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Xbox Series S targets 1440p 120 FPS, with ray tracing support

Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has unveiled Xbox Series S, a more affordable next-generation Xbox console, accompanying the upcoming Xbox Series X flagship. Outlining a new two-pronged approach into the next wave of consoles, a sizeable shakeup from the tried and tested one-size-fits-all seen with Xbox One. Like Xbox One, divided by Xbox One S and Xbox One X, the two tiers of next-gen Xbox consoles look to represent the high-end and entry-level under the new Xbox family.

The Xbox Series S retains many of the Xbox Series X signatures while scaling back performance to pursue a lower price tag. That includes the same Zen 2 and Navi architectures from AMD and advancements in high-speed solid-state storage, priced at $299 in the U.S. The resulting console is expected to deliver four teraflops (TF) of graphical processing power, on paper providing a third of the 12TF boasted by Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series S

Source: @_h0x0d_ on Twitter (Image credit: Source: @_h0x0d_ on Twitter)

While Microsoft has confirmed the Xbox Series S' existence, additional leaks have provided further context around the device internals. A leaked commercial (via @_h0x0d on Twitter) now details expected performance, with the company allegedly targeting 1440p resolution on the console, with support for up to 120 FPS. The device will boast next-generation features seen on Xbox Series X, including dedicated ray-tracing hardware and support for variable rate shading (VRS) and variable refresh rates (VRR).

The Xbox Series S will also feature a custom NVMe SSD, which partially contributes to the advancements seen on Xbox Series X. The lower-tier console will ship with a 512GB onboard SSD, smaller than the Xbox Series X's 1TB, with support for the same SSD expansion cards developed in collaboration with Seagate. That brings faster loading times and support for Quick Resume multitasking across multiple games, as previously announced for its flagship.

The Xbox Series S is expected to make its arrival on November 10, alongside the Xbox Series X, in the U.S. The two consoles reportedly cost $299 and $499, respectively, launching in existing Xbox markets across the globe.

Xbox Series X/S

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Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

31 Comments
  • Hopefully its all the same ports.
  • There’s a reason why only Xbox has been transparent all along, they have disclosed a full naked hardware breakdown with Digitalfoundry way back in February so that we don’t need to rely on “industry sources”. There’s a reason why Microsoft waited longer before locking down on specs, which’s why devs got their kits way later. Everything will be ultimately revealed crystal clear later this year when Digitalfoundry shows the Cyberpunk gameplay comparison finally.
    Xbox Series X will launch in holiday with largest game lineup, thousands of enhanced titles ready to play day 1. Gamepass, cross-generational backcompat and initiatives like Smart Delivery are the biggest pro-consumer and pro-developer moves right now.
    You can go play your pay-again Spiderman stand-alone DLC built on same last gen assets/engine and then wait for the R&C which is basically a tech demo (which can also run on XSX according to a Sony game dev). But everything will be crystal clear for everyone to judge when Digitalfoundry finally runs some real dense open world gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077 later this year. Epic game devs already confirmed UE5 running at 1440p30fps which can be also run on a 2080Ti at 40fps cuz it only requires mbps level bandwidth.
    We can wait for real next-gen Hellblade 2, Flight Simulator, Fable, Avowed, The Initiative.
  • I agree with everything you just said in your post. Don't get me wrong, I loved Spiderman 2017. But a Stand-alone DLC , will not make me go out and shell $500. Everyone keeps saying that because Halo was delayed Microsoft is doomed. I think differently, they have a competitive price on both next-gen consoles and Game Pass. For those that didn't try out or pick-up an Xbox, this current gen. This is a good way to join the Xbox ecosystem. They have some good games from last gen and new one coming. If Microsoft delivers on the first party front, they got Sony from all angles. Plus, I would like Sony to be challenged. As they need to get off their high horse and start offering some consumer and just overall gamer centric features. Maybe, some backwards compatibility. Improve PS now. Right now if PS5 is the same price as the Series X, then its the weaker system at the same price of a better technical console.
  • Focused on just one game? Not sure why you commented...
  • Looking at comments from around the web, it feels as though gamers are more ready to embrace the S than the X.
  • Go figure, price is important to the non-hardcore.
  • I have a 4K TV but I game on a 1440p monitor (with no plans to upgrade) and the One S is starting to sound more appealing. In theory, I could get all the next-gen graphical affects but at a lower resolution. And considering Microsoft's recent acquisitions consists of a lot of small/medium sized studios, I expect them to produce good looking games but not on the same level as major third party developers. On paper, it doesn't sound like I would miss much on the S other than 4K gaming. Oh, and considering the pandemic, the $300 entry fee is likely to entice a lot of cash-strapped gamers that might be looking to spend a little less this holiday season.
  • Indeed. You would be missing another half a gig of a SSD, but hopefully the expandable storage can take care of that.
  • That has never been a problem for me. I'm one of those weird guys that don't like digital clutter, lol. I delete games almost as soon as I beat them. I'd rather download a title than let it sit there for months (more accurately, years) un-played.
  • Half a TB... not GB..
  • Yeah, sorry. Not sure how I did that.
  • That's because for the same price people would rather just buy a PS5, but for a cheaper price things change
  • Maybe for people that don't have hundreds if not thousands of dollars invested in a current ecosystem.
  • I don't think ecosystems change much, I mean these ecosystems are barely different from what we had with previous consoles, yes games changed from physical to digital but those aren't any different in practice.
  • Thats my point. People are locked into the one they are already are on. Unless they do both or are a casual gamer who doesn't care.
  • I hope their Smart Delivery is on point. That hard drive is small.
  • I dont think thats going to save that much space. I can get around 3 to 5 big games on my SSD thats that size. With the OS also on the drive, that may only be 2 to 3.
  • You can park a game you aren't currently playing on an external hard drive. It should support the expansion card as well.
  • True, but hopefully that means they speed up moving games. That is a painful process.
  • There is no version of this where storage space isn't an issue if you don't delete games. The additional fast storage is great, but also will be expensive and likely won't have a 4TB version so ... I really would like more info on how external drives will be used versus the internal SSD
  • Its probably going to be how they said it will work on the Series X. If it is a X game, it needs the SSD to actually play ( you can STORE the game on the external). You can play older games on and external or the SSD. The expansion cards are supposed to work just like the internal SSD.
  • Smart Delivery will not help in this case.
  • What is the black circle on the side. Why did they choose to do that?
  • Its a hot plate, you didn't see the pictures?
  • Amazing! A "new-gen" console with weaker graphical processing power than an "old-gen" console without BR drive... So just like the SAD edition and PS5's own "sad" edition, this is another one that benefits mostly the manufacturer over everyone else...
    All this so that they can boost of having the "cheapest" "next gen" console... MS pushing that digital-only world that mostly benefits them... Hopefully many casuals who will go out looking for next-gen will be aware that this is a digital only and it's comparable to current gen when it comes to power... So, are we going to see games that will be playable on this and not on Scorpio?
    How quickly MS (& it's fans) moved on from that "most powerful" console after hyping so much...?
  • Alright Negative Nancy. I thought you would be happy that Microsoft is making an affordable option for the consumer since you always say that is what console gamers want. Also, a machine that can do Ray Tracing is not a weaker machine graphically than a machine that can't do that. This is a Series X with a smaller video card, storage and RAM. It would be like a PC thats 1K dollars vs one that is 1.5k or 2K.
  • I'm not here to be positive or negative. I'm here reacting to what's happening. You know my opinion about digital only consoles. I've been against this digital-only console. We know what they have done here. This console delivers four teraflops (TF) of graphical processing power. What happened to MS's 6TF of Power and 6>4 and all that?
    They made it lower or comparable to old gen hardware, took out the br drive and try to make this pass as a "next gen console". I think this would have been fine if it was an added console and if they had kept to their initial "beyond console generation" messaging. Instead they discontinued the Scorpio less than 3 years after release. The Scorpio could have easily been here too but NO they had to end that, AND bring equivalent console with the sticker "NEXT-GEN". Here they are clearly going for the casuals. They are pushing the digital-only MASSIVELY.
    I feel for those who believed the "Beyond generation" message that Spencer and MS pushed when selling Scorpio. And whether you feel it's negative or not, it doesn't really change my opinion about MS's direction here.
    1) I hope that casuals will be communicated that this is digital-only.... And 2) are we going to see games running on this and not the massively hyped Scorpio after 1-2 years? I'm all for consumers and gamers but the steps taken by MS with Scorpio and making it a digital-only. Choice would have been keeping Scorpio (having it run current gen games) or at least also having an equivalent to this Series S with a BR drive. MS knows that they can't do that because the XB1s was probably always selling better than the XB1sad.
    This is a massive slap to DIGITAL+PHYSICAL option that console gamer had.
    And these are even more signs of MS's push for a services...
  • If you aren't trying to point out only the negatives, you sure do seem like it.. These console prices are far lower than I personally thought they would be and from what i see on the rest of the internet most others think they offer value for the price. I think we need to hold out judgements on the consoles power until places like Digital Foundry get it and do some benchmarking on the two systems and compare them to the current system. I'm willing to believe MS for the time being that the other parts of the hardware like the SSD will allow the games to be built in different ways than they currently are in the future to allow for better graphical performance, even on a "weaker" GPU. If this turns out to be hype, well shame on them. At the same time this will be Sony, Nvidia and AMD failing in this regard too since this technology will be used everywhere. Regarding the services aspect, of course they are pushing them hard, this is how all console companies make money. I can't imagine how much of a loss this console and the X is to make for them in the end. It shouldn't be a surprise that this is how they will recoop the costs. You can hate their services all you want, but for some of us there is incredible value there. Also, they aren't taking the customer's choice away on phyiscal, if the customer wants they can spend more and get the disc drive. The $500 console is still a value for what you are getting and if you compare the extra $200 for the extras (including a 4K Blu-ray drive that you would spend around $150 for seperately) is really a nominal fee. Here you go, in case you haven't seen the propaganda video: https://youtu.be/fYtJWIxt3-M
  • Well, if you think I only point out the negatives, what will you say about all the people who only point the positives?
    I tell you honestly, I don't see a lot of positive as this is clearly done to kill choice of physical media. Why are people ignoring what they have done with Scorpio, all the hype and what it has become now? Are people purposely forgetting the "beyond generation" message used to sell XB1X, which turned out to be more bs...
    Sure we can wait DF, but I'm going with MS's TF messaging. Nope I haven't watch the video but now I have... Thanks, that just looks like a marketing video to me, and while I agree the presence of ssd will make some difference, but I wonder if some of the upcoming games are truly only playable on Series console and if Scorpio will really be unable to run them or it's just artificially created "next-gen" only games, like what Sony is doing with Spider-man.
    And if it is then where is the "Beyond generation" message now?
    I mean I'm yet to see a PC game that has SSD as the minimum requirement for PC. Even "The Medium" an high profile game that they say cannot run on old gen consoles doesn't say it needs a SSD to run on PC. Look at the specs for the game on Steam "Also, they aren't taking the customer's choice away on phyiscal, if the customer wants they can spend more and get the disc drive."
    That reminds me of 2013 when the guy said, if you don't have internet we have the 360 for you. Here if someone doesn't really care about resolution but wants a physical drive, his only option is the Series X.
    All I'm doing is comparing it to current generation. If Series S is suppose to be like XB1S, then wouldn't we have two version of the series S like now? This is a step down in terms of options compared to now. Isn't it a step down from what we have now? "The $500 console is still a value for what you are getting and if you compare the extra $200 for the extras (including a 4K Blu-ray drive that you would spend around $150 for seperately) is really a nominal fee."
    I don't know where you get that $150. Wasn't the difference between a S and a Sad something like $50 bucks? What really pissed me off here is the "beyond generation" messaging that turned out to be bs. And also how they are killing the choice of physical media for gamers. We know how popular the cheaper XB1s and PS4 slim were compared to the more powerful versions. This is MS clearly sending a message to gamers that they are done with physical games, and if you want it, PAY up...
  • I can't stand the positive twisting either and I call it out when it is worth it. In this case though, I can only really see the positives. $300 for a console (even if only digital) is an amazing price point to enter a generation (which honestly i dont even feel like saying generation and wish they really would have stuck with dropping it). I guess the only negative i see is the SSD size (i have been complaining for years that even 1TB is too small), but that would have certainly increased the cost by maybe $50. I see why they did it though so to me it is understandable. Yeah that video was marketing, obviously (thats why I called it propaganda), but they did kind of show some of the things I saw on digital foundry talking about on Series X. This console is not supposed to be like the previous S, it is supposed to replace the X of the previous gen (but actually out perform it). Like I said, we have to wait to see if this is actually the case and the new CPU and RAM makes that difference. MS just announced the technology coming to PCs to allow the SSD to be used like on the Xbox ( and I guess the PS?), so personally i think it will be a few years before SSDs will be a minimum requirement for a game. Regarding the $150 for the 4K Blu-ray player that is just searching for a stand alone (not PC internal) player. Most are still $200 or more!
    Should they have have done a disc version of the S? Maybe. At the same time I can see that maybe there isn't a point when they have the other console. I think they royally F'ed up when they made the SAD and should have took the loss, and to me it looks like that is what they did here.
  • I guess I found a negative. Dogital Foundry put out some info that this might not be able to run the X enhanced versions of previous games. It might be that the games need to be built for the new systems in order to get the visual benifits of the older One X patches. It should still be upscale, but some of these enhancements were really good for performance. I wonder how this will work.