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Xboxs latest dev tools add surprise boost for memory-strapped $299 Series S

Ram it, ram it, ram it…

Exact boost amount still unclearbut early analysis suggests it’s very good news.

The cheesy visual multiplying effect applied to this Series S isn't meant to imply that it's getting four times the memory boost in this week's Microsoft GDK update. The actual multiplication amount is impossible to confirm until Microsoft updates its public-facing documents on the matter.

Enlarge / The cheesy visual multiplying effect put on this Series S isn’t designed to imply it’s getting four times the memory boost in this week’s Microsoft GDK update. The specific multiplication amount is impossible to verify until Microsoft updates its public-facing documents on the problem.

Sam Machkovech

The most recent update to the Microsoft Game Development Kit (GDK), the official API that targets game development on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, appeared to be occur stone when it had been announced in June. 8 weeks later, however, that update went live with a surprise bonus that’s so new it hasn’t yet been detailed on the business’s Github repository.

The news headlines instead originates from the official unlisted Microsoft video, first spotted by XboxERA reporter Jesse Norris, including a tantalizing proclamation. The June GDK happens to be live 8 weeks following its named month, also it now includes an elevated memory allocation exclusively for the lower-priced $299 Xbox Series S console.

This video will not connect to specific patch notes or announcements, so when of press time, searches through the publicly shared GDK usually do not clarify how this memory allocation boost was achieved. Microsoft representatives didn’t immediately answer Ars’ questions with this update’s technical breakdown.

Getting devs nearer to Series S 10GB memory total

For the time being, it’s reasonable to assume that newly available pool of RAM, that your video’s narrator describes as “a huge selection of megabytes,” have been allocated elsewhere on Series S systems until today’s updateperhaps tangled up by OS-level processes (which previously sucked up roughly 2GB of Series S’ total 10GB pool) that the business has since had the opportunity to slash.

Ars’ sources have confirmed what has largely been known by testers and researchers of current-gen consoles: The gap in available RAM between your $499 Xbox Series X (16GB total) and the cheaper Series S (10GB total) has made cross-platform development between your two systems trickier than Microsoft originally advertised. In Microsoft’s best-case scenarios, a string X game that targets 4K resolutions and intensely high-resolution textures can downscale all textures with regard to a 1080p TV screen and otherwise escape having an identical rendering load, mostly because of plenty of other architecture being identical between your consoles (specially the CPU and storage specs).

As more third-party devs have discovered since getting acquainted with the 2-year-old consoles, that isn’t how development environment transposal always works.Some developers remain discovering that their virtual environments, effects budgets, and lighting scenarios get bottlenecked not merely by less total GDDR 6 RAM but additionally a shrink in its bandwidth, down from the 320-bit bus of Series X to the 128-bit bus of Series S.

Thus, a good tiny jump of, say, 200MB in RAM, or 2.5 percent, will make a big change for a developer attempting to transpose a particular fidelity degree of shadows or ambient occlusion from Series X to Series S. The “a huge selection of megabytes” count could possibly be even higher, ranging from 512MB and 768MB, though we’re still waiting to listen to how much.

Few modern games certainly are a Rift Apart from past-gen consoles

The move comes while both current-gen consoles continue steadily to flunk on a few of their biggest technical sales pitches, at the very least on a software level. Most of the biggest games of days gone by 2 yrs have didn’t illustrate truly game-changing features, specially the near-infinite virtual worlds that could be enabled by a variety of PCI-E 4.0-graded storage and supercharged memory pipelines.

This is exacerbated by way of a few highly anticipated Sony games rolling back their previous “current-gen exclusive” statuses and only cross-gen launches on PS4 and PS5, seemingly to help keep game sales while current-gen systems were largely sold-out and behind production schedule. So far, we’re largely left with last year’s Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart as a striking demonstration of power exclusive to current-gen consoles.

At the very least regarding the Xbox ecosystem, as more current-gen exclusives gear up because of their launches, more memory parity between Series X and Series S may help development efforts for 2023 games like Forza Motorsport and Starfield. By enough time those games launch, Series S’ default, scant built-in storage count of 512GB could grow, or its proprietary storage expansion cards could drop in cost. Either move would raise the weaker, cheaper system’s sales page if newer games indeed match the Series S promise of “as powerful as Series X, but also for 1080p TVs.”

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