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Xbox Series S: Leaked document adds further weight to smaller console’s existence

Gamers are waiting patiently for the next generation of consoles, a generation they thought would consist of only PS5 and Xbox Series X. Now, recent reports hint that a cheaper, entry-level version of Microsoft’s new console could be inbound in the form of Xbox Series S. 

With another console rumoured to be added to the next-gen roster, fans are more eager than ever for the next-generation of gaming to arrive. Thankfully, those updates could be coming sooner rather than later.

Xbox Series S news – Leaked document hints at specs for the new console

A new leaked document from Microsoft has emerged online, once again hinting at the existence of a second next-gen console known as Xbox Series S. The report comes from The Verge, who has become a regular outlet when it comes to leaks relating to the next generation of Xbox.

According to the report, Microsoft is planning a second, cheaper and less powerful console known as Xbox Lockhart. It will feature many of the features found in Xbox Series X, but offer a much lower price point. It will provide a gaming experience at 1080p and 1440p, although increased resolutions and fancy features such as ray tracing might not be present, largely due to the power of the rumoured hardware.

The Verge claims that this new document describes a profiling mode, which is part of the Xbox Series X development kit. This devkit, codenamed Dante, allows developers to enable a Lockhart mode which lets them hit the performance profile expected from the second console.

In terms of specs, Lockhart will apparently feature 7.5GB of ram, a less powerful CPU and roughly 4 teraflops of GPU performance. This is far lower than Xbox Series X, which is arguably one of the most powerful consoles we’ve ever seen. That being said, it’s still no slouch.

It remains unclear when Microsoft plans to unveil this second console, or if it will launch alongside the Xbox Series X later this year. We imagine launching the most powerful console as a flagship would be the smarter move, since it will attract a number of passionate early adopters.

Xbox Series S – What we know so far

  • The rumoured Series S is a smaller, cheaper, less powerful version of the Xbox Series X.
  • It’s intended to appeal to gamers on a budget, or new gamers who don’t want to invest in a console with a next-gen price tag.
  • We’re expecting it to have the same game line-up as the Series X, but run less impressively, with longer load times and slightly less impressive visuals.

Related: PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series S release date – When is it coming out?

According to a new report from Windows Central, the Xbox ‘Lockhart’ will be shown off alongside the Xbox Series X in May – and may be titled the Xbox Series S. The full release of both consoles is expected around November, as Microsoft promised the Series X release would come “Holiday 2020”.

We’ve already seen the Xbox Series X specs sheet, and it’s pretty impressive. So, it’s not a huge surprise to hear that Microsoft could be offering a cheaper, entry-level version of their console. It’s more appealing price-point could lure in a few customers who are daunted by the (likely large) price tags of the Series X and PS5.

What are the Xbox Series S launch games?

We’re expecting the same launch line-up as the Xbox Series X, but the Series S is likely to come with longer load times and less storage, so don’t expect those games to run quite as smoothly.

We’re still building up a picture of which titles will be available on Microsoft’s next-gen consoles at launch. Rumours suggest that the company may take the opportunity to show off new games alongside the consoles at an event in May.

Here is the list of confirmed and rumoured games that could be headed to the next generation of Microsoft consoles:

  • Halo Infinite
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Fable 4
  • Forza Motorsport 8
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • FIFA 21
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 5

Related: When is the next Steam Sale?

Halo Infinite

What are the Xbox Series S specs and features?

The Series S is rumoured to be a four teraflop entry-level console for the next generation. Four teraflops don’t sound like a lot when you consider the 12 teraflops packed into the Xbox Series X, but it’s still pretty powerful – bear in mind the current Xbox One has just 1.3 teraflops of computing power and still loads up some pretty impressive gaming experiences.

Design – How does the new console look?

We’re expecting a smaller version of the large, PC-esque, Xbox Series X. As a result, the Series S may end up looking more like a traditional console than its big brother does.

Right now, we have the render above but no official imagery to go on. We’ll have to bide our time and see what the Series S looks like, but expect a more compact version of the Series X.

Related: Best Xbox Series X Games

Xbox Series X

Price and pre-order – How much will the Xbox Series S cost?

The question of price is hanging over both Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen console releases. Console makers typically sell their consoles at a very small profit, or even a loss, looking to make the real money elsewhere, on sales of games and accessories.

However, given the complications that have arisen in tech supply chains, thanks to coronavirus, there is a chance that the next generation of consoles could be more expensive than companies planned. As a result, we weren’t surprised to hear rumours that Microsoft was considering a two-tiered approach to its next-gen console release.

Thanks to those complications and the huge power of the Series X, that console is likely to be sold at a loss, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Series S also acted as a loss leader for Microsoft.

Ultimately it will be hugely important for Microsoft to compete on price with Sony as the PS4’s price being lower than that of the Xbox One was a decisive win for Sony in current-gen tech. As a result, the PS4 dramatically outsold its competitor, the Xbox One.

The Xbox One launched at £429/$499, and a similar price-tag wouldn’t be a surprise for the Series X. However, our current estimate is that the Xbox Series X might even be slightly more expensive than this, to accommodate the lower price tag of the Series S within the range. Right now though, all talk of price-points is pure speculation. Hopefully, we will know more next month.

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