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Microsoft gives Xbox Series S devs more memory to improve graphics performance

Microsoft gives Xbox Series S devs more memory to improve graphics performance


This could address game developer complaints about memory constraints

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The white and black Xbox Series S console standing vertically on a white table in front of a black background.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Microsoft is giving Xbox Series S game developers more control over memory on the console. A new Xbox software development kit has been released to developers recently, and it frees up more memory for developers to access for Xbox Series S games and boosts performance in certain titles.

“Hundreds of additional megabytes of memory are now available to Xbox Series S developers,” says Microsoft’s Game Dev team in a video detailing the updates. “This gives developers more control over memory, which can improve graphics performance in memory-constrained conditions.”

The $299 Xbox Series S launched as a console capable of 1440p gaming at up to 120fps, but many games have only hit 1080p and without the higher frame rates of the more powerful Xbox Series X. Microsoft’s larger and more powerful Xbox Series X console ships with far more GPU power, but it also has 16GB of RAM while the smaller Xbox Series S only has 10GB. Developers have to work with around 8GB of memory on the Series S, as Microsoft reserves around 2GB for OS tasks.

Those memory constraints have been detailed by Digital Foundry, with developers reportedly feeling some pain around optimizing games for the Xbox Series S. It’s less the CPU and GPU power of the Xbox Series S, particularly as the Series S has the same CPU as the X, but more the memory situation. Microsoft’s improvements, albeit small, could help reduce some of that friction around developing games for the Xbox Series S.

Microsoft has also “addressed an issue where graphics virtual addresses were being allocated considerably slower than non-graphics virtual addresses,” which means Xbox games can now take better advantage of other recent memory enhancements that Microsoft has added to its Xbox developer tools. Fingers crossed this all means we’ll see some improvements to performance in some games running on the Xbox Series S soon.