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Minecraft looks stunning on Xbox Series X

Here’s what ray tracing can do

Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Minecraft isn’t a game known for its incredible graphics. It is an incredible game, a sandbox for players to create all sorts of different things. But with ray tracing on the Xbox Series X, that might change — Minecraft looks stunning in an image of the game running on Xbox Series X’s with ray tracing effects turned on.

YouTube content creator Austin Evans uploaded a video on Monday in which he runs a tech demo of the console, showing Minecraft in action. On Xbox Wire, the company’s posted some images. The difference is noticeable: Lights reflect off the walls and floors. Lava glows, and textures have more depth and nuance. It looks dang good.

Image: Microsoft and Image: Microsoft

Microsoft said the Xbox Series X will support “hardware accelerated DirectX raytracing,” which it claimed will improve “lighting, shadows and reflections as well as [add] more realistic acoustics and spatial audio.”

“The raytraced visuals fundamentally change the way Minecraft feels, drawing the player in and immersing them in a much more realistic world,” Xbox Wire editor Will Tuttle said.

Alongside raytracing details, Microsoft outlined full specs for the Xbox Series X and showed off its fast load times and quick resume in a number of tech demos. The Xbox Series X is slated for a holiday 2020 release date.