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Xbox Series S may frustrate developers, but there's plenty it still gets right

It's been a contentious week for the Xbox Series S, as some developers have weighed in, sharing their frustrations about Microsoft's mid-range console.

One of the latest to share criticism of the Xbox Series S is Ian Maclure, VFX artist at Bossa Studios, the team behind indies like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Fish.

"Studios have been through one development cycle where Series S turned out to be an albatross around the neck of production," Maclure wrote in a series of tweets that have since been protected, "and now that games are firmly being developed with new consoles in mind, teams do not want to repeat the process." (thanks, VGC).

Maclure also stated that "developers have been sitting in meetings for the past year desperately trying to get Series S launch requirements dropped."

In fairness, the concerns don't come from a reactionary place. The Series S is a capable console with comparable specs to the more powerful Xbox Series X. But the pared-down device only packs 4 teraflops of processing power as opposed to its beefier counterpart's 12 teraflops. That's a pretty significant downgrade that takes a good deal of power away from developers.

The true value of the Xbox Series S

Xbox Series S

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

I can see why Microsoft's development mandate for the Series S could frustrate developers wanting to use all the power the Xbox Series X provides, but as modern consoles like the PS5 are subject to price hikes, mid-range consoles like the Xbox Series S become valuable and welcome, especially in the throes of a cost of living crisis. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are luxury purchases, and relatively few consumers can go out and buy one, even as stock shortages begin to ease up.

From a consumer-friendly standpoint, the Xbox Series S provides a powerful entry point into the current-gen market. It can output a sharp 1440p resolution, with framerates up to 120Hz on compatible TVs and monitors.

And with access to the Xbox ecosystem, including Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming, Xbox Series S players still have hundreds of games at their fingertips, all without breaking the bank on a much pricier console.

A handful of drawbacks are worth criticizing, for sure. It can't output true 4K and has relatively tiny 512GB (but lightning-fast) internal storage, and some memory constraints. But in this day and age, the Xbox Series S and consoles like it are important to have around when the other current-gen options are incredibly expensive.

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