(Pocket-lint) - Xbox's all-singing, all-dancing next-generation games console, the Xbox Series X, will be released at the end of 2020. But, did you know that there's another, cheaper next-gen machine that could join it in stores?
An Xbox Series S has been rumoured for a while, mostly under the codename of Lockheart, and rumours suggest that it could also launch this coming holiday period.
Here then is everything you need to know about the Xbox Series S, based on the speculation so far.
What is Xbox Series S?
When Phil Spencer first teased what was coming next from Xbox, during E3 2018, he suggested that there could be more than one machine on the horizon.
Since then, the company has officially confirmed the Xbox Series X, which will be released "holiday 2020". However, considering that will be a full-on powerhouse of a console, likely with a price to match, there has been plenty of chatter to suggest that we'll see a cheaper, less-specced model too.
That started with the codename "Lockheart".
In December 2019, it was suggested that two new consoles were in development: Anaconda and Lockheart. The former is thought to be Series X (also previously known as Project Scarlett) while the other is touted as the Xbox Series S.
It will reportedly be a trimmed back replacement for the Xbox One S and/or Xbox One X (which has recently been discontinued), with less power than the Series X but with the ability to play games in (almost) 4K HDR.
We don't yet know what it will look like, but we hope that it is something like the excellent mock-up render made by Reddit user JiveDuder (above). Certainly, a photo of what is claimed to be the controller for it (which appeared on Reddit before being pulled) suggests something along those lines.
The same controller was posted by Zak S on Twitter, who claimed to have been able to purchase it online. He added video too.
And here's a video to show that it's real pic.twitter.com/4SWl3nmsIw— Zak S (@zakk_exe) August 10, 2020
Xbox Series S specs
- 4 teraflops of graphics processing power
- 1440p gaming in up to 60fps
- Ray-tracing support
- SSD storage
- No disc drive
We don't yet know the full specifications of the Series S, but rumours point to it having 4 teraflops of GPU processing power. That's dramatically lower than the Series X (which has 12 TFLOPS) and even lower than the Xbox One X (with its 6 TFLOPS). But, if you consider that the PS4 Pro has just over 4 TFLOPS of GPU power, you can see that it's still very impressive for an "entry-level" machine.
As a next-gen console, the Xbox Series S is said to also sport ray-tracing abilities (like its more capable sibling) and SSD storage for faster loading and instant-on game resumption.
Its maximum resolution for gaming is claimed to be 1440p, rather than full, native 4K, and will run games in up to 60fps.
Another rumour doing the rounds is that the Series S is that it will come without a physical media drive. The Xbox Series X will have a 4K Blu-ray player - much like the One S and One X - but the Series S is said to more like the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition and therefore dependent on digital downloads and streaming.
Xbox Series S release date
- August unveiling possible
The popular train of thought is that the Xbox Series S will be made available alongside the Xbox Series X this holiday season, although that is far from confirmed.
Having not been mentioned in July's Xbox Game Showcase event online, we'll hopefully find out more in August, as persistent rumours suggest.
Xbox Series S price
- Possibly around £300
This is probably the biggest open question about the machine at present: how much will it cost?
If Xbox deems it necessary to have a second, cheaper Series console available, it means the larger, better specced next-gen machine will cost a packet. And, if it plans to continue to sell the Xbox One S (the only current console not discountinued), we imagine the Series S will sit somewhere in the middle of those.
That basically means it will be between £250 and £350.
Xbox Series S rumours so far
10 August 2020: "Xbox Series S" listed on white controller packaging
A Twitter user claimed to have bought a white controller online (for just $35). Its compatibility list on the rear included mention of "Xbox Series X/S".
30 July 2020: August event revealed by Xbox boss
Xbox head, Phil Spencer, revealed to the iJustine YouTube channel that there will be an event in August, leading to new speculation that the Series S will be formally announced at that time.
"August, we'll have more to say on that," he said when quizzed about Xbox Series X backward compatibility.
27 July 2020: White "Xbox Series X" controller appears
A Reddit user, who has now deleted his account, posted a photo of a white Xbox Series X controller that could actually be for the Series S instead - considering that's thought to be that particular colour. Before he vanished into the wind, The Verge allegedly spoke to the user who informed the site that the main console that went with the controller was "more squarish and the Xbox button looked bigger on it".
26 June 2020: Rumours point to August unveiling instead
A new Microsoft document was unearthed that pointed once more to the existance of a second next-generation Xbox. The Verge also suggested that, instead of a debut during the July Games Showcase, the machine could make an appearance during a special event in August 2020.
22 April 2020: Could be announced in May
Windows Central suggested that the Xbox Series S - formerly Lockheart - could be officially announced in May 2020.
18 December 2018: Two codenames for the next Xbox emerge: Anaconda and Lockheart
Two internal codenames for the next-generation Xbox consoles are leaked into the wild.
11 June 2018: Xbox boss Phil Spencer teases plans for the future at E3 2018
Phil Spencer took to the stage during the Xbox keynote at E3 2018 and revealed that new Xbox "consoles" are in development.