It’s official — thanks to a surprise reveal on Twitter this morning, the world now knows the Xbox Series S is a real thing, and it’s coming soon for $299. How soon, you ask? Nov. 10, which now means the Xbox Series S has a release date and the Xbox Series X still does not.
As far as what you can expect from the Xbox Series S, it appears the console will pack in a lot of the same features in as its older brother. You’ll still get DirectX raytracing. Variable rate shading and variable refresh rate will still be supported. It’ll be able to play games made for the Series generation of machines.
There are a few differences, however. Graphically, the Series S will be a little bit less capable, only supporting resolutions up to 1440p. And the included SSD will be a bit less beefy, too, coming in at 512 GB instead of 1 TB.
Now that the console is confirmed, a few questions still linger. Here are the ones we think are most pressing.
- Just what does “up to 120 FPS” mean?
The reveal trailer for the Xbox Series S touts the machine’s capability to display games at “up to 120 FPS.” What’s unclear, however, is just how many (or what types of) games could hit that mark. Is Microsoft saying Pong could be hitting 120 frames-per-second on the Xbox Series S? Or can we expect any game that hits 120 frames on the Series X to also do so on the Series S?
- Is 1440p the target for all games? And will frame rates stay high at that target?
The numbers look good on paper, but think about what you could say about this current generation with the Xbox One. Games could run at 1080p, though the results were hit or miss. Games that did run at 1080p, though, weren’t often running at 60 frames-per-second. The Xbox One essentially became a 900p, 30 frames-per-second box. If the Xbox Series S is a console that can’t often hit its 1440p target — and if most games stay trapped at 30 frames-per-second — it suddenly becomes a lot less compelling.
- Can storage be expanded?
Here’s something you didn’t get to see today: the back of the Xbox Series S. On the backside of the Series X, you get an expansion slot for a special high-speed memory card. This will come in handy, as games are only getting larger, and you can’t expand the drive inside the Series X. Will you be able to use expansion cards on the Xbox Series S? That question remains unanswered.
More details will undoubtedly be uncovered about the Xbox Series S in the weeks ahead. There’s little doubt, however, that if the console can do what it says — which is quite substantial — it will easily be the best full-on gaming machine you can buy for $299.
Stay tuned for more.