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?
Microsoft still hasn’t confirmed complete specs for the Series S, but the trailer above gives us the highlights:
- Custom NVME SSD (512 GB)
- 1440p up to 120 FPS
- Ray tracing support
- 4K media playback
- 4K game upscaling
- Variable rate shading
- Variable refresh rate
- Ultra-low latency
If you want more concrete numbers, the most solid rumour before the reveal came from Windows Central. The site reports that the Series S will boast four teraflops of GPU computing power – impressive, but a drop from the 12 teraflops in the Series X, and it would actually put it on a similar power level to the current Xbox One X.
That’s backed up by a list of expected specs assembled by TweakTown, which suggests that the Series S will use the same CPU as the Series X, but drop the RAM and GPU capabilities.
That leaves the console with an expected [email protected] performance cap (though note that this is different to the [email protected] claim in the trailer, so take all of this with a pinch of salt), and worryingly lists only ‘next-gen support’, implying that some Series X games might not run on the Series S after all. TweakTown does at least expect to see backwards compatibility, though without a disc drive it’s hard to see how it will allow players to play previous-gen disc-based games.
What games will run on the Xbox Series S?
It’s expected that the Series S will run all the same games as the Series X, but will simply drop a few graphical features to do so – though as we’ve seen above, there’s a chance that won’t be the case.
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.