Xbox Series S GPU could cause problems for developers in the future

Another developer has spoken about the power imbalance of the next-gen consoles…

by Oliver Barsby
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When the Xbox Series S was first revealed in September 2020, Microsoft was applauded for creating an affordable entry point into the next generation of console. Sitting at the low price of £249/$299, the Series S is much cheaper than the Xbox Series X, which costs £449/$499.

With this price difference comes a difference in power. The Xbox Series S has 10 GB of RAM and boasts a graphical power of 4 TFLOPS. The Xbox Series X has 16 GB of RAM and 12 TFLOPS of power.

At a surface level, this may only appear to mildly affect players, with the budget console being unable to run games at a 4K or 1440p resolution. However, as one developer of the Metro series has explained, the power gap could cause developers problems in the future.

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Xbox Series S could cause problems for developers

In an interview with Wccftech, 4A Games’ (a subsidiary of Metro Exodus developer Saber Interactive) Chief Technology Officer, Oleksandr Shyshkovtsov, spoke about the next-gen development process, including working with the Series X and Series S.

“The RAM is not an issue for us (currently),” Shyshkovtsov said. “but GPU performance presents challenges for future titles.”

Shyshkovtsov explained that 4A Games’ renderer is “designed for high spatial and temporal resolutions” of 4K/60 FPS, and having to develop for a lower performance “would require us to do more expensive calculations, dropping performance even further.” According to the CTO, 4A current “have a compromise solution right now”, but he is not satisfied by this.

The concerns raised by Shyshkovtsov follow on from previous comments from other developers, with Sasan Sepehr, a senior technical producer at Remedy, tweeting: “As a consumer, I love this! As a Technical Producer, I see trouble!!!”

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Will the Series S actually hold back production?

While some developers have expressed concern about the Series S’ power, Xbox’s Andrew Goossen previously spoke to Digital Foundry about the console, arguing that the Series S will actually advance the next-gen of consoles.

Goossen explained that “the new generation is designed by aspects such as the Xbox Velocity Architecture” along with processing performance from the Xbox CPU. Given the Series S has a near-identical CPU to the Series X, Goossen believes it will push forward gaming as “we’ll have more games written to the characteristics of the next generation” rather than having to develop for last-gen consoles such as the Xbox One X.

Currently, as most games releasing are launching across the two Xbox generations (on Xbox One and Series X/S), the Series S does not pose as much as a problem for developers. As we go forward and more developers opt for next-gen exclusive games, we’ll have to see is the Series S becomes an issue…

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Oliver Barsby