Xbox Series S could debut in August to put PS5 on notice

Xbox Series S
(Image credit: Reddit - u/jiveduder)

The Xbox Series X is old news — now, folks want to know about the Xbox Series S. This highly rumored console, also sometimes called “Project Lockhart,” is supposedly a less powerful, all-digital variant of the Xbox Series X, which will leverage Xbox Game Pass subscriptions for entry-level gamers who want a foot in the door of the Microsoft gaming ecosystem. 

Since Microsoft hasn’t said a word about the console this month, and July is reserved for Microsoft’s showcase of first-party games, we may see the Xbox Series S in August. That is, if it really exists.

Information comes from Eurogamer, which gathered Xbox Series S information from a variety of sources. According to the report, the Xbox Series S (or Lockhart, if you prefer) was originally going to be an E3 reveal. Of course, E3 2020 never happened, due to ongoing public health concerns. Instead, Microsoft has been delivering Xbox Series X news piecemeal. In May, the company had a big video presentation about third-party games, and will do the same thing in July for first-party titles. However, we didn’t get much in June, save for a series of blog posts recapping Xbox Series X features we already knew about.

As such, if Microsoft is going to reveal the Xbox Series S, August seems like the smart bet. However, it’s worth pointing out that Microsoft is not beholden to anyone’s schedule except its own. Surprise reveals are as good a strategy as any. Sony has already done that twice: Once, with the DualSense controller, and again with the PS5’s physical design. Microsoft could reveal the Xbox Series S on Twitter tomorrow; it could pull it out as a “one more thing” stinger at the July games showcase; it could wait until next year, after the first wave of consumers has purchased their Xbox Series Xes.

There’s also the not-insignificant possibility that there is no Xbox Series S. While the evidence this time around is compelling, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of “low-powered Xbox” rumors over the years have been pure fabrication. The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition pretty much came out of nowhere, and didn’t radically change the Xbox One’s specs, simply removing a (perhaps ancillary) disc drive instead. Either way, we’ll have a solid answer come August.

Assuming that the Xbox Series S is a real thing, here’s what you need to know about it: The console will be a low-powered, low-priced alternative to a full Xbox Series X. It’s not clear how much the Series S might cost, but pricing it at least $100 cheaper than its Series X cousin would not be impossible. The console would lack a disc drive, relying on game downloads instead, but it would be able to run every Xbox Series X game, albeit perhaps only at 1080p resolutions. 

It doesn’t sound terribly interesting to gamers who want the sheer power of the Xbox Series X: This time around, Microsoft isn’t just building a console. It’s building a gaming ecosystem. And now that Sony has revealed its disc-less PS5 Digital Edition, Microsoft may want to have a low-cost next-gen console to get players in the door.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.