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Phil Spencer thinks it's "important" the Xbox Series S exists

It may not be as technologically strong as its sibling system, but in Spencer's eyes, the Xbox Series S will always be just as necessary.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 24, 2023

3 Min Read
Screenshot of Microsoft's Xbox Series S console.

For Xbox boss Phil Spencer, the Xbox Series S is important to have out in the market. Talking to Eurogamer, Spencer was asked about that specific system and its place in both the console space currently and the game industry at large. 

In his words, Microsoft needed a console that would specifically target those who couldn't (and possibly still can't) afford the $500 Xbox Series X. Thus, the Series S fills an important need as an "entry level price point for many new families or players coming into the market."

"Having an entry level price point for console...is a good thing for the industry," he continued. "The [Nintendo] Switch has been able to do that, in terms of kind of the traditional plug-into-my-television consoles. I think it's important. So we're committed.

To Spencer, the Series S also allows Microsoft to get avoid price drops at a similar pace as earlier generations. He was candid in saying that with the components used to make systems these days, "you’re not going to be able to start with a console that’s $500 thinking it’s gonna get to 200 bucks."

In 2021, the Xbox Series X|S line (and other consoles like the PlayStation 5) were hit with supply issues due to component shortages. Spencer noted that, pointing out that "you can’t buy them anymore as a hardware maker because nobody’s making that kind of RAM or other components."

"It’s not the way it used to be where you could take a spec and then ride it out over 10 years and ride the price points down. It’s why you see console pricing relatively flat."

The Xbox Series S will get there, in the end

During the Eurogamer interview, Spencer was also asked about the possibility of leaving the Xbox Series S behind and focusing on the Series X. It was pointed out that, in recent years, developers have voiced some mild frustration with having to develop for two separate Xboxes, with the Series S being the weakest of the two.

Earlier this summer, for example, Larian Studios said it would take time to bring Baldur's Gate III to Xbox specifically due to the Series S' technological capabilities. At the time, Larian boss Swen Vincke stated there were "constraints" to overcome, which has contributed to the game's staggered console release. 

Spencer acknowledged that he's received feedback from Larian (and other developers) on the Series S' shortcomings. But for him, it's vital that the system shares equal prominence with the Series X, stating they were designed to be similar (despite different targets in terms of performance). 

"I don't see a world where we drop S," said Spencer. "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. 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."

Phil Spencer's full interview with Eurogamer, which also covers the upcoming closure of the Xbox 360 Store and continuing the growth of Xbox Game Pass, can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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