Xbox Reveals Price and Release Date for Xbox Series S

Published on September 8, 2020

The smallest and cheapest Xbox ever is coming soon. What’s branded as the “junior” version of the Xbox Series S will cost $299. Starting November 10th, Microsoft’s new gaming system can be in your living room without taking up much space at all. Xbox announced a new slew of details today about the highly-anticipated gaming system. 

The Series S

The system is more compact for a variety of reasons, including no need for discs anymore. On the front of the gaming system, all there is is a power button, USB port, and a sync button for a controller. Here are the new features: 

  • All-digital
  • 1440p at up to 120 FPS
  • DirectX ray tracing
  • Variable rate shading
  • Variable refresh rate
  • Ultra-low latency
  • Custom 512 GB SSD
  • 4K streaming media playback
  • 4K upscaling for games

What else is new? Faster load times and instant game switching and 120 FPS. It won’t only be for 4K games, unlike the Series X. 

The Series X

The Series S isn’t the only new Xbox system on its way to game stores. There’s the Series X, as well, but Xbox hasn’t confirmed any major details about it yet. Details about the Series S leaked recently, which is why Xbox made the early announcement about its new features, release date, and price online today. The Series X is rumored to cost around $499, but that’s not confirmed yet, nor is its release date. Both new systems have been talked about for years.

4K Gaming is the Future

4K gaming is a huge step for Microsoft. It’s where the future is going for consoles. Years ago, when the company first started talking about the idea, tech and gaming fans had questions. According to Microsoft’s senior director of product marketing, Albert Penello, this is how they manage to achieve consistent 4K quality gaming: 

There are several components required to support the 4K UHD video playback that result in a combination of changes in the new console. First, we added a 4K HEVC decoder to the SoC to render the compressed video streams efficiently in hardware. Next, we updated the video output to HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2.  The interface revisions are all integrated into the SoC and enable outputting video at the higher bandwidths required for 4K UHD and HDR formats, as well as the copy protection tech required for protected content. And of course, we updated the optical drive to support the BD-UHD disc format.

Even though the Xbox Series S is smaller, will it overheat more? Penello explained why it won’t, and why Xbox decided to go smaller with one of its upcoming systems: 

Reducing the power consumption of the SoC opened up opportunities to reduce the size of the chassis significantly. We’ve been listening to feedback and we know people value smaller size and the convenience of an internal power supply, so these became critical factors when we were designing the Xbox One S. We applied the lessons we have amassed over the years in thermal and acoustic engineering and so we have a design that is not just more compact, but is reliable and quiet enough to blend into the background, whether you are playing a graphically demanding game or kicking back watching a movie. I think people will be just as happy with the volume level of the Xbox One S as they were with the original Xbox One.

Sony vs. Microsoft

Once again, both companies will face off in a bit of console war, as they have in the past. PS5 is due out later this year. Sony is expected to outsell Microsoft, but we’ll see. It’s an unpredictable year. We’ll see how COVID-19 impacts the sales of the gaming consoles. Obviously, with the high unemployment rates and families and more financially hurting due to the pandemic, sales will more than likely take a hit.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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