Microsoft announces Xbox Series S, a smaller, cheaper next-gen console
Microsoft has finally acknowledged its worst-kept secret. After months of leaks and rumors, the Xbox Series S has been officially confirmed as a smaller, cheaper, all-digital version of the company’s next-generation console.
Announced via a series of tweets, the Xbox Series S will pack in many of the same capabilities as its higher-powered sibling, the Xbox Series X. It’ll run games at a resolution of 1440p at frame rates of up to 120 frames per second (fps), and can upscale the resolution to 4K. Variable rate shading and refresh rates are accounted for, as is the focus on ray tracing – a lighting effect that calculates the path of individual photons of light to render more realistic shadows, reflections and light.
The Series S also gives you access to the same games and services. That includes Xbox Game Pass, a Netflix-style service with a library of over 100 games at the moment, and more being cycled in (and out) regularly. Microsoft has committed to making its extensive library of games from all four Xbox generations available to buy on the new machines.
The box itself is much smaller too – Microsoft says it’s the smallest Xbox ever built. It measures in at about 40 percent of the size of the Series X, so it shouldn’t hog all the room in your entertainment unit.
That involves some sacrifices though, and the Series S will likely have less powerful CPUs and GPUs onboard. It's also "all-digital" – that means no discs – but when everything is easily available for download or streaming, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for many people. That said, the built-in solid state drive (SSD) is only 512 GB, so you won’t really be able to cram too many games in there. There’s no official word yet on whether that can be expanded, but early leaks (and common sense) suggest it will.
But maybe the most impressive thing about the Xbox Series S is the price. At US$299 it’s the same price as a Nintendo Switch, making it a pretty damn generous entry point into the next generation.
We now also know when the thing will be released, too. Microsoft previously gave a window of November 2020, but that’s been pinpointed to November 10 for both the Xbox Series S and Series X.
Your move, Sony.
Check out the reveal trailer below.