An uncertain future for Microsoft’s Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series S, marketed as the accessible alternative to the powerful Series X, seemed like the perfect compromise for video game enthusiasts on a tight budget. However, with the revelations about the limitations planned with Baldur’s Gate 3, it looks like the budget console has some debts to settle.

The Xbox Series S is marketed as a budget alternative to the Series X. Indeed, while the latter is often compared to the PS5 in terms of capabilities, the Series S is made available for a cost similar to that of a Nintendo Switch OLED, or 300 euros, and often much less than 300 euros. But this saving comes with its share of compromises.

First of all, if the Series X can handle games in 4K, the Series S is limited to a definition of 1440p. This is largely due to hardware restrictions. In numbers, the Xbox Series S only offers 4 TFlops of processing power compared to the Series X’s 12 TFlops (the PS5, for comparison, comes in at 10.3 TFlops). This difference is considerable. In addition, the Series S has 6 GB less RAM than its big brother.

A first misstep

The news about the game Baldur’s Gate 3 highlighted the constraints of the Series S. According to Swen Vinckefrom Larian Studios, the game would be restricted on this console. Lack of split-screen mode is a glaring example. This calls into question Microsoft’s earlier statements that claimed both consoles would offer the same features and content, a notion called ” feature parity “.

Until now, the developers were limited in distinguishing between the two consoles only in terms of definition and frame rate. And Microsoft had imposed that if a studio develops for Xbox, it must do so for both versions. This recent announcement could therefore lead to fragmentation of the Xbox ecosystem.

Lasting impacts

Larian Studios’ announcement could have lasting repercussions. If other studios start throttling their games or worse, hesitating to develop for the Series S, the console could quickly lose appeal to consumers and developers.

The release of Baldur’s Gate 3 for Playstation 5 is imminent, scheduled for September 6, 2023. As for the Xbox version, it will have to wait, at least, until 2024. Could this discrepancy presage other announcements similar to the ‘future ?

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