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The Xbox Series X does not output 8K

The Xbox Series X does not output 8K
(Image credit: Microsoft)

While 8K was mentioned right from the start as being part of the Xbox Series X's spec sheet, and indeed still features in a lot of the console's marketing, we can now confirm that there's simply no option to enable 8K in the console's settings.

We knew that 8K games would be thin on the ground at best, but our assumption was that an 8K output would still be an option in the video menus, possibly only for the user interface or perhaps for YouTube, which does host a small amount of 8K content.

Alas, that isn't the case. When testing for our own Xbox Series X review, we quickly realised that 8K simply isn't an option available anywhere. Upon querying this with Microsoft, we received this confirmation:

“Xbox Series X is fully capable of 8K output. However, as there is not media content or games that currently support 8K resolution, we have not enabled the option within the system settings at this time. Xbox Series X was designed with the next 8 to 10 years of advancements in mind, and as 8K becomes a more widely adopted format, the console will support it”.

Truth be told, while we’ve little doubt that one day the Series X will be able to output an 8K signal, we’re not convinced that it will do so for gaming in any meaningful way. The occasional, graphically simpler game might arrive with support for such a high resolution, but we suspect that 8K blockbusters will require an even more powerful machine. Time to start saving for the Xbox Series X Pro?

In the meantime, the Series X we have now is absolutely focused on delivering 4K at 60fps, with some games upping that to 120fps. Increasing frame rates might not sound terribly exciting, but it makes for games that feel fundamentally different – snappier, more responsive and more fluid. Add new graphical features such as raytracing, and you've got a very worthwhile upgrade.

Of course, 8K TV owners desperate to show off their big, new screens will likely be rather disappointed by this news, but not as much as the manufacturers of said TVs, who must be absolutely desperate for for more ways to push consumers to upgrade from their existing 4K sets.

The big question, of course, is whether the PS5 will output an 8K signal. Our understanding is that it will not, but we'll have to wait to fully test this.

MORE:

See our Xbox Series X review

Read our Xbox Series S review

Our guide to the PS5: everything you need to know

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