Does Xbox Series S play all Xbox Series X games?

Xbox Series S Top View
(Image credit: Microsoft (screenshot))

Does Xbox Series S play all Xbox Series X games?

Yes, the Xbox Series S plays the same games as the Xbox Series X. This includes backward compatible games and next-generation titles

Does Xbox Series S play all Xbox Series X games?

Back in September 2020, the Xbox Series S was revealed after months of speculation and rumors concerning a lower-end next-generation console codenamed Lockhart. This console is available for $300 at retail — often lower, depending on the promotion — and is meant to be an easy entry point into the latest generation of console gaming.

This is one part of Microsoft's two-pronged next-generation strategy, with the other console, once codenamed Anaconda, taking the form of the more expensive and powerful Xbox Series X.

What kinds of differences can you expect?

The Xbox Series S can play every game that can be played on Xbox Series X, just at a lower resolution with some reduced graphical features. This means whether you're interested in third-party games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War or titles from Xbox Game Studios such as Halo Infinite, they can be played on Xbox Series S with next-generation features like seamless loading, 120 FPS support, and more.

While the Xbox Series S does support 60 FPS and even 120 FPS in specific games, it should be noted that some games do not have this option on Xbox Series S but do have it on Xbox Series X. Other games include ray-tracing on the Xbox Series X, but do not have any ray-tracing modes on the Xbox Series S. 

The storage speed of the two consoles is identical, with both having an ultra-fast internal SSD, as well as support for expanded storage. With that in mind, the Xbox Series X includes a 1TB internal SSD, while the Xbox Series S uses a 512 GB SSD, so you'll have a bit less space on the less expensive console.

You'll also be able to play backward compatible games from the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Of course, there are exceptions: It can't play your physical copies of those games.

What about physical copies?

The Xbox Series S does not have a disc drive, so it can't play discs. It's a digital-only device. You may have noticed that physically boxed Xbox games have an Xbox Series X logo but nothing for the Xbox Series S. This is because no physical games can be played on the Xbox Series S.

So, if you want to play your older Xbox games, you'll need to have digital versions of them. Luckily, Microsoft is good at having digital copies available (minus a few exceptions), so if you don't own a game, you can likely find it available on a service like Xbox Game Pass.

The Xbox Series S released back on Nov. 10, 2020. The Xbox Series X was released on the same day for $499. The price points and ability to play discs are just some of the factors you should keep in mind when figuring out which console is right for you this holiday season or beyond.


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Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.