Xbox Series S is officially $299 and the ‘smallest Xbox ever’: Everything we know so far

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Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox Series X console will be hitting store shelves later this year: We know this. But after rumors swirled around a less powerful, less expensive Xbox Series S targeting 1440p, all-digital gameplay rather than 4K, we got an overnight leak followed by a tweeted confirmation on the Xbox account, confirming the name, that it will cost $299 (£250, or about AU$450) and is “the smallest Xbox ever.” 

And what looks like a leaked ad or announcement also popped up on Twitter thanks to the frequently accurate WalkingCat, with more details about the specifications and design.

According to the video, it will be all-digital, support 1440p up to 120 frames per second, have a Velocity Architecture 512GB SSD, be able to upscale games to 4K and stream media at 4K. It’ll also support similar next-gen features, including DirectX raytracing, variable rate shading, variable refresh rate and “ultra-low latency” (which likely means Microsoft’s Dynamic Latency with the controller). The video also mentions the unsurprising Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tie-in.

After a dribble, the leaks ramped up to include some basic specs; notably, that it uses the same processor as the X but a lesser graphics processor, has no disc drive and is about half the size of its big brother. From the photo, it definitely looks like half of a Series X.

The cheaper console had a code name of Xbox Lockhart, but when leaked packaging for a next-gen Xbox controller was discovered on sale by a Reddit user, we saw its official name as the Xbox Series S. Then someone posted on Twitter that he’d received a gift card for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate that included a reference to a console with that name.

The controller packaging notes that the controller works on Xbox Series X, Series S, Xbox One, PC, Android and iOS devices. The Reddit user, Zakk_exe, claims to have bought it on OfferUp for $35, and that it came with a code for Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate subscription service. If the the leak is accurate, it would be the second one to hit the Xbox console. We first heard about a second next-gen Xbox launching alongside the more powerful Series X when developer notes leaked in June.  

How much will it cost and when can we get it?

$299 and we still don’t know. Microsoft did say it’ll share more information soon, so it’s possible that Microsoft will formally announce it at its next event — that was rumored for the end of August, but it didn’t happen. The Series S is more than likely to ship in time for the holiday shopping season though it’s not clear whether it would be a concurrent launch with the Series X in November.

The common expectation is that the Series X will come in at about $500, so pricing the Series S at $300 makes sense. This model would also give Microsoft a less costly version to bundle with its Xbox All Access subscription, despite having announced that subscribers will get the Series X last year, when it was known as Project Scarlett. But that’s pure speculation. 

How does it differ from the Xbox Series X?

The Series S is about a half the size of the Series X. That’s in line with the rumored spec differences, which include the same eight-core AMD processor (though there’s no info about the clock speeds), but 512GB SSD, a GPU with half the compute units (20), a slower clock speed (1.55GHz) and only 10GB GDDR6 (compared to 16GB); the result is a third of the bandwidth, 4TFLOPS instead of 12TFLOPS. As a result, it will generate far less heat and require less power, which means less active or passive cooling required. Combine that with the lack of an optical drive, and you can cut a lot of volume out of the console.

Microsoft's next-gen Xbox Series X console will be hitting store shelves later this year: We know this. But after rumors swirled around a less powerful, less expensive Xbox Series S targeting 1440p, all-digital gameplay rather than 4K, we got an overnight leak followed by a tweeted confirmation on the Xbox account, confirming the name, that it will cost $299 (£250, or about AU$450) and is "the smallest Xbox ever." 


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The console is supposedly targeted at 1440p/120fps gaming, rather than the Series X’s 4K/120p, which matches up with the specs as well. It probably uses the same storage subsystem, (PCIe 4.0) if it supports the Velocity Architecture, but we don’t know if backward compatibility will work the same. It will probably support Smart Delivery, though. 

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