As we hurtle toward the next generation of game consoles, both Sony and Microsoft have started teasing the features they hope will encourage gamers to upgrade. In a recent podcast, Microsoft’s Larry Hryb talked about how the Xbox Series X could save you from losing game progress. The console can apparently save your game state, even through a reboot. Who needs save points?
On the Major Nelson podcast, Hryb explained his experience testing a game on the Xbox Series X. He had to reboot because of a system update. On current-gen consoles, that would mean either saving your game manually or finding a save point in games that don’t have manual saves. The alternative is losing some progress when the system reboots. However, Hryb says he was able to jump right back into his game where he left off because the Series X can save a game state across reboots.
This is a small detail, but it could change the way people interact with their consoles. Instead of worrying about saving on the Xbox Series X, you might just get in the habit of turning it off when you’re done playing. When you come back, the game will be waiting where you left off. Developers will probably have to build support for this feature, but we don’t know if that will be a mandatory element of releasing games on the Series X.
Microsoft’s director of Xbox program management, Jason Ronald also teased a feature called “ray-traced audio.” We have ray tracing in graphics, which Nvidia promotes non-stop on its RTX cards. With GPUs, ray tracing calculates the path of light in virtual environments to make lighting more realistic. We already know the Xbox Series X will support that. Ronald says audio ray tracing can produce more immersive sound in games.
Microsoft will have new details on the Series X at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) next month, provided the event isn’t canceled. Several major exhibitors like EA, Sony, and Unity have already dropped out, citing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic. This echoing the exodus that led to the cancellation of Mobile World Congress earlier this month. Currently, Microsoft still plans to attend GDC, and the organizers are moving forward with plans to host the event.