Microsoft’s approach to the next-generation has so far concentrated almost entirely on the souped up Xbox Series X, but that won’t be the only new Xbox in town: gamers on a budget might be more tempted by the compact and surprisingly affordable Xbox Series S. Microsoft has finally succumbed to the pressure of the leaks
Microsoft’s approach to the next-generation has so far concentrated almost entirely on the souped up Xbox Series X, but that won’t be the only new Xbox in town: gamers on a budget might be more tempted by the compact and surprisingly affordable Xbox Series S.
Microsoft has finally succumbed to the pressure of the leaks and confirmed the existence of the cheaper Xbox Series S, and we already know an awful lot about it.
What is the Xbox Series S?
Put simply, this is a cheaper, smaller, less powerful version of the headline Xbox Series X.
Like the all-digital edition of the Xbox One S and the upcoming Digital Edition of the PS5, the Series S will omit a disc drive entirely, and stick purely to streaming and downloading games.
When will the Xbox Series S release?
The Xbox Series S will be available in the UK, US, and other markets from 10 November – the same day as its big brother Xbox Series X, with the PS5 also due around the same time.
Pre-orders for the console kick off from 22 September.
How much will the Series S cost?
This we do know, and it’s good news: the Xbox Series S will cost just £249/$299.
That’s even cheaper than we’d predicted for the console, and only slightly more than the All-Digital Xbox One S currently costs at £199/$249.
It’s also a big drop down from the £449/$499 main Xbox Series X, marking a significant saving for those willing to save money by skimping a little on specs.
What does the Series S look like?
The Xbox Series S should look familiar to Xbox fans, sticking with the company’s current design language but bringing it to a slimmer, shorter form factor.
The new console is all in white, except for a large black disc across the top, which looks like it doubles as extra ventilation for the console.
The reveal trailer above claims that the console is about 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X, and that mostly comes from slimming it right down. Losing the disc drive presumably doesn’t hurt either.
What are the Series S specs?
Here are the headline specs for the Series S:
- Similar 8-core 3.6/3.4GHz Zen 2 CPU to Series X
- AMD RDNA 2 GPU
- 512GB NVME SSD with Xbox Velocity Architecture
- 10GB RAM
- 1440p up to 120 FPS
- Ray tracing support
- 4K media playback
- 4K game upscaling
The main thing to know is that this is running on a similar CPU and SSD to the main Series X, and so will play all of the same games, and enjoy the same phenomenal load times and perks like Quick Resume.
The big difference is in the GPU, where Microsoft has decided to prioritise frame rate over resolution. That means that the Xbox Series S supports frame rates up to 120fps – just like its big brother – but caps out at a resolution of 1440p, rather than 4K. There is hardware-driven 4K upscaling though, so you’ll still get some benefit if you own a 4K TV, but it won’t be true 4K.
For more details, check out this official deep dive into the console’s specs and performance:
What games will run on the Xbox Series S?
The Series S will run all the same games as the Series X, but will simply drop the resolution down to 1440p in order to do so.
There is one minor oddity: while the Series S will have the same backwards compatibility as the Series X – namely playing almost every game from the previous Xbox generations – it won’t be capable of playing the graphically Xbox One X versions of Xbox One games. That’s because it has slightly less RAM than the Xbox One X – despite being a more modern console. It will still play all those games, but only the standard Xbox One version, without any graphical enhancements introduced for the One X.
Microsoft also revealed the first next-gen gameplay – from the more powerful Xbox Series X, admittedly – in an Inside Xbox stream on 7 May. Games showcased on this stream included:
- Bright Memory Infinite
- Dirt 5
- Madden 21
- Vampyre the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2
- Call of the Sea
- The Ascent
- The Medium
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Then in July the company showed off even more games, including our first look at plenty of first-party Xbox Game Studio titles:
- Halo Infinite
- State of Decay 3
- New Forza Motorsport
- Tell Me Why
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps (XSX remaster)
- Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon (DLC)
- As Dusk Falls
- Hellblade 2
- Psychonauts 2
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2
- Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
- Tetris Effect: Connected
- The Gunk
- The Medium
- New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2
- Fable 4
Check out our full guide to the biggest upcoming games for more of what’s on the horizon.