Why the Xbox Series S will run games designed for Xbox One in their 'Xbox One S mode,' rather than 'One X mode'

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

The Xbox Series S is the affordable alternative to the next-gen Xbox Series X, designed to replace the current Xbox One consoles. The Xbox Series S is, over all, a superior system to that of the Xbox One X, but with some drawbacks in terms of RAM and raw GPU power. While games running on the next-gen GameCore OS environment should perform better than they would've done on the Xbox One X, games being built first for Xbox One will remain in their "Xbox One S" version on the Xbox Series S, and not take advantage of the 4K resolutions offered by Xbox One X titles. However, games that are upgraded and optimized for the Xbox Series S could end up performing better, due to the more powerful CPU inside the Xbox Series S.

Gamespew obtained the following statement from Microsoft, clarifying the matter.

"Xbox Series S was designed to be the most affordable next generation console and play next generation games at 1440P at 60fps. To deliver the highest quality backwards compatible experience consistent with the developer's original intent, the Xbox Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR."

Despite the fact the Xbox Series S is capable of 1440p resolutions and 120 frames per second, the games need to be built and targeted specifically towards the Xbox Series S architecture. Older Xbox One games built on the "ERA" developmental platform will still get natural benefits from running on an Xbox Series S, including more stable frame rates, faster texture loading, and more consistent resolutions from games that use dynamic scaling. And of course, the Xbox Series S will have the NVME drive, providing much, much faster loading speeds.

For a true 4K next-gen experience, the best option was always going to be the Xbox Series X, which is priced in equivalency with the Xbox One X, complete with a per-month contract option called Xbox All Access. Still, for those who were hoping the cheaper Xbox Series S would be a definitive upgrade from the Xbox One X may be disappointed.

Which Xbox Series console are you planning to buy? Let us know in the comments.

Xbox Series X/S


Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!