Microsoft has already confirmed that the next-generation Xbox Series X will launch at the end of 2020, bringing with it 12 teraflops of computing power to drive games that simply wouldn’t be possible on current hardware.
That might not be all though, as it’s looking increasingly likely that the long-rumoured ‘Lockhart’ console - a cheaper, less powerful of the Series X - will soon be announced as the Xbox Series S.
Here’s what we know so far.
What is the Xbox Series S?
Put simply, this will be 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.
Going by the all-digital edition of the Xbox One S, it’s also possible that the Series S will omit a disc drive entirely, and stick purely to streaming and downloading games.
Will it come out at the same time as the Xbox Series X?
That’s the hope, so expect it in the same ‘Holiday 2020’ release window as the Series X and PS5, unless production delays this year get in the way.
As for the announcement, there have been plenty of rumours that Microsoft is working towards a showcase event to unveil the new console, alongside more details about the Series X and games.
Windows Central reports that Xbox employees have been testing the Series S at home since mid-April, which lends credence to the idea that a full launch is imminent.
How much will the Series S cost?
We don’t know, and since we don’t know how much the Series X will cost either, it’s hard to predict. Most people reckon the pricier console will sit around the 400-500 mark, so we’d hope the Series S will be something like £300/$300.
A price like that would also line up with the current One S, which starts from £199/$249 for its all-digital version - it makes sense that the next-gen model would start for a bit more than that, to give Microsoft room to drop the price over the next few years.
What will it look like?
Unsurprisingly we don’t really know. The image at the top of this article is a fan render that imagines what the Series S could look like - essentially a smaller version of the tower-like Xbox Series X, and in white rather than black.
That would match the colour conventions of the current Xbox range, and it certainly makes sense that the S would be smaller, since it will pack in lighter specs and thus need less cooling too.
What are the Series S specs?
There’s one concrete spec rumour, which comes from Windows Central. The site reports that the Series S will boast four teraflops of GPU computing power - impressive, but a drop from the 12 teraflops in the Series X.
That would actually put it on a similar power level to the current Xbox One X, but it’s likely to boast a few next-gen perks like SSD storage and maybe even some limited ray-tracing support.
As mentioned above, we also think it’s possible that it will drop the disc drive to save on space and cost.
What games will run on the Xbox Series S?
It’s expected that the Series S will run all the same games as the Series X, but will simply drop a few graphical features 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 2, Observer: System Redux, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Microsoft also revealed the first next-gen gameplay - from the more powerful Xbox Series X, admittedly - in an Inside Xbox stream on 7 May. Games showcased on this stream included:
- Bright Memory Infinite
- Dirt 5
- Madden 21
- Vampyre the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2
- Call of the Sea
- The Ascent
- The Medium
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Footage from Xbox Game Studios titles like Halo won't be revealed until the next Inside Xbox stream in July. In the meantime, you can check out all the trailers and gameplay revealed in May's stream below:
Check out our full guide to the biggest upcoming games for more of what's on the horizon.