Xbox Series S Memory Limitations Are Causing Development Issues
Xbox Series S hardware limitations are causing issues for developers. More specifically, it’s the memory constraints and not the CPU or GPU power that’s the hurdle. Developers have to take the Series X’s smaller and slower memory pool into account when working on a multiplatform game that has to run on all current-gen platforms, including the Xbox Series X and PS5.
Assets for every AAA game are generally created to run on the minimum spec, and then scaled up from there for more powerful platforms by increasing sample counts for higher settings. But there’s a feeling of diminishing returns with these higher settings. Had the more powerful hardware been the minimum spec, it’d have been utilized in a better way.
Digital Foundry weighs in on this matter during the latest DF Direct in response to a question from a follower, who asked why third party developers don’t always put in the best Series S optimizations. DF has heard from multiple developers that the Series S is a bit of a pain at times due to memory constraints. Given the significant memory requirements of ray tracing, the Series S’ memory limitations present a hurdle for third party developers to overcome.
The Xbox Series S features hardware that is equivalent to the Xbox Series X, much like the Xbox One S is to the Xbox One X, although it has less computing capability. While it employs the same CPU with slightly lower clock rates, it has a slower GPU, a proprietary RDNA2 with 20 CUs running at 1.55 GHz for 4 TFLOPS vs the Series X’s 12 TFLOPS. It comes with 10 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD storage unit with a raw input/output speed of 2.4 GB/s, but no optical disc drive, therefore the user must obtain all software through digital distribution.
The Xbox Series S is designed to render games at 60 frames per second at 1440p, with support for a 4K upscaler, however it can go as high as 120 frames per second at this resolution. Other than that, the system has the same ports, extensions, and game support as the Xbox Series X.