After a flurry of leaks, Microsoft has been forced to prematurely confirm the existence of a second next-generation console: the Xbox Series S. The company hasn’t gone into too much detail — it says that will come "soon" — but it’s already said that the slim, white console will deliver “next-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever,” which is saying something when the Xbox Series X is already pretty tiny compared to Sony's rival console.
👀 Let’s make it official!— Xbox (@Xbox) September 8, 2020
Xbox Series S | Next-gen performance in the ˢᵐᵃˡˡᵉˢᵗ Xbox ever. $299 (ERP).
Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise. pic.twitter.com/8wIEpLPVEq
Microsoft has also confirmed the price, which as the earlier leaks suggested will be $299 (or £249 in the UK). Tipsters believe that the Series S features many of the same internals as the Series X, but cuts the disc drive and has a less-powerful CPU and GPU. This means it's not likely to be the best console for 4K gaming, but it will almost certainly be the cheapest way to play next-gen games.
A key feature of the design is what appears to be an enormous vent -- which is slightly larger than the size of a disc. It's a fair guess that a similarly enormous fan sits below to cool the console's components. (The Xbox Series X utilizes a single large fan and a huge vapor chamber to keep its parts cool.)
The Series S is visually similar to the Xbox One S, but from our comparison image above it looks to be around a third of the volume of the Series X, making it easier to position alongside other consoles and electronics in an entertainment center.
According to reports, both the Series S and Series X will be available to buy on November 10th. The Series S will likely be offered as part of a $25-per-month Xbox All Access financing option, making the cheaper console more attractive in global markets. The Xbox Series X will reportedly cost $499 and be made available via a $35-per-month Xbox All Access financing option.
no point holding this back now I guess pic.twitter.com/SgOAjm3BuP— WalkingCat (@_h0x0d_) September 8, 2020
Following Microsoft’s announcement, leaker h0x0d tweeted an apparent Xbox Series S promotional video, noting there was “no point in holding this back.” The video outlines a number of key specs for the system. The Series S will target 1440p gaming at “up to 120fps.” It appears to include the same feature set as the Series X, with raytracing, variable rate shading, variable refresh rate and ultra-low latency support. Games will be upscaled to 4K, and 4K media playback is confirmed. One major downgrade is the SSD: the system will only feature 512GB of storage. While not confirmed for Series S, the Series X has a custom port at the back of the system for expanding storage, and it’s likely Microsoft’s cheaper console will similarly allow for external storage upgrades. (The PlayStation 5 has no such port, although Sony will support upgrading the storage internally.)