Whether or not the Xbox Series S is going to hold back this generation of consoles has been a topic of conversation for about three years now, and that conversation has only grown louder in recent weeks in the wake of the news that Baldur’s Gate 3 probably won’t be launching for Xbox Series X/S until next year due to Larian Studios facing difficulties with getting splitscreen co-op properly optimized on the weaker machine, with the studio also being unwilling to release the game without the feature.
Many, in fact, have even suggested that as the generation progresses and games continue to get more technically demanding, there may come a point where Microsoft may have to consider allowing developers to not support the Xbox Series S and instead only release their games for the Series X, its much more powerful counterpart. However, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer doesn’t see that happening.
Speaking about Baldur’s Gate 3’s splitscreen issues on Xbox Series S in a recent interview with Eurogamer, Spencer said that Microsoft is continuing to work with and take feedback from external developers, including Larian, and that he doesn’t see a future where Microsoft ends up dropping its mandated support for the machine.
“On S, specifically, we designed the box with similarities to X, and clear places where we’re targeting a different performance,” he said. “And we’re taking feedback from devs including Larian, I met with them today to talk about it and I’m confident we’re going to find a good solution and we’re going to learn.
“I don’t see a world where we drop S. In terms of parity, I don’t think you’ve heard from us or Larian, that this was about parity. I think that’s more that the community is talking about it. There are features that ship on X today that do not ship on S, even from our own games, like ray-tracing that works on X, it’s not on S in certain games. So for an S customer, they spent roughly half what the X customer bought, they understand that it’s not going to run the same way.”
Spencer went on to stress that he feels the Xbox Series S is “a good thing for the industry”, being an entry-level, cheaper current-gen console, and that he wants to make sure that both Microsoft and its third party partners ensure that all games released for the Xbox Series X are also available on its less powerful sibling.
“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,” he said. “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. I think it’s important, the 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.”
During the same interview, Spencer also spoke about why he doesn’t feel there’s a need for an Xbox handheld device. Read more on that through here.