xbox Series X/S's release, Spencer reiterated Microsoft's stance that they will not release exact sales numbers for the new consoles. Spencer stated that "I know it seems manipulative and I'll apologise for that but I don’t want my team's focus on [console sales]."

According to Microsoft, the Xbox Series X and Series S were the biggest launch of a Xbox console ever, with more consoles sold in its first 24 hours, in more countries, than any Xbox before. The Xbox Series S also added the highest percentage of new players for any Xbox console at launch. Previously, the Xbox One had sold more than one million units within the first 24 hours of its launch. There were shortages of supply for both models of the Xbox console. Spencer stated that they had gotten a later start on manufacturing the console in mid-2020 as they were waiting for key AMD chip technology to be in place which reduced the availability of supply at launch, and though they had reached full production capacity by launch, they were still rushing to meet sales demand, as well as having made projections on proportions of Series X versus Series S sales. Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart has stated that shortages were likely to persist through the first quarter of 2021, as their supply chain was expected to be up to full capacity by the second quarter of the calendar year.[106] The shortage of supply at launch led to price gouging and scalping on Internet marketplace sites, with consoles going for as high as US$5,000.

Throughout the system's first week of release in Japan, 16,247 Xbox Series X systems were sold, while 4,287 Xbox Series S systems were sold throughout the same week. A combined total of 20,534 Xbox Series X and Series S systems were sold in Japan throughout the week.