Xbox Series S Loading Times Can Be Faster Than Series X, Spencer Says

Published: Friday, October 16, 2020 - 13:04 | By: Robert N. Adams
Lower Graphics, Faster Loading

Xbox Series S loading times can be faster than the Xbox Series X in some cases. Xbox's Phil Spencer made the surprising reveal today, highlighting that a more powerful console doesn't always mean the best performance.

Late last month, Microsoft released a trailer showing how the Xbox Series S loading times compare against an Xbox One S. The less-powerful, cheaper versions of each Xbox generation went head-to-head on loading The Outer Worlds.

 
 

Unsurprisingly, the Xbox Series S loaded The Outer Worlds nearly five times faster than the Xbox One S managed to do it. What's more surprising, however, is that Phil Spencer has said that the Xbox Series S can load games faster than the more powerful Xbox Series X in some cases.

Why Are Xbox Series S Loading Times Faster Than Xbox Series X?

How could an Xbox Series S load a game than the Xbox Series X, a more powerful console in every way? With lower overall specs that can only run the next Yakuza game at 900p/60fps or 1440p/30fps, it seems counterintuitive that the cheaper, less-powerful console could beat the more expensive Xbox Series X. The reason is simple: graphics.

Speaking to Kotaku, Xbox's Phil Spencer explained that he has an Xbox Series X connected to his downstairs television and an Xbox Series X connected to a separate screen in his office. Naturally, this allowed him to make some comparisons between the two consoles.

As noted with the Yakuza example (and echoed by Phil Spencer), the Xbox Series S loads lower-resolution graphics. Ultimately, that means that less overall data has to be loaded into memory when you boot up a game — and this means that the Xbox Series S loading times can actually be faster than the Xbox Series X in some cases.

Xbox Series S loading times slice

Will the Xbox Series X Always Load Faster than Xbox Series X?

It may be surprising that there are some cases where the Xbox Series X can load a game faster than the Xbox Series X, but you shouldn't expect it to be the norm.

The technical details of what it takes to load a game into memory are complex. The simple explanation is that a certain amount of time has to be spent loading each portion of the game — the graphics, the underlying code, the sounds, and so on.

A game's developer, in some cases, may not have been able to optimize the graphics of a game well enough for them to load as quickly as other portions of the game. In these cases, the lower-resolution graphics of the Xbox Series S could result in faster loading times. While this is certainly interesting, it also may be a quirk of the earliest games for the next-generation platform; as time goes on, more and more developers will likely optimize their games so that this doesn't happen.

 

The Xbox Series X is nonetheless a more powerful console in every respect; the rare instances of faster Xbox Series S loading times are an unusual situation that may not continue as the next console generation moves forward. An Xbox Series X is still the better choice for the best next-gen experience, although Phil Spencer's revelation about loading times shows that the Xbox Series S is no slouch, either.

Are you surprised to hear that the Xbox Series S can load some games faster than the Xbox Series X? Which of the two consoles are you more likely to buy? Let us know in the comments below!


Share On:

Featured Video (All Videos)

 

A photograph of Robert N Adams
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!