Xbox Series S may not be able to play Xbox One X enhanced titles – here's why

Xbox Series S backwards compatibility
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Series S is Microsoft’s more affordable, entry-level console that promises to provide all the bells and whistles of next-gen gaming, albeit at a lower resolution. 

It turns out, though, that the smallest Xbox ever made may struggle to make the most out of backwards compatible games; specifically Xbox One X enhanced titles.

According to Digital Foundry, who noted the Xbox Series S has less system memory available to titles than the Xbox One X (8GB vs 9GB), the cheaper Xbox will most likely use the Xbox One S versions of backwards compatible games. 

That means games that were enhanced to support 4K resolution, such as Final Fantasy XIII, Red Dead Redemption and Sonic Generations, will run at their regular resolutions instead, which is often 720p.

“The Xbox One X has 9GB of system memory available to titles. The Series S has 8 [and] I’ve seen some reports that it’s actually 7.5GB,” said Digital Foundry’s John Linneman. “Regardless, with either configuration, it’s still lower than the Xbox One X, so I think it’s almost a full gone conclusion that the backwards compatibility will be drawing upon Xbox One S as opposed to Xbox One X.”

You can watch Digital Foundry's full analysis below:

Blast from the past

One of the best features of the Xbox One X is its ability to leverage the console’s additional horsepower to make older games look and play better than ever. Although the Xbox Series S reveal has been well-received due to its surprisingly low price tag of only $299 / £249 / AU$499, Digital Foundry’s prediction may deter some buyers.

This prediction doesn’t mean the Xbox Series S isn’t a capable little device, though. The console is can manage frame rates of up to 120fps, ray tracing and 4K upscaling. It also includes a super-fast SSD which takes advantage of the new Xbox Velocity Architecture, which lets users suspend and resume multiple games at a time.


Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.