Does The Xbox Series S Still Make Sense In 2024?

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Still a viable option in 2024?

Story Highlight
  • The Xbox Series S is the weakest among the current-generation consoles, often being accused of holding back the development of triple-A titles.
  • At the same time, there’s currently no console that comes close to the entry-level price tag that the Series S offers.
  • Its lower price bracket still makes it a viable option for new buyers; however, you shouldn’t expect the console to deliver the best possible visuals or frame rates.

Four years ago, the Xbox Series S presented itself as a phenomenal value proposition. After all, who wouldn’t want a console capable of handling modern games at $200 less? Fast forward to now, and most games end up taxing the Series S to its very limit. So, is the console still worth purchasing in 2024?

How Well Does The Console Stack Up?

Perhaps the biggest gripe people have against the Series S is its significantly reduced GPU horsepower. Not only are you losing 4GB of VRAM, but you also only get 4 Teraflops of processing power, which is 8 less than the superior Series X.

Of course, the reduced specification translates to a worse visual experience in games, with some even limiting FPS to 30. To combat that, the Series S usually relies heavily on upscaling, which means you won’t be getting a native 1440p experience like Xbox promised.

Instead, most games will run at lower resolutions, such as 1080p natively. To put that into perspective, Starfield runs at 900p on the Series S and then gets upscaled to produce a 1440p image. On the other hand, some games, such as Alan Wake 2, cap the Series S’ fps to 30, with no option to opt for 60fps.

Alan Wake 2 On Series S
Alan Wake 2 On Series S (Image Via DigitalFoundry)

That is actually a common trend among most titles that run on Series S. Visually, there is a fairly noticeable difference between the two consoles, which makes sense considering the premium you have to pay for the Series X.

Series X vs Series S Starfield Graphics Comparison
Starfield Graphics Comparison (Image Via Digitalfoundry)

Of course, there are a lot of easier-to-run titles that might run just as fine as on the Series S. For instance, Fortnite even reaches 120fps on the Series S, which means competitive play is still very possible on the cheaper version of the console.

Holding Games Back?

With that in mind, a common complaint people have against the Series S is that it might just be holding back the development of current-generation titles since developers have to take the lower GPU horsepower of the console into account before release.

This “accusation” gained further credibility at the time of Baldur’s Gate’s release since the developers chose not to release it on Xbox due to the split screen not being able to work perfectly on Series S.

In order to work around this, Xbox had to deviate slightly from their “feature-parity” clause and allow the developers to actually remove the game from the Series S version of the game.

Baldur's Gate On The Series S
Baldur’s Gate On The Series S (Image Via Open Surprise)

Despite that, Baldur Gate’s developer, Swen Vincke, stated in a recent interview that the Series S itself isn’t actually holding back any of the newer titles, and it’s largely up to the development team to make improvements towards supporting the budget-friendly console.

I completely agree with his take on the situation. The Series S, as a platform, is still completely practical, even in 2024. I mean, if the Nintendo Switch can receive consistent support despite being a lot weaker, then support for the Series S shouldn’t actually be difficult to achieve for most developers.

Still A Solid Budget Console

While it does fall short of providing the same premium experience you would otherwise get with the Series X, its lower barrier of entry makes it ideal for anyone who’s looking to get into games without spending a lot.

In my opinion, the argument that the Series S is holding back modern games is unreasonable. The console has remained perfectly capable of handling modern titles, albeit with a bit of upscaling, and that will likely remain the case moving forward.

Considering how well it has kept it, a Series S still makes a lot of sense even in 2024; however, you might need a storage upgrade, considering the base variant only comes with 512GB.

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