It’s been a contentious week for the Xbox Series S as some developers have chimed in, sharing their frustrations about Microsoft’s mid-range console.
One of the latest to share Xbox Series S critiques is Ian Maclure, visual effects artist at Bossa Studios, the team behind indies like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Fish.
“Studios went through a development cycle where the Series S ended up being an albatross around the neck of production,” Maclure wrote in a series of tweets that have since been protected, “and now that games are being firmly developed with new consoles. in mind, teams don’t want to repeat the process.” (thanks, VGC (opens in new tab)).
Maclure also stated that “developers have been sitting in meetings for the past year desperately trying to lower the S-Series release requirements”.
To be fair, the worries don’t come from a reactionary place. The Series S is a capable console with specs comparable to the more powerful Xbox Series X. But the scaled-down device has only 4 teraflops of processing power as opposed to its beefier counterpart’s 12 teraflops. This is a pretty significant downgrade that takes a lot of power away from developers.
The true value of the Xbox Series S
I can see why Microsoft’s development mandate for the Series S might frustrate developers who want to use all the power that the Xbox Series X provides, but since modern consoles like the PS5 are subject to price hikes, mid-range consoles like the Xbox Series S become valuable and welcome, especially in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are luxury purchases, and relatively few consumers can go out and buy one, even as the stock shortages begin to ease.
From a consumer-friendly perspective, the Xbox Series S provides a powerful entry point into the current-gen market. It can output crisp 1440p resolution, with frame rates up to 120Hz on compatible TVs and monitors.
And with access to the Xbox ecosystem, including Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming, Xbox Series S gamers still have hundreds of games at their fingertips, all without breaking the bank on a much more expensive console.
A handful of downsides are worth criticizing, for sure. It cannot output true 4K and has a relatively small (but extremely fast) 512GB internal storage and some memory restrictions. But these days, the Xbox Series S and consoles like it are important when the other current-gen options are incredibly expensive.