• Designers of Xbox Series X shares their thinking behind the consoles new design
  • Among the key reasons for the new Xbox design include better airflow and cooling, as well as for the split motherboard
  • Xbox Series X is set to launch this holiday 2020

Xbox Series X, Microsoft’s upcoming flagship gaming console, has made several headlines not only because of its power but also due to its unconventional design. However, the tech giant actually has a good reason for departing from the traditional shape.

Back in December 2019, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series X, from its name, branding and – of course – its form. A lot of details had since came out about the console, particularly its specs that is undoubtedly a giant leap from its predecessors.

However, the question remains why the company opted for a tall, rectangular and fridge-like design, far from the flat and pizza-box like consoles that are currently out in the market. While some would argue that it is purely to signify the arrival of the next generation in gaming, a lot of thinking was put into the shape.

According to Microsoft principal designer Chris Kujawski in an interview with Eurogamer, the design was born to accommodate the power that the new Xbox brings. The bigger design also allows for better airflow and cooling.

“The ODD [optical disc drive] sets one dimension, the volume of the heat sink sets the other dimension, the height is set by airflow and throughout this kind of complex negotiation of figuring out how this stuff comes together, we landed on a square form factor which we love,” Kujawski explained.

Additionally, one key reason for the design is Microsoft’s decision to implement a split motherboard instead of just one large piece. The boards are put into either side of “a substantial chassis block.”

"It creates what we call a parallel cooling architecture, so you get cool air in - and cool air streams through separate zones of the console," said Jim Wahl, the director of mechanical engineering for the Xbox hardware.

"The second thing it does is that it actually distributes the heat sources a bit differently in the console - so those two things together are really effective at cooling a console. And then the third thing it does is... we play this sort of 3D Tetris game, where you're trying to figure out where the components should go and what's the best arrangement - and then that starts to establish some of the dimensional aspects."

Moreover, while some fans have reservations about the design, Microsoft apparently conducted a test to determine if users will welcome it. According to Kujawski, a majority of their focus testers “totally loved it.” It gave the team a much-needed boost of confidence, particularly with the big leap they are taking.

The Xbox Series X is set to launch this holiday in 2020. However, no price has been announced and it is not yet available for pre-order.

Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X. Microsoft/Official