Microsoft Officially Announces Xbox Series S, Specs Revealed

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Brad Sams in Xbox with 26 Comments

Late last night, I broke the site by posting the first exclusive images of the Xbox Series S. Along with the console, I also reported that the price would be $299 and today, Microsoft is making it official.

The Xbox Series S was announced by the Xbox team today on Twitter and along with it, we now know the full specs.

The console will be all-digital (no disc drive) and run at 1440P up to 120FPS and feature Raytracing, variable-rate shading, variable refresh rate, a custom 512GB SSD, 4K streaming media playback, and upscaling to 4K as well – all for $299.

This is an aggressive price point by Microsoft and should help sell quite a few Xbox consoles this holiday season. While this box will not be for those with 4K displays, considering that a majority of TVs out in the real world are 1080P, this console will be perfect for those consumers.

Microsoft is also saying that this Xbox is their smallest ever and compared to Series X – it does have a much smaller footprint. And seeing as the console supports all the features of its bigger brother but in a smaller box and at a lower price, this will be the entry point for many consumers into next-gen console gaming.

All we need to know now is the actual availability. I expect pre-order to open up in a couple of weeks with retail availability (in the US), around November 10th.

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Microsoft Officially Announces Xbox Series S, Specs Revealed”

  1. IanYates82

    As an OG Xbox One user I'm now torn between going with this - since I only have a 1080p TV anyway - or going for the Series X.

    The 512GB internal drive may be a tad annoying. It'd be good to know that we can *move* next gen games to an external USB drive even if we can't play them from the drive. So long as we don't have to redownload them then that'd be OK and I could tolerate the 512GB. With some games topping 140GB these days it'd be awful to only have 5 or so games of average ~90GB each on the internal drive and have to redownload to swap them around.

    Do you know anything about that Brad?

    I'd assume that all Xbox One, 360 and original Xbox games would happily play from an external USB drive on the Series X or Series S, given that the current Xbox One systems do that today. Right?

    • SRLRacing

      In reply to IanYates82:

      Couple of things to note:

      All previous gen games are perfectly happy with an external drive.

      Smart Delivery should deliver a smaller game to you as you won't need the 4k assets.

      Though I have yet to see any mention of it it probably also has the ability to use the expansion SSD of the Series X so you can have 1.5TB of storage at any given time and the ability to swap out 1TB cards to store many many Series S|X games.

  2. crunchyfrog

    Am I the only one who thinks that the Series S looks like a transistor radio from the 1970's? All it needs is a telescoping antenna and the vision is complete.

  3. rug

    Hmm... it’s interesting and I’m sure a great option and price point for many. I am not to the point for completely ditching the disk. I only do digital games (except Deadpool as it’s not available digitally any longer), and still play and consume movies on disk.

  4. paulf

    Great price but if I can access XCloud game streaming on my current Xbox One then why would I want to buy another hardware console.

  5. Saarek

    Sounds like a bargain to me, hopefully this will pt the XBOX on a great footing this generation.

  6. Chasst

    Confused when you say it supports 4K streaming and 4K upscaling but “will not be for those who have 4K displays”. Why not use it with 4K display?

    and separately I read somewhere you can expand it with additional 1TB storage.

  7. jonzey

    The surprise announcement has pissed off the Microsoft PR teams globally, because no one was told in advance that the announcement would be happening. Phil Spencer is pretty good about coordinating announcements with the PR engine, so I wonder if someone will get smacked for letting it slip ad hoc...

  8. jollytiki

    I am going to have to make a choice between this or the PS5. I have had a PlayStation for since the PS3. I am thinking about changing brands... but I just am not sure yet. This looks good though at this price point. I haven't bought a disk in 6 years

  9. truerock2

    Yes, but can the Xbox Series S run the original 1993 version of 7th Guest?

    My Steam folder on my PC is 1.2TB and I have only downloaded some of my games from Steam since the last time I rebuilt my PC.

    My Good Old Games folder is 311GB and again only some of the games have been downloaded from GOG.

    And then there is - of course - my Electronic Arts folder, my Epic Games folder, Battle Net folder, PS1 emulation folder, PS2 emulation folder, DOSBOX folder, SCRUM folder, etc, etc. Oh, don't forget my ISO folder with hundreds of game CDs and floppy disk images... oh, that one is only 98GB.

    And, if legacy issues are an appropriate topic on this thread...

    I have floppy disk images of the original DOOM PC game by ID. I play them in DOSBOX. But, I really, really liked the old Microsoft Virtual PC (version 2004 and version 2007) application for running old virtual PCs. It was very much like running an old Intel 80286 or Intel 80486 PC. You could build your virtual PC part by part. It was a great way to enjoy old PC games.

    But, I also really like it when a software game vendor puts in the time to release a well crafted update of an old game. ID just released last week an update to the original 1993 version of DOOM and it is an excellent update. I absolutely do not like taking an old PC game and stretching the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 and distorting the video.

    • zeratul456

      In reply to truerock2:

      This is great for those that don't want to spend a lot of money, and don't even know how to use emulation.

      Also, Game Pass Ultimate is pretty neat.

      • truerock2

        In reply to zeratul456:

        I completely agree with both of your points.

        It's just that at some point I can't keep the family's old Nintendo Entertainment System around with the dozens for cartridges. It was very nostalgic getting rid of that. But, nobody ever used it. Maybe some one would play Super Mario or the Legend of Zelda for 30 minutes one time per year. The only reasonable solution was to turn to a NES emulator that runs on a Windows 10 PC... to get that rare NES nostalgia kick.

        But, then Nintendo came out with a miniature replica of the NES, named the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition. What a great idea! Big problem - they were so rare we were never able to buy one.

        Anyway, every time a new game console comes out I wonder if there will be some unique game that only runs on it and nothing else (and not a Windows 10 PC) that is a game I want to play.

        What I really want is for Microsoft to start providing the old "Microsoft Virtual PC" again so that I can re-live the old days of MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Oracle VirtualBox is just not good enough. Maybe Bill Gates could fund a Microsoft museum and Oracle and Microsoft could deliver some really great 808x PC emulators - even better than Microsoft Virtual PC.

        • Paul Thurrott

          I haven't looked, but I assume there's a Raspberry Pi-based solution for NES and you could get a cute little case that looks just like the NES. Pi is really big on emulation. I built a Pi-based Amiga for a friend a few years ago.
    • Paul Thurrott

      This is such a common use case I'm surprised anyone buys consoles. ;)
  10. glenn8878

    I'll wait for the sale price of $249.

  11. Jester

    Great price, but it only has 512GB SSD. Rumor is the Seagate Series 1TB add-on SSD will cost $150-$200. If that were the case this would not be a great price if you play more than a couple of games.

    • Jeremy Turnley

      In reply to Jester:

      Bear in mind that while you can't play Series S/X games from an external USB HDD, you CAN store those games on them, as well as play legacy titles from them. So you can put the games you are playing currently on the internal drive and save yourself re-downloading the ones you aren't by shuffling them off onto slower storage, as you continue to be forced to be a pack-rat and keep your games local by draconian ISP download limits.

  12. Jarrett Kaufman (TurboFool)

    This would be more tempting if I didn't still have some disc-based games, particularly legacy. Need to evaluate if any of those are still "necessary."

  13. roland00

    Do we know how much RAM this Series S has? If it has the same cpu and ram amount then this is good for compatibility reasons (with the amount of gpu being different due to different target resolutions.)

    • Jeremy Turnley

      In reply to roland00:

      Earlier specs from the Devkit had the RAM at 7.5GB usable, placing it around 10GB total assuming the OS overhead is the same between it and the Series X (which has 13.5GB usable out of 16). Considering it only needs less to work at 1440p, that should be sufficient.

      As far as compatibility, you just need to think of these like PC games - they'll just tweak some visual options like you have to do on a mid-range GPU vs a high-end one.

  14. Thretosix

    According to the described specs e.g. this should just beat out the One X considering the Velocity Architecture and SSD, there is always the expansion port for another 1TB. For $299 this is a great deal for the Series S and will likely be the best selling console of the holiday season. If the other "leak" is true with the Series X for $499 I may just have to get one. Was thinking it would sell for $599 making the RTX 3080 forcing me to think about skipping the consoles this time around. I can just wait another year for a RTX 3080 ti or RTX 3080 Super.

  15. Rodend

    This is exactly the device I need, at the price point I want. Now, if I can only convert the 2 or so games I have that are on disc to "download rights" I'll be happy. My Xbox One is the center of my family's media experience in the living room, so this will be substantial upgrade.

  16. asarathy

    Lack of optical drive is dealbreaker. Maybe there will be 350 option with a drive though

  17. brothernod

    Do we know how it’s performance compares to an. Xbox One X?

    i think the fact that they included an ssd at this price point is super impressive.

  18. crunchyfrog

    So much hype for a console that frankly I can do all of that with my custom built PC, use an Xbox controller and I subscribe to Game Pass.