Xbox Series S is an "albatross" and studios want it dropped, dev says

By Tom West,

Xbox Series S has "turned out to be an albatross around the neck of production," Bossa Studios' Ian Maclure has said, and apparently "many" studios are asking Xbox to drop the mandatory requirement for games to support it.

When the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles launched, the conversation arose that the latter would bottleneck game development as we moved into a new generation of games. Discussion around the topic has been a little quiet since then, but now it's reappeared (thanks, VGC), and according to Bossa Studios' VFX artist Ian Maclure, "many" studios are requesting that Xbox drops the mandatory requirement for games to be compatible with Xbox Series S.

Xbox Series S: "An entire generation of games, hamstrung by that potato."

The conversation was kicked off in a big way earlier this week, with the news that Gotham Knights won't have performance options available and that it runs at 30FPS. Rocksteady's senior character technical artist Lee Devonald took a few shots at the console, and even referred to it as a "potato."

"I wish gamers understood what 60FPS means in terms of all of the things they *lose* to make the game run that fast. Especially taking into account that we have a current-gen console that's not much better than a last-gen one," Devonald said in a series of since-deleted tweets (thanks, Gamerant). "Series S GPU mostly. Multi-platform games always have to optimise for the lowest performer. The Series S exists, though, and Microsoft won't let you launch on one without the other. An entire generation of games, hamstrung by that potato."

We've now got the full list of Gotham Knights achievements if you'd like a glimpse of what we'll be doing when the game launches on October 21st. Check out our Gotham Knights review to see what Luke thought about the Batman-less city.

Games journalist Jeff Gerstmann has now weighed in on the argument that Xbox Series S consoles bottleneck development for current-gen games, which are required to be compatible with the console if studios want to release their games on the Xbox platform. "The whole 'Series S is holding back next-gen games' argument seems really broken to me," Gerstmann said on Twitter. "Most of these games also come to PC and already have to cover a wide variety of configs."

The tweet has garnered a fair amount of attention since it was posted earlier today, with players and developers replying to it with their thoughts on the argument. One reply came from Bossa Studios' VFX artist, Ian Maclure, who has since protected their comments and account. According to Maclure, "it might sound broken, but the reason you are hearing it a lot right now is because MANY developers have been sitting in meetings for the past year desperately trying to get Series S launch requirements dropped."

The I am Fish and Surgeon Simulator 2 developer also claims that many studios are attempting to get Microsoft to drop the mandatory requirement that games are compatible with the Xbox Series S. "Studios have been through one development cycle where Series S turned out to be an albatross around the neck of production," Maclure said. "Now that games are firmly being developed with new consoles in mind, teams do not want to repeat the process."

Back in May during a DF Direct Weekly show on YouTube, Digital Foundry's Alexander Battaglia said: "We’ve heard from multiple developers that they kind of feel the Series S is a bit of a pain at times — not the CPU or GPU power there, but it’s more like the memory constraints."

It's certainly a topic that is beginning to gain traction as studios begin to drop last-gen compatibility for their games. Microsoft has attempted to increase the performance of the Series S by releasing a new Game Development Kit that gave developers additional memory to play with.

What do you think about this topic? Should developers be able to choose whether or not to make their games compatible with the Xbox Series S? Let us know down below!
Tom West
Written by Tom West
Tom has been playing video games since he was old enough to hold a controller, experimenting with a number of systems until he eventually fell in love with Xbox. With a passion for the platform, he decided to make a career out of it, and now happily spends his days writing about that which he loves. If he’s not hunting for Xbox achievements, you’ll likely find him somewhere in The Elder Scrolls Online or fighting for survival in Battlefield.
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