Xbox has already unveiled its next-generation games console, the Xbox Series X which 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 even be announced in May.
Here then is everything you need to know about the Xbox Series S, based on the speculation we've seen 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 an all-singing, all-dancing 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 has recently started to appear as the Xbox Series S.
It will be a trimmed back replacement for the Xbox One S, it is said, 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).
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 12TF) and even lower than the Xbox One X (with its 6TF). But, if you consider that the PS4 Pro has just over 4TF 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.
Perhaps the strangest current rumour about 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
- May unveiling tipped
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.
Hopefully, we'll find out more in May, when Xbox hosts an online keynote address (likely the one it would have hosted on the eve of E3 2020 if it hadn't been cancelled due to the current global situation).
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 and One X, 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
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.