[Updated] Lower Xbox Series S Specs Has Game Developers Worried

Published: Friday, September 11, 2020 - 13:08 | By: Robert N. Adams
Budget Price Means Budget Performance

Update (9/11/2020 2:05 PM EDT): Microsoft has released a statement regarding the Xbox Series S specs, confirming some of the fears of game developers about its underpowered performance.

Here is Microsoft's statement as provided to Gamespew:

 
 

"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."

Our original story continues below.


The Xbox Series S Specs is causing concern from game developers and tech gurus, some of whom are worried that the budget-friendly next-gen console may not be able to keep up with the best of current-gen games.

We got the announcement for the Xbox Series S not too long ago. The budget console's specs followed soon after and that let us get an idea of what this machine is capable of. Unfortunately, some people have found these specs wanting — and it's certainly cause for concern.

For example, take a look at Digital Foundry's analysis of the new console:

Several key points are highlighted in the video, but one major takeaway is the RAM. The Xbox Series S specs mention that it will have 10 GB of  GDDR6 RAM. As a point of comparison, the Xbox One X has 12 GB of GDDR5.

Two gigs of RAM might not seem like much — especially considering that the Xbox Series S is using a newer generation of RAM — but quite a few game developers have highlighted potential problems.

Here's the worst-case scenario: the Xbox Series S may not be able to crank out the power needed to play Xbox One X games at their best.

Xbox Series S Specs slice

 

Devs Sound Off on Xbox Series S Specs

Remedy Games' Senior Technical Producer Sasan Sepher stated that while he loves the Xbox Series S as a consumer, he has some concerns about game optimization on the budget console. His issues were shortly expanded upon by another Remedy employee.

"S has same CPU as X," explained Remedy's Communications Director Thomas Puha. "GPU is much closer to One X. Way less memory than Series X, so the idea is to drop texture resolution/quality and hope that makes up for the loss in available memory. Gonna be an interesting balancing act[.]"

The RAM served as one particular point of focus. AMD Memory Systems Performance Architect Phil Park called it "interesting," but Infinity Ward's David Mickner highlighted concerns about potential bottlenecks.

Two iD software employees also raised concerns, with the company's Lead Engine programmer categorizing the memory situation as a "big issue."

 

Clearly, game devs are uncertain about how well the Xbox Series S specs will perform in the real world. Some, however, are more concerned than others.

Observe just a tiny portion of this epic Twitter rant from Squanch Games' Senior Gameplay Programmer Dan Weiss:

From what these game developers have said, I think it's reasonable to be worried about whether or not the Xbox Series S specs will be able to keep up with Xbox One X games, much less anything coming out in the next generation of console gaming.

That said, game developers are quite good at innovating when needed. If CD Projekt Red can make a gorgeous game like The Witcher 3 work on the relatively underpowered Nintendo Switch, then I'm confident that these game developers (and others) will be able to make the most of the Xbox Series S.

Are you worried about the Xbox Series S specs or do you think this new console will be able to get the job done? Are you leaning more towards buying an Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X? Let us know in the comments below!


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Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!