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The Sad Truth About The Series X

Microsoft touted the Xbox Series X as the next big leap in gaming, a powerhouse with more teraflops than any other console on the market. But, now that the hype has died down, many gamers are starting to feel that the Series X, while reeling in numerous positive reviews, isn't all it's cracked up to be. The honeymoon phase is over, and now audiences are learning that the console's upgrades don't quite reach the lofty heights that Microsoft promised.

The most arguably obvious of Series X disappointments is the graphics. Microsoft spent a lot of time and money advertising the console's 12 teraflops, claiming they would give the console an edge over competitors. As graphical performance currently stands, these teraflops don't provide any salient advantage. Critics such as Forbes' Matt Gardner have pointed out that games like Watch Dogs: Legion are stuck at 30fps — a quarter of the 120 fps advertised on the console's site — while Digital Foundry discovered that many games run better on the PlayStation 5 because program interfaces throttle the Series X' graphics card. "Teraflops," despite starting life as a real mathematical term, has metamorphosed into a marketing buzzword, not unlike "blast processing."

Moreover, not even the Series X's signature features such as Quick Resume can live up to the rosy picture painted by Microsoft's promises. On the surface, the program works as intended: suspend up to three games and quickly switch between them as you see fit... Except, not really. 

It turns out that Quick Resume isn't universally recognized by games. Some titles don't automatically save when you use the feature. Instead of letting you pick up from where you left off, titles such as Watch Dogs: Legion, Battlefront 2, and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla restart when you activate quick resume. You never know if a game will or won't cooperate until you try, and if it doesn't, you're up lost progress creek without a paddle.

However, not all of the Series X' problems spawn from failing to live up to Microsoft's promises. Glacial download speeds, for example, have always been the Xbox One's Achilles' heel. Microsoft could have shored up the Series X's download capabilities to bring it more in line with PCs and the PlayStation 4 (and PS5), but it didn't. For many gamers, the Series X's wireless downloads are as slow as ever, which is problematic since many game file sizes keep expanding. Some gamers point an accusatory finger at the Quick Resume feature, blaming it for permanently reserving bandwidth that will never be used by keeping "online" games active even when they aren't running — or online.

These are only a few of the issues gamers have noticed with the Xbox Series X now that the rose-tinted launch window glasses have been discarded. Microsoft will probably iron the shortcomings out as time goes on — or with the inevitable Xbox Series X Ver. 2.0 Slim Edition. But for now, the next console generation is falling short of promises and expectations. It will probably get there eventually, but that day isn't today.