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The Major Way Xbox Series S Could Limit Next-Gen Gaming

The Xbox Series S will be released alongside the Xbox Series X on Nov. 10, 2020. While the Xbox Series S is an exciting prospect for gamers due to its lower cost (a full $200 less than the Series X), there are a few things holding it back in the eyes of gamers and developers alike. In fact, some developers have come to fear that the release of the Xbox Series S could unwittingly place limitations on the next generation of games.


While both of Xbox's new systems offer next-generation gaming, there are some major differences between the Series X and Series S. The biggest one, besides the lack of a disc drive on the Series S, is the fact that it will play games at a lower resolution than the Series X. Even when upscaling an Xbox One game for the Series S, it won't be quite up to par with the "Optimized for Xbox Series X" versions of those same games. This came as some terrible news for Series S fans. It's this difference in overall quality that has given pause to some of the gaming industry's biggest creators.

Wccftech recently interview David Cage, the head of Quantic Dream, who had an interesting take on the potential of the Xbox Series S. Cage's company has developed such modern classics as Detroit: Become Human and Beyond: Two Souls. When the subject of the Series S came up, Cage did not exactly mince words.


Cage explained that he feared the limited power of the Series S would lead to more manufacturers and developers creating games that didn't live up to the potential of the more powerful consoles on the market. Cage explained, "When a manufacturer offers two consoles with different specs, there is a strong chance that most developers will focus on the lower-end version to avoid doing two different versions." This would mean that other consoles could suffer from developers making games that are far less visually impressive, simply to meet the Series S's lower requirements.

According to Cage, the price point of the Series S certainly makes it seem appealing to consumers, but he still isn't sold on it. "I must confess that I am really not a big fan of this situation," said Cage. "I think it is confusing for developers, but also for players, and although I can understand the commercial reasons behind this choice ... I think the situation is questionable."

Cage did explain that this uncertainty isn't necessarily having a negative effect on how his own team makes games. Cage remarked, "Regarding Quantic Dream, as we develop our own technology and engines, we are determined to optimize our titles for each platform." Since Quantic Dream is a PC developer, Cage feels that the company will continue to develop products that are "scaleable" to different platforms. He's apparently not so sure about strictly console-based developers sticking to that same ethos, however.


Cage raises an interesting point. For cross-platform titles, is it possible that developers will settle for creating content suitable for the Xbox Series S's relatively limited power? And if so, will this end up affecting the overall quality of the next generation of games?

Cage is not alone in his trepidation toward the Xbox Series S. In the time since the Series S was formally announced, other developers and creatives within the gaming industry have expressed doubts regarding the new console.

One of the more frustrated responses to the Series S announcement came from Squanch Games' Dan Weiss, who laid his issues with the console bare in a lengthy Twitter thread. Although Weiss also acknowledged that the lower price was a major selling point, everything about the system's specs made him question how good Xbox's future games could possibly be. Weiss tweeted, "Looking at this from the outside, it's like Microsoft didn't learn anything from the last couples years of 360 where Sony caught up, or the PS4 years where Sony killed them. They have a weak game lineup and that's where they needed to start. Not this lower tier console."

Those are some pretty harsh words for Xbox's new budget system, but they go a long way towards showing why developers are wary of the Series S. These fears might even convince some people that they don't want to pre-order a new Xbox console just yet.


On the positive side, Xbox has said time and time again that developers won't be limited by the Series S's weaknesses. As Xbox's Jason Ronald explained to IGN,"The core capabilities are the same between the two consoles." Hopefully that truly is the case, otherwise the Series S could prove to be a real drag on next-gen game development.