Skip to main content

Microsoft lets Xbox Series S devs increase console’s memory

Microsoft is allowing Xbox Series S developers to increase the console’s memory, giving them more space to access games and boost the performance of some titles.

The June Game Development Kit (GDK) is Available Now

The company’s Game Dev team sent out the June Game Development Kit on Thursday, bringing with it the gift of additional memory for developers to allocate to the Xbox Series S. In the video detailing the new features that come with the kit, seen below, the team explains that the hundreds of megabytes will help developers “improve graphics performance in memory constrained conditions.”

Developers have been suffering from the Xbox Series S’ memory constraints since its 2020 launch. The console comes with only 10GB of RAM, while its more expensive twin, the Xbox Series X, carries just 16GB of RAM. However, the operating system for the Xbox Series S consumes only 2GB of RAM, leaving only 8GB of RAM for developers to contend with.

Digital Foundry pointed out the Xbox Series S’ memory constraints in its May episode of the DF Direct Weekly podcast, confirming the developers’ frustrations with it. They heard from those developers that the limited amount of memory the console gave them was a bigger issue than its CPU and GPU power.

Their complaints about memory constraints boiled down to resolution. The graphics hardware for the Xbox Series S doesn’t pack as much power as the Xbox Series X in the first place, generating a visual output of only 1080p, if not 1440p. The Xbox Series X runs games 4K resolution, with a maximum of 8K resolution.

While Microsoft didn’t give the exact number of megabytes that would free up the memory space in the Xbox Series S, any little bit goes a long way for developers.

Editors' Recommendations

Cristina Alexander
Cristina Alexander has been writing since 2014, from opining about pop culture on her personal blog in college to reporting…
Baldur’s Gate 3 drops Series S splitscreen support to release on Xbox in 2023
Jaheira in Baldur's Gate 3.

Larian Studios promises to release Baldur's Gate 3 on Xbox Series X/S later this year after pushing the game back because of performance problems on Xbox Series S.
Baldur's Gate 3 is available now on PC and will come out for PS5 on September 6, but an Xbox Series X/S version won't be available for a little bit longer. In a July 2023 community update, developer Larian Studios explained that this is because it needed "to ensure that the game is performing without compromise across the entire Xbox X/S ecosystem, in multiplayer and with split-screen. The Xbox Series X version was running fine, but the Xbox Series S version of the game was struggling a lot more. The Xbox versions of Baldur's Gate 3 didn't have a release window until now, when Larian Studios co-founder Swen Vincke took to X to confirm it'd come to Xbox platforms before the end of the year. That said, it will exclude one notable feature.
"Super happy to confirm that after meeting [Phil Spencer] yesterday, we’ve found a solution that allows us to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox players this year still, something we’ve been working towards for quite some time," Vincke wrote. "All improvements will be there, with split-screen coop on Series X. Series S will not feature split-screen co-op, but will also include cross-save progression between Steam and Xbox Series."
Thankfully, it looks like Xbox players won't have to wait too much longer to play this excellent game, but it will be one of the first games to notably drop a major feature between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S versions. This follows comments by Head of Xbox Phil Spencer where he said he doesn't believe Microsoft will drop support for Xbox Series S in the foreseeable future. "I want to make sure games are available on both, that's our job as a platform holder and we're committed to that with our partners," Spencer told Eurogamer. "And I think we're gonna get there with Larian. So I'm not overly worried about that, but we've learned some stuff through it. Having an entry-level price point for console, sub-$300, is a good thing for the industry."
 
Baldur's Gate 3 is available now for PC, launches for PS5 on September 6, and will finally come out for Xbox Series X/S before the end of 2023.

Read more
Turn your Xbox Series X into a Starfield machine with this console wrap
The Starfield Xbox Series X Console Cover.

Microsoft announced that official Xbox Series X Console Wraps will come out later this year. Three of these are already available to preorder, including one based on Bethesda Game Studios' highly anticipated Xbox console exclusive Starfield.
Following in the footsteps of customizable PlayStation 5 console covers, Microsoft is finally giving people more options to customize their normal Xbox Series X series. That comes in the form of Xbox Series X Console Wraps, which Microsoft says are "made with solid panels and an engirdled fabric," and are "designed to perfectly surround your Xbox Series X" without blocking the console's vents and airflow like some of the other current third-party options. The first Xbox Series X Console Wrap to release is based on Starfield and will come out on October 18.

Its design lines up with the special Starfield headset and controller and is based on the avionics modules players will encounter during the game. The Starfield Console Wrap will cost $50 when it launches in October, but two more Consoles Wraps launching a month later will come in slightly cheaper at $45.
Those two Console Wraps use soft microfiber fabric and feature designs based on camouflage, with the Mineral Camo Console Wrap using blues and purples and the Artic Camo Console Wrap featuring gray and white tones. Both Camo Console Wraps release on November 10, the three-year anniversary of the Xbox Series X launch.

Read more
The impending Xbox 360 Store closure makes me wary of Game Pass’ future
The Xbox logo.

I'm an avid Xbox Game Pass user, often trying almost every game that comes to the service and closely following the games coming to and leaving the service each month. Following some recent announcements by Microsoft, though, I've been thinking a lot more about something else about Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft's current digital-focused Xbox storefronts and ecosystem: what happens when it all goes away?
Microsoft announced last week that it will shut down the Xbox 360 Store in July 2024. After that day, it will be impossible to buy games, movies, or TV shows digitally on the Xbox 360 store; it's just like what happened with the 3DS and Wii U eShops earlier this year. That announcement also came not long after Microsoft revealed it would replace Xbox Live Gold with Xbox Game Pass Core in September. With these changes, Microsoft is stamping out any support or focus its giving to the Xbox 360's era as a platform. As someone who grew up mostly playing Xbox 360, seeing these things I grew up with go away is saddening. It's also making me think about the day this will eventually happen to Xbox Game Pass or the store on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Frankly, I'm not as concerned that Microsoft is going to do it anytime soon. Microsoft has given no indication that it plans on abandoning Xbox Game Pass. It's a really successful subscription service heavily integrated into all of its current platforms, there are titles confirmed to launch day one on it into 2024 and beyond, and Xbox initiatives like Play Anywhere and Smart Delivery ensure that at least some version of most Xbox games are available on other platforms. While I expect it to be the primary part of Microsoft's gaming strategy over the next decade, as someone who mainly played Xbox 360 growing up and is now seeing its storefront and subscription service go away, I'm now thinking about what the end of the Game Pass era will look like.
These recent actions have indicated that Microsoft will eventually be willing to do the same to the storefronts and subscription service we're currently using. Even after the backlash PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox all faced from these announcements, Sony is the only one that has backtracked its plans to close down older digital storefronts, at least temporarily. Xbox Game Pass is the current hotness for Microsoft, but what happens come the day it isn't? A lot more games are digital-only or tied to a subscription this generation, and those are the games most at risk of being lost if a digital storefront shuts down.
What happens to the Xbox console versions of games like Pentiment or Immortality on Xbox once Xbox Game Pass and the current iteration of the Xbox Store are shuttered? Yes, they can be played on PC, but the Xbox console version will be lost forever. And right now, it doesn't seem like Microsoft has any publicly shared plans to permanently preserve those experiences, nor has it done so for all of the Xbox 360 digital games going away. Game preservation is a significant problem facing the game industry, and Microsoft has just made a move showing that it's on the wrong side of that effort. 

Read more