The latest Xbox development kit adds a surprising boost to the $299 S Series

The latest Xbox development kit adds a surprising boost to the $299 S Series

Zoom / The visual doubling effect applied to this S-series doesn’t mean it gets four times the memory boost in this week’s Microsoft GDK update. It is impossible to confirm the actual multiplication amount until Microsoft updates its public documents on the matter.

Sam Mischkovich

The latest update to the Microsoft Game Development Kit (GDK), an official API aimed at developing games on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, appears to have been set in stone when it was announced in June. Two months later, this update was launched with a very new surprise bonus that has not yet been detailed in the company’s Github repository.

The news instead comes from an unlisted official Microsoft video, first spotted by XboxERA reporter Jesse Norris, which included a baffling announcement. Currently running two months after its scheduled month, the June GDK now includes an increased memory allocation exclusively for the low-priced $299 Xbox Series S console.

This video is not associated with specific patch notes or announcements, and as of the time of publication, searches through the GDK that have been publicly shared do not explain how this boost in memory allocation was achieved. Microsoft representatives did not immediately respond to Ars’ questions about technical details of this update.

Developers round out the 10GB S-series total memory

In the meantime, it’s reasonable to assume that this newly available pool of RAM, which the video narrator describes as “hundreds of megabytes,” has been allocated elsewhere on S-series systems until today’s update – possibly related to OS-level operations (which previously sucked in nearly 2 GB of the S Series’ 10 GB total) which the company has since been able to cut.

Ars sources have confirmed what has been largely known by testers and researchers for current-generation consoles: the gap in available RAM between the $499 Xbox Series X (16GB total) and the cheaper S-Series (10GB total) led to development across The platforms between the two are more difficult than what Microsoft originally announced. In Microsoft’s best-case scenario, a Series X game targeting 4K resolution and incredibly high-resolution textures can downsize all textures for a 1080p TV screen and get away with loading an identical display, thanks mostly to a lot of other architecture Identical between controllers (especially CPU and storage specifications).

As more third-party developers have discovered since getting to know the two-year-old consoles, that’s not always how development environment portability technology works. Some developers still find that their virtual environments, effects budgets, and lighting scenarios get throttled not only by low total GDDR 6 RAM but also shrinking bandwidth, from the 320-bit X-series bus to the 128-bit S-series bus.

Thus, even a small jump of, say, 200 MB in RAM, or 2.5 percent, can make a big difference for a developer trying to change a certain resolution of shadows or ambient blockage from Series X to Series S. “hundreds of megabytes” The number could be even higher, anywhere between 512MB and 768MB, although we’re still waiting to know exactly how many.

Few of the modern games are a rift regardless From last generation consoles

The move comes as current-generation consoles continue to fall short on some of the biggest technical sales offerings, at least at the software level. Many of the biggest games of the past two years have failed to truly demonstrate game-changing features, particularly the near-infinite virtual worlds that can be enabled through a combination of PCI-E 4.0 tiered storage and supercharged memory pipelines.

This has been exacerbated by a few highly anticipated Sony games that have rolled back their previous “current-generation exclusives” in favor of cross-gen releases on PS4 and PS5, seemingly to keep game sales while current-generation systems have been largely sold out and production has been delayed. a program. So far, we pretty much left last year Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart As a great testament to the exclusive power of today’s consoles.

At least in the case of the Xbox ecosystem, with more current-gen exclusives ready to launch, more memory parity between Series X and Series S could help development efforts for 2023 games like Forza Motorsport And the starfield. By the time these games are released, the S Series’s default meager 512GB built-in storage could grow, or the price of its storage expansion cards could drop. Both moves would boost sales of the weaker, cheaper system if newer games really fulfilled the S Series’ promise “with the strength of the Series X, but for 1080p TVs.”

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