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Xbox Series S: Everything you need to know from release date to specs, games, and more

GamesRadar logo GamesRadar 26/10/2020 Josh West
a close up of a speaker: Xbox Series S standing up with Xbox Series S controller © Provided by GamesRadar Xbox Series S standing up with Xbox Series S controller

The Xbox Series S is the smaller, more affordable next-generation console from Microsoft, aiming to offer you the next-gen experience at 1440p and significantly less investment. In fact, it's the smallest Xbox the company has ever built, and it is going to arrive on November 10, 2020. It's designed to be an affordable alternative to the Xbox Series X, positioned for those of you that want a next-gen experience without investing in 4K. 

Below you'll find everything you need to know about the Xbox Series S, including details on its design, price, release date, and specs.

Xbox Series S design

The Xbox Series S is designed to be a cheap entry point into the next-generation. It's part of the new, next-gen 'Xbox' series of consoles, arriving as a cousin to the powerful Xbox Series X. While the Xbox Series X boasts support of 4K resolutions at 120 frames-per second, and a state-of-the-art SSD drive to improve everything from loading times to game performance, the Xbox Series S is reportedly a more modest unit. 

The Xbox Series S boasts a smaller form-factor than the Xbox Series X (it's 60% smaller, to be precise), arrives at a more agreeable $299 price point, and it has dropped the disk drive entirely. This all-digital machine looks an awful lot like the Xbox One X (which was discontinued in July 2020), albeit with a massive cooling vent on top of the unit. The Xbox Series S comes equipped with a USB-A port on the front of it, and can be positioned upright and lying down. The console will only be available in a cool "Robot White" colour at launch. 

Xbox Series S price

Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox Series S price will be $299 / £249 when it launches November 10, 2020. While Sony is yet to announce the PS5 price, and Microsoft is yet to confirm the rumoured Xbox Series X price, it seems likely that this will be the cheapest way to get access to next-gen technology this holiday season. 

With the Xbox Series X coming in at $499 / £450, that $200 price differential reflects the difference in raw GPU power and utility. If you want a future-proofed and top-of-the-line next-gen experience, then you'll want to invest in an Xbox Series X. If you aren't all that bothered about 4K – and have no plans to buy a 4K TV in the near future – but still want all the benefits of a next-gen system, then you'll want to invest in an Xbox Series S instead. 

You'll also be able to get an Xbox One S via a new initiative named 'Xbox All Access'. This finance service will let you get an Xbox Series S and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $24.99/month for 24 months. To see whether Xbox All Access is available in your territory, visit Xbox dot com. 


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Xbox Series S specs and features

The Xbox Series S might be 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X, but it won't be 60% as powerful. The system has an impressive amount of tech packed into that tiny box, delivering what Microsoft promises will be "the same next generation speed and performance that defines Xbox Series X". 

The Xbox Series S is basically designed to offer all of the next-gen benefits of the Xbox Series X, albeit at a lower resolution. So you should expect to see the Xbox Series S coming equipped with a similar CPU and identical I/O performance as its more expensive counterpart. 

The Xbox Series S has no disk-drive but it does come equipped with a custom NVME 512GB SSD powered by Xbox Velocity Architecture. That means that Xbox Series S owners will be able to take advantage of many of the next-gen features it has been engineering for the Xbox Series X, including variable-rate shading and variable refresh rates, ultra-low latency, and DirectX Ray-tracing, not to mention "incredibly fast load times" and "seamless game switching".

Basically, the biggest difference is in the resolution. This is a console for those that aren't interested in 4K or in upgrading to a 4K television just yet. Xbox Series S delivers 3x the GPU performance over that of an Xbox One, designed to run at 1440p resolution at 60 frames-per second, although it will also support games that run at 120fps. Microsoft has also promised that the Xbox Series S will support 4K streaming media playback and 4K upscaling for games (just in case you do decide to plug it into a 4K TV in the future). 

Xbox Series S games

When it comes to Xbox Series S games, you should probably start thinking of this thing as a Game Pass Ultimate machine. The Xbox Series S has the same support and functionality that the Xbox Series X does, meaning it will play all Xbox One games (aside from those outliers on Kinect), as well as all supported Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. The Xbox Series S will, of course, support all upcoming Xbox Series X games, including the likes of Halo Infinite, Fable 4, and Everwild.  

Given there's no disk drive, the focus here really is on Microsoft's Game Pass, Project xCloud, and Xbox Live. Microsoft will likely drive this point home over the next two months, trying to position its digital infrastructure as the make or break component in its next-gen strategy. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is an attractive subscription service – especially now that EA Play membership is being bundled into the package – offering a library of over 100 games for download, and its sync up with PC players and Android users (via xCloud, which is also part of a Game Pass Ultimate subscription) means it's only likely to grow and improve over time. 

Xbox Series S release date

The Xbox Series S is set to launch November 10, 2020, the same day at the Xbox Series X. Xbox Series S pre-orders go live on September 22. 

How this compares to the PS5 release date is currently unknown, with the latest rumour suggesting that the PS5 release may be staggered globally and start with North America

We will update this page as more information is released about the Xbox Series S, so be sure to drop back regularly for news and updates. 

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