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.

Xbox Series S vs Series X

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.

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 begin earlier, on 22 September, and start from 8am in whatever country you're in. For the US and Canada that means 8am PT, and anyone in other countries with multiple time zones should double check theirs too.

Microsoft has already confirmed a few retailers that will definitely have stock, but this isn't an exhaustive list:

UK: Microsoft Store, Game, Amazon, Carphone Warehouse, Currys PC World, Argos, John Lewis, Smyths Toys, Very, AO, Tesco, Simply Games, ShopTo

US: 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?

This we do know, and it's 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.

Xbox Series S side

It's also 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.

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, and so will play all of the same games, and enjoy the same phenomenal load times and perks like Quick Resume.

Xbox Series S specs

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 2FIFA 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
  • Fortnite
  • 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.