At around three in the morning last night, Microsoft finally gave in and admitted the worst-kept secret in gaming (at least this month): they plan to release two XBoxes in the “Series” generation at once. One, the XBox Series X, we’ve already seen. The other, the XBox Series S, was clumsily leaked by retail documents and small-print mentions in other products…almost as if Microsoft wanted a leak, but no, that couldn’t be it.
The first thing that leaps out about the Series S is its design, instantly compared to a fast-food drive through loudspeaker by social media. We’re told it’s not a speaker, but a fan of some sort….hope it’s not a noisy one. The Series S is a tiny thing…a controller is by its side for comparison in all shots. It’s half the thickness of a Series X. But even tinier is its sticker price.
Everyone was expecting the S to be a cheaper version of the X, but only by $100. Microsoft went even farther and dared to cut the price by $200, meaning we actually have a $300 next-gen console in the year 2020. It’s a bold move and we have to wonder how Sony will respond (our guess is they won’t respond at all).
But if it’s that cheap, is there a catch? Yes, several. The lack of a disc drive is the most obvious one — it makes backwards compatibility kind of a useless feature. But if you’re fine with going all-digital, the size of the S’s solid state drive is a bigger issue…it’s just 512GB in size. With today’s beefy games, that’s gonna fill up fast. Better stock up on external drives!
However, the Series S IS technically more powerful than the XBox One X and boasts many of the features the Series X has, including DirectX ray tracing, variable-rate shading, 4K video streaming and upscaling, and the ability to play games in 1440p resolution at up to 120 FPS — though it’s up to the developers to support that last one.
The XBox Series X will go on sale November 10 for $299.99. Its big brother will also enter the market the same day for $499.99.