The Xbox One S has finally arrived on shop shelves today, and despite Microsoft saying that the device offers a negligible performance boost over its larger sibling, it appears that, for certain games, the opposite is true. According to a detailed report published by Digital Foundry, titles that don’t have locked frame rates or utilize dynamic resolutions have noticeably improved quality in certain areas.
In particular, the article records that both Project CARS and Hitman have higher frame rates on the One S, while the likes of Batman: Arkham Knight and Rise of the Tomb Raider endure a reduced amount of screen tearing. Explaining how the superior performance is possible, senior director of marketing and planning Albert Panello told Digital Foundry that:
By making this change, developers creating HDR titles do not have to incur any performance hit. We also decided to make the extra six per cent available to all titles. So some games (ones that utilise dynamic resolution and/or unlocked framerates) may see a very minor performance improvement. Our testing internally has shown this to be pretty minor, and is only measurable on certain games, so we didn’t want to make it a ‘selling point’ for the new console.
Panello’s comments are understandable. While the Xbox One S does in fact make certain software run better, you shouldn’t upgrade to the petite device if that’s all you care about, as the quality boost isn’t universal. In that case, you’re much better off saving your cash and waiting for Project Scorpio, which is set to release in late 2017.