With the Xbox Series S, Microsoft launched an entry-level console at the beginning of the current generation, which is sold cheaper than the other new-gen consoles, but also has less performance. Apparently, this is increasingly causing problems for developers.
Sony and Microsoft started the new generation with two console models each. With the 100 euro cheaper Digital Edition of the PS5, only the disc drive is missing. Microsoft went a step further or back, depending on your point of view, and launched the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, two consoles that have very different capabilities in terms of performance.
Even before the launch of the new consoles, Xbox boss Phil Spencer referred to the low entry hurdle created with the Xbox Series S budget model. Simultaneously he assumedthat the slimmed down console can trump Xbox Series X sales over the course of the current generation.
However, the Xbox Series S seems to be developing more and more into the bottleneck of the current generation. Just recently, a Rocksteady developer spoke of one Potato GPU and later deleted the tweet. Regardless, the Xbox Series S GPU has become more common before identified as a problem.
Developers call for the end of the support obligation
Other voices from the industry confirm that the criticism of the Xbox Series S and its performance are not individual opinions.
This includes VFX artist Ian Maclure, who worked at Bossa on the Xbox Series X/S and PC game I Am Fish. According to him, a number of developers tried to prevent the mandatory Xbox Series S versions of new games.
“It may sound corny, but the reason you’re hearing this so much now is that MANY developers have been sitting in meetings for the last year, desperately trying to drop the requirements of the Series S launch,” so Maclure praises the VGC and The Gamer.
According to him, the studios had gone through a development cycle in which “the Xbox Series S proved to be an albatross around the neck of production”. And with more and more games being developed just for the new consoles, teams don’t want to go through those hurdles again.
Development becomes torture
Earlier, in a series of now-deleted tweets in response to Gotham Knights’ lack of performance modes and being capped at 30fps, claimed Rocksteady’s Senior Character Technical Artist, Lee Devonald, said the Xbox Series S had to make compromises. It’s a current-gen console not much better than a last-gen console.
When asked about a hardware bottleneck, Devonald pointed to the Xbox Series S GPU, noting that multiplatform gaming “needs to be optimized for the lowest performance.”
It was followed by the reference to the aforementioned nightshade, as Devonald went on to explain that “an entire generation of gaming is being crippled by this potato” because Microsoft insists games be made for both the Xbox Series S and the powerful Xbox Series X to be published.
Digital Foundry’s Alexander Battaglia, in turn, wants some developers have experiencedthat the storage limitations make working with the Xbox Series S a “torment”.
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It remains to be seen how Microsoft will react to the increasing criticism from developers. However, it’s unlikely that the company will cut support for the slimmed-down console. On the one hand, it is considered the entry-level model for the Xbox Game Pass. On the other hand, millions of customers who already own an Xbox Series S would lose out in the future.
How often the Xbox Series S has actually been sold so far is open, since Microsoft does not publish any figures on hardware sales. Rumor has it that the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X combined have sold around 17 million copies. Assuming a 50:50 ratio, it becomes clear why Microsoft basically has to insist on continued support for the Xbox Series S.
More Xbox Series S news.
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