Is there a reasonable explanation about those XSS 'bottleneck' critics from devs?

Personally, as a developer myself (though just working on smaller games right now), I don’t get the point of their claims.

First of all, we all know that Series S is just a 1080P-1440P machine, targeting at 60FPS for most games. From a perspective of resolution scaling, 8GB of 224GB/s memory for 1080P@60Hz gaming seems to be perfectly fine. There simply shouldn’t be anything bothering the developers at all. And we’re not even counting SFS here.


4K is 2.25x of 1440P and 4x of 1080P;

1440P is 1.78x of 1080P;

XSX has 560 GB/s, 10GB space targeted for rendering;

XSS has 224GB/s, 8GB space targeted for rendering;

RTX 3070 and 2080 has 8GB VRAM, running at 448GB/s

Other than assets, generally things like game engine programs don’t take a lot of space

So, dear friends, is there any possible reason, that a 1080P machine with such a spec cannot handle a next gen?

What’s the most unexplainable thing to me is that it’s such a basic common sense, but even some real industry veterans that I do respect a lot can fall for misconceptions. I try to understand their comments but I just can’t. Maybe they were not as informed about XSS as us, or maybe they were just making assumptions based on their former experiences without actual calculating?

I don’t want to judge them as biased or other negative things… I’m just too curious about the truth.


It’s probably good to have all this bottleneck talk in one thread . This one.

Yeah, I don’t get it either. Like some have said here, it could be that some devs are working with the XSS and they talk with praise about it, and those that are not yet working with it (Infinity Ward for example ) share their concerns.

While I don’t believe that this is some kind of attack on Xbox, I do find it odd. I can’t deny that universal praise would have been best, but there are probably reasons why that’s not the case yet.


Wrote this in another thread:

I mean, why do we take what any one developer say as gospel? They are just people like in any other industry. In my line of work there are those who know what they are doing, and a lot who doesn’t. I’m sure we all have colleagues who you wouldn’t trust with sharp objects?

To add to that, I have several irl-friends who work as devs on some of the biggest third party games out there. They are just people, and some of them are sadly fanbois of certain platforms. So I know it exists. I also know that outside their respective areas of expertise, they don’t necessarily know more than we enthusiasts do.


Developer is a pretty broad term. How many of them are actually dealing with the memory management? Also there are going to be different approaches to how each developer handles things like this. I’m sure for some it will be a PITA having to work with different consoles, while others will take a look at the new consoles/tools like a brand new toy box and will enjoy getting things to work.


Thanks for replying! By the way that some of those vets talking, I felt like that they haven’t really understood about the machine’s spec and all those new capabilities. Sometimes veterans especially tech leads can be too high to touch the lower details (like porting to a specific console), that might be the reason that they don’t get the right info. However they’re still awesome :slight_smile:

The one that I was referring to is a honorable tech lead, so he does know a lot about everything, but he might lack the grasp of latest fine details as you have stated, which is a relief to me too :wink: I was guessing about the same thing.

I am not in the industry, but my understanding is that devs can be fanboys also. Other forums have devs, who are adored by the masses, continually downplay the GPU delta between the excellent PS5 and the XSX. In fact, another dev needed to state that although the difference was not large, it could translate into tangible differences in certain cases.

Looking at the XSS, as a layman, it looks fit for it’s purpose - Next gen gaming at 1080p and 60FPS. The funny thing is that when people talk about compromises, they need to understand that everything from a GTX3090 to a XSS has design compromises due to their budget.

Could MS have specced it better? Yep.

Could this better specced machine still hit $299USD? Nope.


It’s a bottleneck but IMO it seems like they’re blowing things out of proportion; I think if people just keep their expectations in check, everything will be fine. You can’t realistically expect everything to be a perfect conversion from Series X to Series S, I’m sure most games will be fine but it probably won’t be unexpected to see instances where some graphical features take more of a hit or where performance isn’t exactly the same… that doesn’t mean it’s end of the world scenarios but the thing is $300 ffs, a little compromise on some things doesn’t really seem all that wild. I doubt we’re going to see anything that will stop people from enjoying games.


I think the comments from the 2-3 you are referring to come down to not understanding that this machine is intended for use with a 1080p TV. If someone asked them what next gen Xbox to get they would ask the person what their budget is. If that person had asked MS the same question, MS would ask that person what TV they have. These devs probably just don’t grasp the distinction here.

They think its designed to be cheap when in reality it is designed for 1080p TV’s, so their thinking is premised on it being a required baseline for assets when that is NOT the case at all. XSX is the baseline (or PS5 or PC) and you just take your XSX version and make it 1080p with lower res textures. If need be, trim some mip levels and lower FOV slightly and voila. Done.

Also, SFS won’t help for next gen games here since that is also being used in the presumed XSX 4k version. So the same benefit would be there for both of them. I could see a bandwidth issue due to RT needing lots of that, but not really seeing devs complain about that so much as the RAM amount. Maybe using ML to upres textures at runtime can help with RAM utilization, but it’d need to be planned for as a dedicated part of the dev process.

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The Series S is a console made for 1080p/1440p gaming at 60 FPS. The majority of the people complaining don’t seem to take that into account when talking about the memory or GPU. It has been scaled down accordingly to make that possible. 4K assets take a lot of power and memory bandwith; but there is another reason why there is not as much memory as they thought.

The SSD is supposed to play a bigger part with all that, and for the plateform holders to help keep the costs lower. SFS and Velocity architecture is the software that will help improve that aspect. That’s why, these veterans are skeptical right now, because they are not used to using SFS and the SSD as another part to help with the memory. Nvidia only just started implementing that with their new cards, and the new Navi should too. It is literally something pretty new that the developers will start using, so it will only get better as time goes on.

Developers were also skeptical before the Switch came out, and now you don’t really hear any complaints anymore.


Games get designed for multiple console specs all the time. In this case Microsoft specifically created this console to be easy to scale down to for games coded for the Series X. Time will tell if they’ve done that in a smart way that doesn’t create undue headaches for developers. I trust that that is the case but we’ll see.

Let’s be real…if it was up to the developers there would only be 1 gaming machine. Period. No one likes more work. NO ONE. Some will continue to whine, but they will put in the work-like they have done for generations (PS3 Cell anyone?)- and happily take the $$$$ at the end of the day.


I wouldn’t say no one likes more work. I bet there are people in the industry who thrive on solving problems. I’m talking about those innovators who come up with all sorts of crazy tricks. Xbox BC team for example, I bet there are a bunch there who just loved getting it work and basked in their accomplishment.

Now that you mention it (PS3) I don’t recall many complaints of poor devs or holding back games with that one even after the lesser/cheaper 360 was beating it in head to head tests. I do recall some lazy devs complaints though…


Most of the devs commenting negatively on twitter seem to have beef with xbox. One of them I searched their past tweets mentioning Xbox and they had a ‘weekly Xbox snark’ tweet. And loads complaining about pretty much everything Xbox did. So yeah.

Way I see it is that there are some legitimate potential issues where as the gen goes on the resolution is scaled down on the series X to allow for more advanced features - then the Series S starts to be what, 720p? Additionally it’s fair that not all engines and scenarios will scale linearly with resolution so clearly some games might need bigger sacrifices. I do think it’s way overplayed and obviously because the S was earning universal praise and the usual malcontents have to find a way to tear it down. But there are issues in the future potentially. Still a hell of a deal for the money. And can’t really be criticised.


I agree, there are many people who thrive on the challenges. I should have specified “more work” meaning the extra time and resources that it does take, during development, to scale down a game for a less powerful version. From what I’ve read, I believe many of the developers have started using the term “bottleneck” to describe the extra time/hours it adds to a development cycle, when I remember a time “bottleneck” was only used to describe a technical problem. I could be wrong- not in the industry or anything-just observing from the outside.


One Battlefield developer has commented on these concerns and sees no problems with the Series S. Personally, I believe that customization depends more on the skills of the developers than on the hardware.


Some of them were talking about expecting at least 100 gb of RAM, so of course they would be disappointed lol.

Anyways, I think this is normal and I consider these comments as early reactions rather than devs that have been working with the devkit for some time. Both ps5 and xbox series x|s are talking about making the ssd an extension of ram. This is not a normal configuration, never have been done in gaming (PC is now getting this tech too), and it will take some time until devs are used to it. So, early in this gen, lots of dev will need to deal with the lower ram of series S.

What I really read from their comments is that they do expect more visual drawbacks than only resolution. Reduced FPS, reduced quality of assets, less visual effects. Truly as “high” vs “medium” vs “low” graphical settings on PC games.

The way XSX is being presented I can’t really see games anymore being under native 4K on it anymore, maybe slightly below it but not by much. 4K and 60fps seems to be where XSX is going. Personally I would be in favor of a dynamic 4K if that means significantly more graphical bells and whistles in a RPG, especially more so if those strive for 60fps as well.

How about the PC bottleneck where developers are still going to have to account for 5400 RPM hard drives as someone’s main storage solution? PC versions of games aren’t going to require Xbox or PS5 SSD levels for a long time.

PCs are doomed, consoles held back, oh no…


There were LOTS of complaints by devs about PS3 at the time.