Xbox Series S Revealed -- A $299 Next-Gen Console

Following a leak regarding both the Series S and Series X, Microsoft has confirmed a cheaper next-gen option is indeed on the way.

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[Update: Microsoft has now confirmed the Xbox Series S will launch around in the world on November 10 at $299. Xbox Series X launches the same day for $499. Both will be available to pre-order beginning September 22. A "robot white" controller will also be available.]

Microsoft has finally officially announced the Xbox Series S, its long-rumored budget-priced next-gen gaming console that is coming this year. Xbox Series S will cost $299 in the US and comes housed inside what Microsoft calls the smallest Xbox ever. Xbox UK has also confirmed that the system will cost £250 there. In Australia, the system will cost $499AU.

Xbox Series S will release on the same day as the Xbox Series X, so customers will be able to choose between the two from day one.

In terms of design, Series S looks exactly like the leaked image that surfaced on September 7--it's a small, white rectangle with a minimalist design and no disc drive. The front features nothing more than a power button, USB port, and a sync button for the controller.

According to a report from Windows Central, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X will both release on November 10, with the Series X selling for $499. The Series X price and release date both remain unconfirmed, but given that the Series S information was correct, it seems like a safe bet.

Microsoft announced the Series S in reaction to leaks; it didn't hide the fact that it was planning to reveal the system at a later time (possibly after PS5 and Series X pricing had been announced, to further highlight the surprising $299 price). As such, so far it's only officially shared select details about the Series S--its technical specs have not been announced.

However, a leaked Xbox Series S trailer also made its way online, revealing some of the key details about the system. That trailer has now been released officially, and you can watch it above. It states that Series S comes with a custom 512 GB SSD to allow for fast load times and instant game switching and support for 1440p gaming at 120 FPS. In other words, it appears to largely be what the rumors suggested: a box that's every bit as capable as the Series X, but one that isn't intended for native 4K gaming.

Xbox Series S Features List

  • All-digital
  • 1440p at up to 120 FPS
  • DirectX ray tracing
  • Variable rate shading
  • Variable refresh rate
  • Ultra-low latency
  • Custom 512 GB SSD
  • 4K streaming media playback
  • 4K upscaling for games

Thurrott reporter Brad Sams first unveiled the design of the Xbox Series S in the video below. Industry insider Daniel Ahmad subsequently backed up the report, saying this is the design we should expect before Microsoft confirmed it to be real.

Windows Central reports that both Xbox Series X and Series S will be available through Xbox's All Access subscription service, with the Series S being set at $25 USD a month and the Series X at $35 USD a month. Phil Spencer has previously said that All Access is "critical" to their next-gen strategy.

The Series S was one of gaming's worst-kept secrets for a long time, and leaked on Xbox accessory packaging well before the design was revealed. While there has been some speculation that Microsoft intentionally let the system leak, the company has said that this is not the case.

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SystemOverload

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Edited By SystemOverload

Smaller hard drive so will the XBOX series S download a smaller XBOX series S version of a video game?

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allever

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Wow. The Xbox Series S is weak when compared to the Series X. Subpar specs. Looks like an Xbox One S v2.

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DavidinCT

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I will NEVER own a digital only console. Digital games are normally more expensive than you can find in the stores or a used copy (on month or 2 old games). If Microsoft ONLY had digital consoles, my current Xbox one X would be my last Microsoft console, same with Sony and Nintendo.

If day one releases were cheaper, say $10 cheaper, maybe because it would be good value but, when they charge the same price as retail copies, no way.

I think for the $60ish, I get a lot more for my money, I have a physical object, and 25 years from now, when this system is no longer, and the games are de-listed, it's possible (on MOST games), I could drop in the disc into a working system and play the game. This possibly wont apply to digital games, if you forget your account, or Xbox live on these systems are no more, you could not valiate your self to play the games.

Also, digital games have NO VALUE, if you sell off your games, or keep them as they could be collectable and worth money later, none of this applies to digital games.

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SystemOverload

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@DavidinCT: Which is cheaper because you have to take account if sale your video game your most likely not going to sell it for more or what you paid for it and the longer you hold on a used video game the more it depreciates so if I can a digital version for $10 off I will buy the digital version or if I can buy the disc version for $10 off I will buy the disc version.

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keiser69

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@DavidinCT: I am the exact opposite. I will never buy physical again. I dont want to get up and change discs ever. What is this the middle ages ?

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DavidinCT

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@keiser69: OK, enjoy...

Physical games are cheaper, when you want a game that is 2-3 months old, you could buy a used copy, and pay $25-35, as in the Microsoft digital store, its' still $59.99. This happens ALL THE TIME. I watch prices on games, some games I buy day one and others I wait till there is a good value on it. I check eBay, stores, Facebook, I check digital copies and 95% of the time, that 2-3 month old game, I can get for like 40-80% cheaper than in the digital store.

Like I said, I see the value getting physical version. I collect games too. Some games I get digitally, like games I know I will be playing forever (like COD multiplayer for example) but, when the game is old, I end up buying a copy for cheap.

Talk to me in 20 years, when my game collection of current games is worth a few grand. "Most" of them I will drop and be able to play if want to, as your digital games are worth nothing (there is no value, you cant trade or sell a digital game), and there is good chance that will never be able to play again once they are delisted (and that will happen to a very good % of the games over 20 years) or the Xbox One is no longer supported, that date will come.

I get your point of being lazy and not getting to change a game, I hear ya but, getting more for my money is very important to me. And getting up to walk 5 feet to change a game, in my eyes, is not that big of a deal.

I just wish Microsoft made 2 models of the "S" like now, A $250 diskless one and one for $350ish with a drive.

I still will feel bad for that kid who gets a diskless model for Xmas (as getting a disc drive is $200 more to parents would lean towards the cheaper version) and their friend brings over a physical version of a game... that they can't play

As they say, to each their own.

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hjroman

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No optical drive so no upgrade from my XBox One S and all my games I have on DVD/BD. :-(

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hjroman

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Edited By hjroman

500 GB SSD for an All-digital device. The external custom SSD will cost almost the same that the console. Genius. I know that anyway all games have to be installed no matter the source but at least with physical copies one can uninstall and reinstall at leisure without the hassle of downloading tons of data (except for the updates, I know).
Edit: Thinking about it, instead of uninstalling games to make room one could move them to an external USB 3.0 drive an leave on the internal SSD only the ones that one is currently playing. I little bit tedious but it is better than downloading a game/updates again. I would opt for that instead of buying an expensive SSD 'cartridge'.

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rodoxthedark

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I might actually get this, didn’t think I’d say that, but I’m getting ps5 and thought I’d just keep my one x for the games, but with what this has I’d be tempted to sell the one x and just get this

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cboye18

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Edited By cboye18

I hope it flops. There's nothing I hate more than these half-assed console upgrades. It's giving developers an extra headache, causes confusion and division with consumers and the gaming community alike, and is a complete waste of time and resources better spend on the actual next-gen devices.

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SystemOverload

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@cboye18: It’s a cheaper entry level video game console but if you have XBOX ONE X it’s not really worth it.

Look at the models iPhone has and it is because there are people who don’t want to spend as much as $1000 for a smart phone.

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keiser69

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@cboye18: If you dont own a 4k TV which is most TVs on this planet. Then the Series X is a waste. This box is for people without 4k.

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cboye18

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@keiser69: The Xbox One X should be more than fine for simple 1080p gaming, even for next gen games. The S series is completely unnecessary.

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Edited By keiser69

@cboye18: No because the One X does not have ray tracing and VRS and Sampler Feedback and no SSD and every other feature of next gen. You will never be able to play real next gen games on the One X. You can play them on the S if you dont care about 4k. There is a difference between resolution and graphics. They are not the same.

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cboye18

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@keiser69: Again, you can get all that next-gen software and hardware without any kind of early compromise for long-term use with series X instead. The S series is definitely going to struggle in performance around mid-term of the upcoming generation's life cycle. It's just not worth it, even if it's $200 cheaper. You might just as well wait and save to get the full next-gen gaming experience, regardless if you have a 4K tv or not.

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p0tent

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@cboye18 : I disagree.

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cboye18

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Edited By cboye18

@p0tent: Then go into PC gaming if you're into yearly incremental upgrades. This isn't the smart phone market. Consoles gaming should remain streamlined, cheap and simple, otherwise you're better off plugging a gaming PC onto your tv.

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sladakrobot

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Edited By sladakrobot

@cboye18: yeah,devs are confused by 2 settings while they are making that exact same game to work on pcs with all that thousands of variations...

Now,all the ppl who claim they are consused by TWO sku's are somehow not confused when buying a phone at launch which comes with 3 or 4 variations OR at launch buying a graphic card where they are can chose from 2-4 variations.


I find it very entertaining

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kutraz

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@sladakrobot:

The lack of serving multiple specs is the reason some PS4 exclusives (running on 2013 hardware) can rival 2020 PC gaming quality. When you dedicate your game development to only one set of specs, you really utilize its full potential. That is the problem with cross-gen and the "Series S". You limit developers from really milking the best new tech, hence, Halo Infinite fiasco.

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sladakrobot

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Edited By sladakrobot

@kutraz: I gotcha but your comparison is not very accurate as the devs of PS games had also to consider PS4 and PS4pro specs

The same with XboxS and XboxX specs...lets take a look at Gears of War 5...the XboxX version is superior in every way,in no way the base or XboxS did made the X version look and run worse than it could.

Lets also take a look at Doom on PCs. On dedicated gaming pcs the game runs and look fantastic(if you disable the devs anti cheat program that is) and the low spec pcs didnt stopped the devs from making the best version possible for the best option available.

The problems with Halo Infinite has nothing to do with cross gen,there are other reasons for that.

We will have on Xbox and on PS cross gen games which will run and look amazing on the best system available.

I am looking at games like Cyberpunk,AC Valhalla,Watchdogs,Gears Tactics,Grounded(which especially will benefit from raytracing and better framerate).

"When you dedicate your game development to only one set of specs, you really utilize its fullpotential."

I have sympathy for that comment but it brings me to a different topic than you would expect. It brings my nostalgia back at many games and sytsems in the past.

If you can fully utilize the potential(dev tools) a console with limited specs can shove some stunning results.

Some Dreamcast games,Halo 4 on X360 still holds up very well,some PS3 game was good graphical showcase,GOW5 on Xbox One,TLoU2 on PS4...all that technically very impressive and not possible on pcs with similar specs.

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kutraz

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Edited By kutraz

@sladakrobot:

I suspect that we will go back and forth on this "I think" crusade, so I'll skip to providing proof like I always do, with the expectation that you'll do the same.

Embark Studios programmer and DICE alumni, Liza Shulyayeva talking about the issue with working with a spectrum of specs in regards to the Series S:

“Building & certifying games for a bunch of targets is hard regardless of hardware utilisation. Compatibility issues in SDKs & other tooling are a thing, as are staffing & infrastructure limitations. This isn’t a matter of clicking an extra button to support 10 platforms vs 9.”

Sasan Sepehr, Senior Tech Producer at Remedy Games reaction to the Series S reveal:

As a consumer, I love this! As a Technical Producer, I see trouble with optimization!!!

This are yet another two top tier programmers stating that working for multiple specs is very taxing on the quality of a game's development. Serving different specs works but quality takes a hit. That is the problem developers are talking about, what pushing for cross-gen and the series S does to game studios.

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sladakrobot

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@kutraz: thx for the quotes but that doesnt back up your original post where you say that a lower sku will eventually make a version of a game for the high end sku worse or limited.
All what i read is that optimisation takes some effort.
Needlees to say but i will say it anyways:
Optimisation High end-> Low end...not the other way around

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kutraz

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@sladakrobot:

You answer back with just opinion and dismiss legit proof, the nerve. But here you go, Axel Gneiting, Principal engine programmer at id Software, completely refuting your opinionated statement. Minimum specs DO matter.

"it always scaled on PC is nonsense. Every AAA game in the past decade or so has their assets made once so they run on min spec. Increasing sample counts a bit here and there for high settings isn't what you could truly have done with more power. Min spec matters." September 10, 2020

Do not tag me in your comment unless you got proof to back up any counter argument you come up with. Your GameSpot comment section credentials don't carry more weight than that of a game engine programmer.

https://www.gamesradar.com/au/xbox-series-s-could-bottleneck-some-next-gen-games-developers-suggest/

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sladakrobot

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Edited By sladakrobot

@kutraz: id dev on Doom running on their id tech 7 engine for current gen hardware,next gen and low tier as Switch.

Its scalable like the id tech 6 engine was.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9S5ABf53rDo

Hey,the Switch sold like crazy...lets focus on that performance level???

Unreal engine,Havoc and other engines work like that too.

It is for me very obvious when developers has already sick high end dev pcs that they would never ever put all the resources and focus on some i3 pc coz its the lowest used setting around.

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kutraz

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@sladakrobot: Again, no proof. It's a video literally promoting Doom. Also, I am not sure if you know how this works but Axel Gneiting is the principal engine programmer for id, Billy Kahn (from the video), is a lead engine programmer. Rank wise, Axel takes the upper hand in terms of what should be taken as truth. Billy Kahn only said, "very scaleable, no problem taking advantage of each console level". That does not answer back to what Axel Gneiting, Principal engine programmer at id Software stated.

"Every AAA game in the past decade or so has their assets made once so they run on min spec."

"Increasing sample counts a bit here and there for high settings isn't what you could truly have done with more power"

So far the only gameplay we have of this supposed "scalable performance and quality" from Xbox is Halo Infinite but I don't have to remind you how that went right? LOL

Need better proof my friend, go back and dig up more some more.

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SwampDonkeyz

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@sladakrobot: Isn't the whole beauty of consoles that developers can completely optimize their game for a single platform? Its why current gen games still look as good as they do. Ps5 will do this again, or at least with their exclusives, while Series X is now shackled to its 4 Tflops sibling with half the RAM.

If Sony's exclusives stand out now, just imagine what'll happen next gen when MS (and potentially all 3rd party developers) are targeting 4Tflop as the baseline.

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sladakrobot

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@swampdonkeyz: you worry to much and you see things which arent there.
EVERY developer(inhouse or 3rd party) is making or wants to make a game as best as she/he can(given the financial and staff possibilities that is).
There will be absolutely no case where devs will focus on the lower end sku and in the case of the Xbox,the devs are given dev kits and tools for the series X.
You develop for the series X and scale down for the series S...how and which things they should scale down its up to them and ofcourse it will require some extra time.

I agree with you that some console games(in the endlife of a console) look and run fantastic but that has reasons...
1st-consoles are/was always plattforms on which you can develop to the metal.
2nd-Sony and MS open over time the system for the devs(way better dev tools with access to even more resources).
As example...i never saw such a difference in a game series like in Gears of War on the X360.
Compare GoW1 to GoW3 or Judgement...night and day

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SwampDonkeyz

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@sladakrobot: If that's true then how come u get the exact same games on a $4000 PC then on a $299 console? Developers don't make 50 versions of their game so every platfom gets the best version possible, they make 1 game for the lowest common denominator and we just get a bump in resolution/fps on hardware that is 10 times more powerful.

If SS sells like hotcakes we'll all be playing upressed 4TF games... Different story for Sony's exclusives, though. And I'm willing to bet we'll see a pretty big difference between 4 and 10TF games on Wednesday!

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sladakrobot

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@swampdonkeyz: the same case with a 5000$ pc and a 1000$ pc...the same game-different settings,resolution,framerate,shaders.

Further,it is stated here about 100 times- devs dont make a low end version and bump it up...its the other way around

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SwampDonkeyz

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@sladakrobot: Its all about parity and what developers target as the baseline. For the past 7 years that's been a 1,3TF Xbox One - as that is the lowest common denominator. Everything above that is getting the same core game with a bit higher res/fps and a bump in graphics settings.

Next gen baseline should've been 10,3TF and most pc gamers would have had to upgrade to play the AAA multiplats. However, if SS sells that baseline will be 4TF and it will seriously limit the ambitions of next gen games. The ps5 exclusives will be an exception, though, and will stand out even more because of this...

There's a reason why Series X has failed to impress us like the ps5 has. And I'm sure we'll see more of that on Wednesday

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kutraz

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@swampdonkeyz:

I know, they just don't get it.

How is it that the PS4 (using 2013 hardware) can still rival 2020 PC gaming quality??

This is about focusing on only one console, learning how to maximize technology to its full potential, and not having to worry about optimizing up and down the spec ladder

That is the issue with cross-gen and the series S

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sladakrobot

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@kutraz: A PS4 version of game vs gaming PC 2020?
I am afraid that you make a wrong comparison...maybe to and low end pc?
Horizon Zero Down on the PS4 is NO MATCH vs the PC version.
The PS4 version is still impressive but its just impressive given the hardware it runs on.
I mean,Zelda on the Switch is still impressive given the facts it runs on hopeless hardware but it would look and run better on the Xbox or a PS

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SwampDonkeyz

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@sladakrobot: Horizon Zero Dawn on on a $4000 PC looks almost identical to the ps4 pro version dude lol. Horizon Far West will look a generation ahead, though. Because its designed from the ground up for a single, much more powerful base console

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kutraz

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@swampdonkeyz:

The PC master race has to justify the hundreds and hundreds of dollars invested in their rig. I agree, games like Horizon, God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, are right up there with any PC game. The PC master race won't admit to this because we are talking about 2013 hardware vs a 1k Nvidia card, they just don't understand what proper optimization can do for a console/game.

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sladakrobot

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@swampdonkeyz: i didnt saw a smiley at the end of your comment but i guess you just forgot to put it in coz you are joking...right?

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SwampDonkeyz

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@sladakrobot: Wasn't kidding man. I played it on both ps4 pro and pc and there really isn't a noticeable difference. Its a bit of a lazy port to be honest and I'm sure it could have looked a lot better if it was catered more towards high-end pc hardware. But that's the whole point, nobody makes games that really take advantage of the latest pc hardware. Which is why HFW on ps5 will probably look a generation ahead of HZD running on a $4000 pc.

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sladakrobot

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Edited By sladakrobot

@swampdonkeyz: i get you and yes,it is a problematic port which brings me back to the point of how devs usually dont make the lowest possible version of a game and work everything up for better hardware.

HZD shows it how much more time is needed and with which obstacles you have to deal with to take advantages of better hardware whereas scaling down from best hardware down to lower hardware is much less painfull.

IF HDZ was made for high end pcs in mind and scaled back down to match the PS4 requirements,the PS4 version wouldnt bottleneck the pc version.

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SwampDonkeyz

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@sladakrobot: I think it all has to do with parity. Developers aren't going to release a game that look amazing on platform A but runs like garbage on Platform B. The core game has to look identical across all platforms. HZD could have looked far more impressive on PC but it looking the same on ps4 was a design/ business decision. Its been like that for over a decade as we don't see games like Crysis anymore that took a beastly pc to run and would technically be impossible on consoles. Nowadays we get 1 game designed for base consoles, with just a bump in res/fps and graphics settings on pc.

That's the problem with SS and why some developers aren't happy with it. The lowest common denominator for next gen just went from 10,3TF and 16Gigs of RAM to 4TF and 8Gigs (at half the speed). I just hope not all 3rd party developers will be using SS as the baseline. If they do, Sony's exclusives will stand out by a mile, though.

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pillarrocks

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The S Series being $300 is interesting though you would have to buy a hard drive which I have for my Xbox One which is 1 TB external, I would definitely need a 5TB or bigger for the games.

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