When Microsoft detailed the Xbox Series S earlier this week, it said the console is four times more powerful than the Xbox One. Notably, the company didn't compare the upcoming console to the Xbox One X. With its ability to play next-generation titles, the Series S will likely end up the more capable system in the long run. But when it comes to playing older Xbox and Xbox 360 games, you won't get the same enhanced experience that you can currently get through the Xbox One X.
A Microsoft spokesperson told GameSpew the Xbox Series S will allow you to play the Xbox One S versions of backward compatible titles. "To deliver the highest quality backwards compatible experience consistent with the developer's original intent, the Xbox Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR," the spokesperson said.
What that ultimately means is you won't be able to games such as Red Dead Redemption in 4K, something the Xbox One X allows you to do. According to folks over at Digital Foundry, the likely reason for the limitation is the amount of system memory the Series S has compared to the Xbox One X. The newer console will give developers about 8GB of system memory to work with where the Xbox One X allocates 9GB for games. With less overall system memory, Microsoft can’t guarantee the same experience.
The silver lining is that backward compatible games will still look better on the Xbox Series S than they do on the Xbox One S thanks to the enhancements Microsoft listed above. And at the end of the day, at $299, the Series S is still an incredible value, wrinkles and all.