Microsoft has unveiled its next generation Xbox, and for the first time there are two of them at launch ̵1; Xboxes? The Xbox? But even though the PlayStation 5 mainly comes in “disc” and “disc-free” versions, there are actually several major differences between the smaller Xbox Series S and the larger, more powerful Series X. Let’s break them down.
Microsoft has dipped its toe into digital consoles with the Xbox One S Digital Edition. The S series even looks a lot like that machine, because it is also a white rectangle that lacks a disk drive. But to make a long story short, the lack of a disc drive means that the Xbox Series S cannot play the physical games you buy at retail or ship in the mail.
For many players, it will not be a big deal. It is especially true now that almost all modern AAA games need to be installed on the console’s storage device anyway, disc or no. As a PC player myself, I think the idea of playing on discs is somewhat old-fashioned.
But it is worth considering that the physical distribution of games is one of the benefits of game consoles. Not only can a game disc be resold or bought to save some dough, it can be rented in a store or kiosk or shared between friends who have the same console. Daring as a vector for cheaper and more accessible games, the disc memory on the Xbox Series X seems like much less luxury.
Oh, and the Series X is also a 4K Blu-ray player, in addition to standard Blu-ray discs and DVDs. Again, it may not matter if you mostly watch movies over streaming, as both machines work well as streaming gadgets. But having the option for records gives you more opportunities for sales, used purchases and sharing. And if it was not obvious: Xbox Series X can also buy and download digital games.
Those whose entertainment centers are on the small side may think that the spacious Xbox Series X is too much to handle: At a little less than 6x6x12 inches, it is closer to the size of a full desktop computer than a regular gaming console. However, the S series is only 6 × 2.6 × 11 inches, less than half the volume. It is also half the weight: just over 4 pounds against just under 10 pounds.
Most users have no problem with the size of the game console. Both Series X and Series S can lie on their sides or stand upright, but you must ensure that they have sufficient airflow. So even if the larger unit does not fit in what furniture your TV is sitting on, the odds are good that you can find somewhere to hang out.
Apart from the disk drive and dual storage capacity (1 TB SSD storage compared to 512 GB on Series S), Series X also has an undeniable edge on Series S in terms of computing power. Short:
If you do not know what all these numbers mean, here’s it: Xbox Series X is about two to three times as powerful as Xbox Series S. According to Microsoft, Series S can handle games with a resolution of 1440p and 60 frames per second, while the Series X can do full 4K resolution at 60 fps, with enhanced visual features such as beam tracking and (possibly) 8K support if your TV can handle it.
Of course, it all depends on the games you play and how good it actually is uses all that hardware. While the latest Halo looks sharper, softer and more beautiful on Series X and plays Minecraft will be more or less the same on both machines. In layman’s terms, the Xbox Series X has far more power for it than the extra $ 200 price difference might suggest.
But can it play more games? The answer is no. “According to everything Microsoft has shown us, all next-generation Xbox games will be played on both Series X and Series S. The former will play them better, at least if they are complex enough to strain the hardware. going for the cheaper series S will not limit your game choices beyond the limit for digital purchases.
In addition, backward compatibility will be the same for both machines: Microsoft claims that both consoles are compatible with “thousands” of older games for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox. Many of these games can be played with improved performance and graphics on the new hardware. Again, if you go with Series S, you have to own the game on your Xbox account, as it cannot play discs.
It is technically possible for a developer to create a game that needs extra power in Series X to be played. But that would be unlikely, not just because it’s not a smart deal to cut out a large portion of your potential game-buying audience.
Xbox Series S costs $ 300, Series X is $ 500. As we have shown above, if all you care about is pure graphic fidelity, X is a clear winner. If you do not really care about all the latest possible rendered pixels, and you do not mind the limitation to digital games, S can make sense.
Again, keep in mind that if you go to Series X, you can find game discs sold at retailers, buy used discs and rent game discs, as well as share them around, something that is not possible with Series S. I think extra flexibility is worth the price, provided you plan to play lots and lots of games. If you just want a machine for Fortnite and two or three games a year, it may make sense to save the initial money.
There are a few other things to keep in mind here as well: Microsoft is pushing the all-digital Xbox Game Pass hard. It seems to give the edge to Series S. But it also combines it with a sweet deal and zero interest rate financing if you pay month to month. In these terms, an extra $ 10 per month may seem like a minor hurdle to the upgrade.
Pre-orders are now available at the Microsoft Store, Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, Walmart, Newegg and others. The consoles will be released on November 10.