Microsoft unveils black 1TB Xbox Series S, doesn't see the need for mid-cycle console...


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In brief: The Xbox Series S is getting a paint job and a storage upgrade. The new, "carbon black" version has a 1TB SSD and can be pre-ordered today at $349. It's a small upgrade, but Microsoft says it doesn't see the need for a proper, mid-cycle refresh for Xbox. With games getting increasingly larger and launching with low frame rate caps, that's not what gamers want to hear – but there you have it.

Microsoft has announced a new black version of the Xbox Series S at the Xbox Games Showcase. The console will have one terabyte of built-in storage, but otherwise, there's little else that's changed from the original Xbox Series S. In other words, it's still a 1440p gaming machine with support for HDR and up to 120 frames per second on select titles and compatible TVs.

The "carbon black" Xbox Series S will launch September 1 and will set you back $349, with pre-orders starting today. For reference, the original Xbox Series S had only 512 gigabytes of internal storage and a launch price of $299. If the white Xbox Series S is more to your liking, you can now get one for as little as $260 – just keep in mind that you'll only have about 364 gigabytes of usable storage versus 802 on the carbon black one.

Also read: Bigger Than Godzilla: Why Are Games Using So Many Gigabytes?

The announcement comes only a week after Western Digital announced storage expansion cards for Xbox Series S and Series X owners. The company introduced two options, a 512GB card for $79.99 and a one-terabyte version priced at $149.99. These are priced more or less in line with Seagate's existing expansion cards, but the latter company has a 2TB option for $279.99.

There's been some talk as of late about the need for refreshed console hardware, with some in the gaming industry feeling like mid-cycle redesigns are on the horizon from both Sony and Microsoft. However, the latter company doesn't appear to be interested in the idea – at least not yet.

During an interview with Bloomberg, Xbox head Phil Spencer explained that he doesn't "feel an imperative" to come up with a major upgrade for the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, which are inching towards their third anniversary.

Spencer says the company doesn't see any feedback from gamers that would indicate the need for a more powerful Xbox. At the same time, Microsoft is "pretty set on the hardware we have." That's an odd statement, given that some recent AAA games like Gotham Knights and Redfall are already having trouble running smoothly unless locked to 30 frames per second. Starfield, which is Microsoft's biggest game launch this year, will also be locked to 30 frames per second under the excuse of "consistency."

Frame rate caps aside, Spencer did promise gamers that Microsoft is increasing the availability of Xbox Series X consoles after solving some supply issues that have been plaguing it for the past several months. Xbox fans won't be happy the 30 frames-per-second cap is making a comeback, but with games like Starfield weighing in at 125 gigabytes, this isn't the only limitation Xbox consoles will have moving forward.

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Of course they don't actually want you to think about a mid cycle refresh. It might not make too much sense at first but to me you gotta think about what Microsoft's answer is to any of your concerns: Are your games not performing as good as you'd like? Are you frequently running out of hard drive space? Are game prices becoming a bit of an issue? Are you not happy with your game collection?

The answer to all of the above for them right now, needs to be the same: Buy a subscription to our cloud gaming service, xbox game pass. That's why they bought Bethesda and tried (But failed) to buy Activision. That's why they'll keep trying and why they don't really care about 30 FPS consoles with under a tb of storage the answer is: Subscribe to our cloud service.

They really are playing the long game here by even blurring the line between PC gaming and xbox gaming with their game pass service because all that matters if that you just buy their cloud service and honestly, it might end up working out for them: It's still up in the air since Sony did a good job at stopping their purchasing spree of publishers in its tracks but all it really did is buy Sony more time: They just don't have something as massive as Azure under their name and Sony knows that if the answer ends up being 'Games are just subscription services now' they will not win against Microsoft. Not on their own anyway.

Now I am not entirely sure cloud gaming will be the answer to be honest since publishers are not really embracing the move as readily as you'd think but hey, Satya Nadella got where he is because of the success of Azure so of course for him there's not even a question that this is the right strategy even for gaming.
There's that, but there's also the Osbourne effect.

In any case, the fact that we still can't have 4K 60 FPS makes my blood boil.

How much more time do they need to figure this sht out?
I feel the reason is because the gaming segment is losing money for MS. Thus there is no reason to throw more money at it. After all, the main problem with Xbox is the lack of good exclusive games, less so with the hardware in the Xbox Series X. If anything, I feel the Xbox Series X is underperforming relative to PS5.
No worries. I already have gaming PCs much faster than an xbox so the only console I would be interested is a PS5 Pro for Spider-Man 2 sooner.

But with my gaming backlog, it's even odds I catch up before it hits PC.
When these things can emulate in retail mode again my interest will peak again. Until then, series x or series s, either one does gamepass just fine but doesn't blow me away.

Ive got a 77” OLED but nothing on series x blows me away.

I agree, I dont need better gaming fidelity. I need more gripping games.

To be honest, my son and I have way more fun downstairs on a 36” Trinitron and SNES/N64/PS2 than I do on current gen anything.

Maybe Im out of touch, and am missing great indies? I own a few triple A’s, but I dont have the free time to get all the way into them anymore. I know Im in the minority too
Within 18 months, there will be a refresh for Sony and MS. It is going to happen. MS, is only saying nothing is happening cause nothing is happening right now.
Nintendo will likely have a new handheld during that time.
Second hand Series S consoles can be found for an absolute song - up to half the price quoted above. Probably the best value out there for the casual gamer.
It's actually more about managing expectations, 30FPS is hardly outstanding, but when you're also trying to convey fantastic environmental graphics along with immersive game play with hardware that is at best is average then there are trade offs. I have been involved in the computer games business since the early 80's and have always said that game play is king to all successful products. Maybe it's time for developers to make that compromising choice and get back to what it's audience really wants and instead of ruining game play for something that in the heat of the blurring GPU loaded moment where you don't see any of the supremely created environmental definition that's sucking the life from the all important FPS buttery smoothness which the player is so focused on into a jittery frustrating mess.