Debunking the biggest lies about the Xbox Series X at launch.
After months of waiting, next-gen console gaming is finally here. The Xbox Series X and its more affordable sibling, the Xbox Series S, have been officially released to the public, with tons of gamers getting their hands on a next-gen Xbox of their own all over the world. The vast majority of impressions from newfound Xbox Series X owners have been positive, but like with every major launch, there are bound to be some issues.
Typical product-launch pains aside, a number of rumors have begun spreading around the internet about the Xbox Series X, ranging from minor quibbles like the airflow from the vent on the top being strong enough to carry a ping pong ball, to major flaws like the Xbox Series X catching fire and smoking.
We did some hunting and set out to debunk every Xbox Series X lie, as well as shed some light on what players should actually be looking out for when they get their new console.
Does the Xbox Series X smoke and catch on fire?
The most-discussed, and by far the worst, rumor that has been making rounds as been videos showing the Xbox Series X smoking and potentially catching fire. If these videos were accurate, this would indicate a major problem with the Xbox Series X, and would likely result in an eventual recall if the problem was widespread enough. However, we can confidently say that these videos are false, with our own Jez Corden investigating the claims.
@XboxPL spotkała mnie niemiła niespodzianka zaraz po uruchomieniu nowego sprzętu… 💔. Interfejs byl jedynie w Menu, po minucie/dwóch użytkowania pojawił się zaledwie kłębek dymu… Czy w tej sytuacji mogę liczyć na wymianę sprzętu? Z góry dzięki za pomoc! pic.twitter.com/E4A4UzU132
— Arek Adamowicz (@Arek_Adamowicz) November 11, 2020
The rumors seemingly began with the above tweet, showing a smoking Xbox Series X (with the bottom mysteriously removed from the frame). While someone’s brand new, high-end gaming console smoking is no laughing matter, it’s become clear that this was almost certainly faked, likely using a vape or some other source of smoke or vapor. Another tweet from @XboxStudio shows how this would work in the below video.
CANSADO de las FAKE NEWS.
Os dejo un video MIO explicando porque es Fake lo de la consola “Quemada” y como han logrado este efecto incluso estando la consola “APAGADA” pic.twitter.com/LfXzIBSu6N
— Xbox Studio (@XboxStudio) November 11, 2020
Making your Xbox Series X appear to smoke is deceivingly easy, owing to the Xbox Series X’s cooling system that utilizes a huge fan to draw air in through the bottom of the console and push it out through the top. Take a vape, or other sources of smoke, and blow it through the bottom of your Xbox Series X, and the advanced cooling system will draw the smoke through the console and out the top.
Fires in products like the Xbox Series X are very rare. Most electronics that catch on fire usually have battery issues (remember the issues with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge?), which consoles have no need for. On top of that, any issue that would result in smoking would have to be accompanied by a huge amount of heat, which would melt the surrounding plastic and visibly damage the Xbox Series X.
Of course, there’s always a small possibility that something is amiss in this specific situation, such as a piece of packaging becoming caught in the console. Microsoft offered the following statement when asked about the supposed “issues” with the Xbox Series X: “We take all product safety reports seriously and our products meet or exceed industry standards. We are in the process of investigating further.”
The result: This lie is debunked.
Does the Xbox Series X run hot and loud?
Related to the above rumor, there have been continued speculations that the Xbox Series X runs too hot and loud, and they’ve persisted ever since the console first made it into the hands of media and influencers. The overblown rumor that the Xbox Series X can smoke and catch on fire has refueled these previous rumors after they were dispelled by multiple outlets and sources. Per our own tests on the Xbox Series X’s thermals, the console is in no way hotter than previous ones like the Xbox One X or PS4, and in fact, runs noticeably cooler in a lot of cases. It’s clear that the Xbox Series X’s cooling system is doing its job here.
The console is in no way hotter than previous ones, and in fact, runs noticeably cooler in a lot of cases.
The Xbox Series X draws cool air in from the bottom of the console, runs it through the internal components, and then pushes the consequently hot air out of the top. This means that, yes, all of the air coming out of the console is going to be hot. This is par for the course for any console or high-powered PC, and it’s a sign that the cooling system is doing its job since heat is being dispelled from the system. Where previous consoles and PC’s may have multiple vents or openings in which to dispel hot air, the Xbox Series X pushes it all out through the top in a dramatic fashion.
As far as how loud the Xbox Series X is, we and others have found it to be stupendously quiet. Even using expensive microphones and equipment, we were unable to elicit a measurable sound out of the Xbox Series X, which is remarkable. As we said in our Series X console review, “Using a $300 microphone and a sound meter, we were effectively unable to detect any noise coming out of this system.”
From my own experience, and the experiences of others who now have an Xbox Series X, this console is quieter even than the Xbox One X. This could be due to the cooling system’s design, or the fact that there is no longer a spinning hard drive. It’s been replaced instead by a silent and efficient SSD.
The result: This lie is debunked.
Does the Xbox Series X have an abnormally loud disc drive?
This rumor is once again likely related to the above rumor, as there have been reports from numerous outlets that the Xbox Series X’s disc drive is too loud. There’s not much to say here, other than that some people have been complaining that the disc drive is noticeably louder than the rest of the system, which is to be completely expected.
The disc drive in the Xbox Series X looks to be similar, if not completely identical, to the previous Xbox One X in noise output. The disc drive, of course, is spinning any disc you insert at a high speed in order to properly read it, which is almost always going to make some kind of noise. The reason this noise is more noticeable than with previous consoles is simple: the Xbox Series X is quieter.
That’s not to say no one has a louder disc drive than the norm, which I’ll touch on a little further below, but the Xbox Series X’s disc drive isn’t begging for your attention, it just can’t help it.
The result: This lie is debunked.
Can the Xbox Series X suspend a ping pong ball over its fan?
This rumor is a strange one because it’s not really a “problem,” but more of a “quirk” of the Xbox Series X, if true. Supposedly, the Xbox Series X is able to suspend a ping pong ball in the air, simply using the force of the air blowing through the system and out the top vent. The rumor appeared to begin on Reddit after a user shared some iffy looking pictures, which sparked an internet-wide conversation about the possibilities. There have been conflicting reports on this one, from various reputable Twitter users with sizeable followings. Overall the answer seems to be leaning towards no.
Can’t believe this actually works!!
The secret Xbox Series X ping pong ball feature is real! pic.twitter.com/L4X8d3rFIz
— TmarTn (@TmarTn) November 11, 2020
The above video does appear to show some real Xbox Series X ping pong action, but tests from other sources and our own team seem to directly contradict the above video and the original images. The Xbox Series X does push a lot of air out of the front vent, but it isn’t with nearly enough force to suspend a ping pong ball. In fact, as the below tweet corroborates, the Xbox Series X doesn’t expel air with enough force to budge small pieces of paper, tiny feathers, or in any way indicate that hovering a ping pong ball over your next-gen console is possible.
I think the ping pong ball floating on top of Xbox Series X is bs.
I just tried with a tiny piece of ripped toilet paper and there is zero lift off. pic.twitter.com/o4uWrA0F2E
— Stallion (@Stallion83) November 11, 2020
However, this rumor has been enough of a mixed bag, with different reports, that we won’t say it’s impossible. Perhaps the Xbox Series X pushing itself with a graphically intensive game over a long period of time can push out enough air to gently float a ping pong ball. Either way, it was never much of an “issue,” just a fun thing for people to talk about in regards to the Xbox Series X.
The result: This lie is (probably) debunked.
Not without problems
Here’s when I pivot away from talking about the lies surrounding the Xbox Series X launch and instead discuss some of the truth. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S represent a massive product launch, spearheading an entire generation of console gaming. As with every major launch, there will be problems. Not every single person is going to receive a perfect console, which is unfortunate but a hard truth of pure statistics: there’s a bad egg in every bunch. Some players will get an Xbox Series X|S with power issues, build quality defects, overheating problems, or any number of concerns.
This isn’t just likely, it’s a certainty, and holds true for cars, phones, laptops, and any other mass-consumer product. However, anyone who has any kind of issue with their Xbox Series X|S or any other new product from any company can reach out to that company in order to get it repaired or replaced.
If you’re affected by anything that appears to be a manufacturing flaw, just know that you’re in the tiny minority of overall users and that Microsoft does investigate every claim to ensure as few cases of problems as humanly possible. It’s not just better for the consumer, it’s better for the company, as fewer problems mean fewer replacements and repairs needed to be paid out of Microsoft’s pocket.
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) November 9, 2020
Make sure you know how to contact Microsoft’s Xbox Support, just in case there is a problem.
The truth of the matter
The Xbox Series X|S just launched, and tons of players are excitedly gaming on their brand-new console, exploring the beginning of a new generation of video games. Tomorrow, Sony’s PS5 also begins to launch in key markets, answering the call from Microsoft with an equally impressive and powerful next-gen console. Bear in mind as the PS5 begins releasing to the world that there are also likely to be rumors spread about it, just like with the Xbox Series X during its launch period.
Be mindful of where your information is coming from.
Be mindful of where information is coming from, and whether what’s trending on social media is actually factual information, whether its complaints or reports of “flimsy PS5 faceplates,” “unstable stands,” “overheating problems,” or any baseless rumors that have already made rounds during the PS5’s lead-up to launch day. While there are bound to be people that experience issues with their PS5, overall there’s no reason to expect anything less than greatness from Sony’s flagship gaming console.
If you have or are planning to get an Xbox Series X or Series S, be sure to check out some of the best games to try on Xbox Series X|S, and that you’re prepared with all the awesome accessories that compliment next-gen gaming, like one of the best headsets for the Xbox Series X|S.
Xbox Series X
The full next-generation experience.
Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s new flagship, as its most powerful console with over 12TF GPU performance and a custom SSD. It boasts up to 4K resolution and 120 FPS, full backward compatibility across four generations, and ray-tracing support.
Next-gen in HD
Xbox Series S
Experience next-gen gaming for less.
Microsoft serves the next-generation for less with its budget-friendly Xbox Series S. The console packs the same high-performance CPU and SSD technology as Xbox Series X, while scaling back the GPU and removing the disc drive.