After a series of leaks last night, Microsoft has finally and officially announced their second next-gen console: the smaller, cheaper Xbox Series S. And it is cheap.
While the bigger next-gen machines from both Microsoft (Xbox Series X) and Sony (PlayStation 5) are expected to sell later this year for at least $499, this smaller console is priced at only $299.
The pros: if physical backwards compatibility isn’t an issue to you, and you’re not the type to trade-in your discs at places like GameStop, then the Series S will be very tempting. It’s almost the perfect Gamepass machine. And it’s $200 cheaper than we’re expecting for the Series X.
The cons: $200 is a lot less, so we’d expect some more serious compromises in terms of specs than just the loss of a disc drive. When we first reported on this console back in 2019, it was believed that the performance gap between the Series X and Series S would be around the same as the Xbox One and Xbox One X.
I’m really feeling the design, which isn’t as out-there as you might first assume. Sure, the huge black “speaker” grill for the ventilation is the first thing to draw your eye, but it’s not as wild as you might think, since it’s actually a continuation of a design trend we saw with the Xbox One S. It also gives the wee lil’ console a little character, a defining visual mark that helps it stand out (while also making it look like an intercom system from Control or Portal).
Microsoft says there’ll be a more thorough announcement “soon”.
Update, 9/8/20, 12:51pm—Here’s a trailer.
Per the trailer, the Xbox Series S launches November 10 and offers the following features:
- Resolutions up to 1440p at up to 120 FPS
- DirectX Raytracing
- Variable refresh rate
- Variable rate shading
- Ultra-low latency
- 4k streaming media playback
- 4k upscaling for games
- A custom 512 GB SSD
Most of these specs like “ultra-low latency” are vague, but the 512 GB SSD is a nice, firm, small number.