Xbox Series S Release Date, Price & Specs
Microsoft is launching not one, but two new consoles this year. Alongside the souped up Xbox Series X, gamers on a budget might be more tempted by the compact and surprisingly affordable Xbox Series S.
It won’t play games in 4K – and has no disc drive, so it’s download-only – but in return you get a major price cut and a much smaller form factor, making it easier to fit into your living room. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Xbox Series S?
Put simply, this is a cheaper, smaller, less powerful version of the headline Xbox Series X.
The easiest comparison is to the current Xbox lineup: the Series S will replace the Xbox One S, while the Series X takes over from the Xbox One X as the more powerful big daddy of the Xbox lineup.
Like the all-digital edition of the Xbox One S and the upcoming Digital Edition of the PS5, the Series S will omit a disc drive entirely, and stick purely to streaming and downloading games. It also has reduced specs, which most importantly mean that it won’t be able to play games in true 4K.
For a more detailed breakdown of the differences, check out our full Xbox Series X vs Series S comparison.
When is the Xbox Series S release date?
The Xbox Series S will be available in the UK, US, and other markets from 10 November – the same day as its big brother Xbox Series X, with the PS5 also due around the same time.
Pre-orders for the console have already begun, and while it seems to be sold out entirely in the US, there’s still stock at a few retailers in the UK:
If you’re in the US, your best bet is to keep checking all of the following official retailers, sign up for stock notifications, and hope you get lucky: Microsoft Store, Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Newegg
Check out our full Xbox Series S pre-order guide for more.
How much will the Series S cost?
Here’s the good news: the Xbox Series S will cost just £249/$299.
That’s even cheaper than we’d predicted for the console, and only slightly more than the All-Digital Xbox One S currently costs at £199/$249. It’s also far less than the £359/$399 PS5 Digital Edition, the closest next-gen rival.
It’s a big drop down from the £449/$499 main Xbox Series X, marking a significant saving for those willing to save money by skimping a little on specs.
There is one big downside: it only comes with 512GB storage, compared to the 1TB in the Series X. That may sound like a lot, but game sizes are always growing, so that 512GB could only end up letting you install a handful of games at once.
Making matters worse, the new Xbox consoles use a proprietary expandable storage format, and the first card – a 1TB card from Seagate – costs $219. That means expanding the console’s storage almost doubles its price, at least at launch. Bear in mind that you can still use a normal external drive over USB, but you won’t be able to play new games from this drive because of the lower speeds – instead you’d need to swap games back and forth between the drives every time.
What does the Series S look like?
The Xbox Series S should look familiar to Xbox fans, sticking with the company’s current design language but bringing it to a slimmer, shorter form factor.
The new console is all in white, except for a large black disc across the top, which looks like it doubles as extra ventilation for the console.
The reveal trailer above claims that the console is about 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X, and that mostly comes from slimming it right down. Losing the disc drive presumably doesn’t hurt either.
What are the Series S specs?
Here are the headline specs for the Series S:
- Similar 8-core 3.6/3.4GHz Zen 2 CPU to Series X
- AMD RDNA 2 GPU
- 512GB NVME SSD with Xbox Velocity Architecture
- 10GB RAM
- 1440p up to 120 FPS
- Ray tracing support
- 4K media playback
- 4K game upscaling
The main thing to know is that this is running on a similar CPU and SSD to the main Series X (albeit with only half the storage capacity), and so will play all of the same games, and enjoy the same phenomenal load times and perks like Quick Resume.
Find out if your TV is compatible with the Xbox Series S.
The big difference is in the GPU, where Microsoft has decided to prioritise frame rate over resolution. That means that the Xbox Series S supports frame rates up to 120fps – just like its big brother – but caps out at a resolution of 1440p, rather than 4K. There is hardware-driven 4K upscaling though, so you’ll still get some benefit if you own a 4K TV, but it won’t be true 4K.
For more details, check out this official deep dive into the console’s specs and performance:
What games will run on the Xbox Series S?
The Series S will run all the same games as the Series X, but will simply drop the resolution down to 1440p in order to do so.
That means it should play all of the games confirmed to release on the next generation of consoles, including Halo Infinite, Cyberpunk 2077, Hellblade 2, FIFA 21, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
There is one minor oddity: while the Series S will have the same backwards compatibility as the Series X – namely playing almost every game from the previous Xbox generations – it won’t be capable of playing the graphically Xbox One X versions of Xbox One games. That’s because it has slightly less RAM than the Xbox One X – despite being a more modern console. It will still play all those games, but only the standard Xbox One version, without any graphical enhancements introduced for the One X.
If you’re mostly concerned with which games will be available from day one, check out our Xbox Series S launch game list for the latest, though these titles have all been confirmed for launch day at the time of writing:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- Dirt 5
- Gears 5
- Gears Tactics
- Tetris Effect: Connected
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Check out our full guide to the biggest upcoming games for more of what’s on the horizon.