Even though Microsoft was forced to reveal its hand as much as it would have liked, the reception of the Xbox Series S has certainly been positive since its appearance. “Smallest Xbox Ever” promises to deliver all the next-gen features gamers will enjoy on the Xbox Series X, such as ray tracing, super-fast load times and more, very Low Price. At only $ 299 / £ 249 / AU $ 499, it is one of the cheapest consoles in some time.
However, deductions have been made to achieve this attractive price point. The console will target 1440p resolution instead of 4K, and is significantly less powerful than its boxy big brother. It is digital only, meaning there is no disk drive on this model.
The main point of contention with Microsoft’s entry-level device seems to revolve around the size of the SSD. In fairness, this is hardly surprising. Most games these days require at least 40GB or more of a hard drive, while some are determined to pick up every gig available – I’m looking at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. But if we deepen a bit, it may not be as bad as it seems at first.
With the move to 4K gaming, the file size has increased rapidly. The Xbox One X patch is much larger than those on the Xbox One S, simply because there is more data that needs to be downloaded for things like 4K textures. It is safe to assume, then, that the game for the Xbox Series S, which is targeting 1440p, will not use 4K textures and should be significantly smaller.
The Xbox Series S will allow owners to expand the console’s storage in some important ways. Microsoft has partnered with Seagate to create expansion cards in the slot behind the console and to match the capabilities of its internal SSD. These 1TB expansion cards will give a considerable boost to storage for the Xbox Series S models, though the price will determine how viable they will be. It is likely that larger variants will also come in line later, also those who desire more space.
plug in Baby
But what about all the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and OG Xbox games you already own? Okay, if you have an external hard drive, these games can be stored comfortably from the console’s main SSD. With a 2TB external hard drive for cheap these days, it doesn’t cost much to catch hundreds of Xbox One games without sacrificing space on a super-fast SSD.
You can also store games that are specifically designed to take advantage of the Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X SSDs on external hard drives. When you decide you want to jump into a certain game, transfer it back to the main drive and you’re good to go.
Thankfully, it is becoming clear that most developers and console manufacturers are fully aware that file size is spiraling out of control. Many games have recently shrunk as devs get better at reducing file sizes or trimming fat with a few bits of code. Warframe is going to knock 15GB from its installed size for example, and Sea of Thieves also managed to tighten its digital footprint recently.
Be the driver
Initiatives such as ‘intelligent delivery’ will become common in this generation as well. This is when parts of the game can be downloaded or ignored, such as multiplayer components or various language packs that will never be used. By downloading only what you need, the game’s file sizes will shrink forever.
Xbox Series S owners will also have access to almost all of the console’s hard drives. Unlike most 500GB models, which were standard for most of this generation, the additional 12GB of storage that includes the Xbox Series S will act as a good buffer to prevent the system’s OS from taking up a large portion of the space.
Based on the success of the Xbox Series S, Microsoft will inevitably generate a new iteration with a larger hard drive. The price will increase, however, which I think Redmond-based company has reduced the appeal of the super affordable system. Either way, unlimited storage is a rarity and will always cost more.
With intelligent distribution, apart from a cheap or existing external drive and the ability to discard 4K resolution textures, the Xbox Series S should have enough space for most users. Let’s just thank that it comes with Nintendo Switch over 32GB…