release date, price, features, catalog, everything you need to know

The Xbox Series S is Microsoft’s next-gen, low-cost console. It will accompany the high-end Xbox Series X. And despite its attractive price, it benefits from many interesting features, quality hardware, and an extensive catalog of games. Associated with the Game Pass, it should make the living room video game experience affordable to everyone.

xbox series s
Xbox Series S Concept

Microsoft has already communicated a lot about its Xbox Series X, the high-end new generation console which will be launched in November 2020. But the American giant is preparing another next-gen console, less well equipped and also less expensive, supposedly called Xbox Series S. A device on which the Redmond company keeps a relative secret, but several leaks have already confirmed its existence and revealed many of its characteristics. Here’s what we know about him so far.

Price and release date

This is the main unknown so far. We know that the Xbox Series X will be released in November 2020. It is quite possible that the S Series will also be released at this time. Microsoft could be tempted to launch its premium and more expensive console first to guide consumers to it first, but this would be particularly ambitious as Xbox goes underdog against the PS5 which will be available around the same time. . A PS5 that will be offered in two models, one more affordable without a Blu-ray player.

Regarding the price, we would expect an aggressive price. Microsoft does not necessarily intend to make a profit by selling its consoles, but relies more on services to make Xbox profitable, in particular Game Pass Ultimate. The goal is therefore to convince players to invest in a low-cost Xbox and install a large number of consoles in order to sell their games and subscriptions. A fairly reputable leaker, eastmen, told the beyond3d forum that Microsoft plans to sell their Xbox Series X for $ 400 and the Xbox Series S will be half the price at $ 200. An amount to which must be added the French taxes. But if Microsoft of course has an idea of ​​the price at which it wants to launch its consoles, it is waiting for Sony to take the first step to potentially adapt its pricing policy.

Design

No leak has yet been able to tell us what the Xbox Series S will look like. However, it is likely that it uses elements of the Xbox Series X, whose design has been formalized. We would then be entitled to what looks like a small PC tower, which can be positioned either vertically or horizontally. According to information about the controller included with the Series S console, the latter should sport a white colorway, while the Series X comes in black. This was already the case on the current generation, with the Xbox One S in white and the Xbox One X in black.

xbox series x
Xbox Series S should be white, but look like Series X

On the other hand, the Xbox Series S is expected to be delivered without a Blu-Ray drive, like the Xbox One S All-Digital or the future PS5 Digital Edition. This cuts costs and brings the console to an even better price. Such a move also fits well with Microsoft’s strategy to push for Game Pass subscriptions rather than buying games. Especially since the Game Pass Ultimate includes from September 15, 2020 xCloud, which will give players the possibility of enjoying Game Pass titles instantly in streaming rather than having to download and install them on their console.

Power and performance

Again, nothing official at this time, but the reliability of information about the Xbox Series S spec sheet is high. The console should be equipped with a custom AMD SoC engraved in 7nm with an 8-core, 16 thread CPU based on the Zen 2 architecture, all clocked at 3.8 GHz. These are the same characteristics as those of the Xbox Series X. The CPU of the Xbox Series S should therefore be better than that embedded in the PS5.

On the other hand, there is a very noticeable difference at the GPU level. If the NAVI RDNA 2 is used in both cases, the Xbox Series S delivers a power of 4 TFLOPs. This is roughly equal to the graphics power of a PS4 Pro and less than an Xbox One X (6 TFLOPs). The Series X is announced for more than 12 TFLOPs, or three times the power.

From there to saying that the Xbox Series S is at the level of a current gen console, there is only one step we will not take. With its 10 GB of GDDR6 RAM and its PCIe 4.0 SSD storage (whose volume remains to be determined) allowing among other things to reduce loading times, we are clearly dealing with a console that will succeed in improving our gaming experience. It will only target less demanding consumers. Where the Series X promises 4K at 60 frames per second and 8K, the Series S will have to “be content” with 1080p at 60 frames per second and 1440p, which remains extremely suitable for the majority of players, especially at this price point.

Another feature missing from Xbox One and that will be found on the S Series: ray-tracing. This technology, which seems to be becoming increasingly indispensable in video games, will be well on the table on the affordable next gen console from Xbox. This makes it possible to calculate the effects of light with precision for better management of reflections, resulting in more beautiful and more realistic environments in the game. A work previously done “by hand” by the artists of the studios. In the two screenshots below, you can see the startling difference on Minecraft with ray-tracing turned off at the top and turned on at the bottom. This feature turns the graphics of a game upside down, whether photorealistic or not.

minecraft
minecraft ray-tracing

To support the hardware, Microsoft has worked on new software features to boost the performance of its new Xboxes. The Variable Fresh Rate (VRR) is a technique for optimizing and automatically adjusting the refresh rate of the images, which will allow a better fluidity of the action without it being done at the expense of other technical aspects. The Variable Rate Shading (VRS) will affect the quality of the shading. This can be reduced in areas where it is not useful in order to be able to allocate the saved resources to other tasks and thus gain in general performance.

Then we have the functions ofAuto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and of Dynamic Latency Input (DLI). As their name suggests, they serve to reduce latency and input lag between the player, display, and accessories. This is also one of the challenges of the new generation of Xbox, while consoles are not known to be good at it.

Interface and features

Regarding the UI, no surprise. This has already been revealed and is common to Series X and Series S. Even the Xbox One has gotten an update to get this welcome interface refresh. On the program, redesign of the guide and the news feed on the home screen in order to find the content that interests us more easily and quickly.

xbox series s ui

Navigation is more intuitive and you get lost less between the different services available (Microsoft Store, Game Pass, Xbox Live, etc.). Sharing of videos and screenshots is better emphasized, while the contact system has been revised.

xbox series s ui

The Xbox Series S is of course compatible with all available Xbox services, the Series X does not benefit from any exclusivity in this area. In addition to games, the console takes the promises of Generation One and is also a platform on which it is possible to enjoy its multimedia content with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, Spotify and many more.

Backward compatibility

There is no reason the Xbox Series S should not benefit from the same backward compatibility program as the Series X. This will make Xbox One games playable on Series S without issue, just sign in with the same Xbox account. The problem lies in the fact that without a Blu-ray player, players who have purchased the physical versions of their One games will not be able to enjoy them on Series S. It is rumored that Microsoft is preparing an equivalency system to remedy this. hope to hear about it soon. Xbox One games running on Xbox Series S will benefit from better performance, exploiting in particular the CPU and the SSD of the console.

xbox series s retro
Xbox One was already backwards compatible with a number of Xbox 360 and Xbox games

We know that the Xbox Series X will not stop there since hundreds of games released on Xbox 360 and the original Xbox will also be compatible. This should also be the case for the Xbox Series S if the Redmond company manages to set up its system to recover a virtual key of a game of which we have a physical copy.

MS has put a lot of emphasis on Smart Delivery with its new generation of consoles. Thanks to this system, players will be able to buy a game on Xbox One and get a copy of the same game, but in its optimized Xbox Series version. No need to buy the same cross-gen game again when changing consoles. All Xbox Games Studios games will be eligible for Smart Delivery, as will certain third-party titles. For example, we know from CD Projekt that Cyberpunk 2077 will support this feature. So you can buy it now to start playing it on Xbox One S or X and then play the Xbox Series version once you get a next-gen console.

Controller

xbox series x controller
The Xbox Series X controller. The same in white for the S Series?

The Xbox Series S controller benefits from several improvements over the standard Xbox One controller. Its design evolves slightly to suit the hands of a wider variety of players. A third button is invited under the Xbox button, a shortcut that allows you to simply share videos and screenshots to your contacts or on social networks, joining what we said a little earlier on the highlighting of this type of content in the interface.

xbox series x controller
Improvements are expected in the triggers

The directional arrow has been reworked and should be more precise, especially for diagonal movements. Microsoft has taken the recipe for its high-end Xbox Elite Series 2 gamepad, without going so far, as the basic model requires. Finally, grips are positioned on the RB and LB keys as well as on the RT and LT triggers for better comfort and better grip. Unlike PlayStation which has revolutionized its controller, Microsoft is betting on continuity with some improvements here and there. It must be said that Xbox controllers are already very popular with the community.

Games catalog

In addition to backward compatible games, the Xbox Series S will of course welcome new releases. Unfortunately, Halo Infinite has been pushed back to 2021 due to player criticism during a gameplay video presentation. when he was to be the standard bearer of the console. But Cyberpunk 2077, FIFA 21 or Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be there. Just like Resident Evil 8 Village, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Yakuza: Like A Dragon, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II or the new Forza Motorsport, whose license is offering a reboot. You can check out our list of the most anticipated games on Xbox Series and PS5 to learn more.

Resident Evil 8
Resident Evil VIIIage will return to horror, while the license tended to turn to action with the latest installments

A Game Pass subscription, with the xCloud cloud gaming service included, will still provide access to a comprehensive catalog of over 100 titles. Currently, it provides the ability to play The Witcher III, Wasteland 3, Final Fantasy XV, The Outer Worlds, all Xbox Games Studios games and more. A plethora of choices. The selection will of course be enriched with enhanced Xbox Series games very soon.

The console, like the Xbox Series X, won’t have any exclusives to eat. Microsoft has indicated that all Xbox titles are dedicated to also release on PC. Some games (Xbox Games Studios and others via partnerships) will however be available on Xbox Series and not on PS5 and Nintendo Switch. Xbox will also have some temporary exclusives, such as the FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, which will then be released on other platforms.

The American giant also announced that for two years, all Xbox Games Studios games would be cross-gen, that is, they would launch on Xbox One and Xbox Series. Comments to qualify, because for the moment, Fable is only announced on Xbox Series when it is to be marketed in 2021 or 2022. With third-party publishers, each does as it sees fit. Some games will only be developed for the next gen when it debuts, others will land on both One and Series.

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