Microsoft’s more affordable console has weaker specifications than the flagship Xbox Series X, which has led analysts to speculate that the console could struggle to keep up with the ambitions of game developers as the console generation progresses.
In an interview with WCCFtech, 4A Games chief technical officer Oleksandr Shyshkovtsov explained how the weaker GPU in the Xbox Series S could impact development moving forward.
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“... GPU performance presents challenges for future titles. Our current renderer is designed for high spatial and temporal resolution,” Shyshkovtsov said. “It is stochastic by nature. Dropping any of those would require us to do more expensive calculations, dropping performance even further. We have a compromise solution right now, but I am not satisfied with it yet.”
Even though the Xbox Series S supports next-gen graphical features such as higher frame rates, ray tracing and super-fast load times, concerns were raised over the consoles lack of RAM – 10GB as opposed to 16GB on Xbox Series X.
According to 4A Games, though, it’s the console’s four teraflop GPU that could act as a potential bottleneck, particularly when it comes to targeting higher resolutions. The Xbox Series S was pitched as a 1440p machine by Microsoft, but games have tended to target a resolution of 1080p so far. The Xbox Series X has a 12 teraflop GPU in comparison.
It's worth bearing in mind that the Xbox Series S is $299 / £249 / AU$499, though, which is notably less than the $499 / £449 / $749 price tag of the Xbox Series X. It also has a similar CPU to its bigger brother, and a super-fast SDD drive; however, you only get a 364GB of usable storage.
Back to the metro
Metro Exodus is getting a free next-gen upgrade on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S that will significantly improve the game’s performance while introducing new graphical features. The game will run at 4K / 60fps on Xbox Series X, with support for full ray-traced lighting and ray-traced global illumination.
Load times will also be dramatically reduced, and the Xbox version will receive platform-specific spatial audio support, such as Dolby Atmos, and takes advantage of the new Xbox controller’s low latency. The Xbox Series S will also receive the same benefits, but will target 1080p instead of 4K.
While it's difficult to judge whether the Xbox Series S will indeed hold some developers back in the long term, by offering two entry points into the Xbox ecosystem Microsoft at least gives consumers more chance to jump into the next-generation of gaming.
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