Xbox fans debate whether Microsoft should drop the Xbox Series S 'feature parity' clause

ShinyProton

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imagine asking Xbox to drop support for a console that is 70% of Series consoles playerbase lol, that means giving up on 70% of revenue.
The point is not to drop the console.
Simply to end mandatory game release for both of them.

Thus, the Series X could have unlocked its real potential rather than having games designed for the weak one fitted with higher quality textures. It was the recipe for a disaster. Which came.
 

ONIFIVE

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If the Series X was the better selling sku, I would be all for the parity split. Unfortunately the majority of this Gen on the XBOX side is on the Series S, so the feature parity has to stay as that is where the players are if they haven't stayed on the XBOX ONE. If there were more Xs at launch this would probably be a different situation.
 

ShinyProton

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If the Series X was the better selling sku, I would be all for the parity split. Unfortunately the majority of this Gen on the XBOX side is on the Series S, so the feature parity has to stay as that is where the players are if they haven't stayed on the XBOX ONE. If there were more Xs at launch this would probably be a different situation.
Well, the real question is why is that?
The obvious answer is that's because of the parity imposed by Microsoft. It favored the least common denominator, at the expense of the Series X.

Thus, the PS5 was better able to exhibit its power, lure-in more major developers, more AAA titles and get the wheel spinning yielding a catastrophic 2:1 ratio in sales.
 

chattoe

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If the series x is being handcuffed to the series s what's the point in owning an X, They need to get rid of this parity asap imo. As a series X owner I already feel like a 2nd class citizen with all the focus on pc and cloud, let alone adding this situation to it. So I don't get certain games when other platforms do because of a the series s .. how is that fair to series x customers, were getting punished for a parity clause MS implemented. The hole situation is BS !
 

Jez Corden

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I think now Microsoft has an obligation to continue supporting the Xbox Series S throughout this generation with that full game release parity.

The only two options I see here are for Microsoft to be more lax and allow some features - like co-op/split screen - to be dropped from the Series S version while the Series X gets all of the bells and whistles. Alternatively, Microsoft should have an entire team dedicated to helping get those more graphically intensive/power hungry games to the finish line alongside developers bringing games to the platform.
agreed. i think it just could become a bigger problem down the road, but it also might not idk.
 

Jez Corden

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I think Microsoft shot their own foot once again this generation. Creating a cheaper console that was only digital was a great idea, but forcing developers to have to support both equally for releasing games was a bad move. When the generation begins, it can be done, but once devs get more used to the hardware, the weaker Series S will be the things that makes, or breaks the generation.
I think there is no easy way forward for them, because they can't just toss the console aside.
I think they should lift that rule if they want to see other games in the future done by third party publishers as I know right now it's a huge problem for some of them and they even consider dropping Xbox completely because of it.
i do think msft might be asking themselves if the two-sku system was necessary.. people pay 300 for the switch cus its portable, and accept performance compromises. the issue we have now with the xbox series s is that its potentially the reason a major exclusive isnt launching on the platform. either way, they need to explore a resolution here i would say.
Solution n. 4: offer a great trade in opportunity for all (I mean, ALL) xbox series S owners to get a series X for just a few dollars.

The series S situation is a disaster, not just about Blu ray drive lacking (and I got the point herr: try to force people to join digital market so used market can be avoided). Series S is poor in performance and xbox series x owners will suffer this situation as well. Also, series S it's not a Nintendo Switch: devs don't have to support it cause they don't have their return.

It's the only thing they can do: trade in for series X for all.
i imagine this would cost an insane amount of money.. like billions -- and i dont think microsoft has enough silicon available to commit to a program like this.
So, Series S is a great entry point into Xbox eco system and for Microsoft to do anything to damage that would be a bit of a mistake. That said, the "parity clause" should maybe be re-evaluated. If, in Baldurs Gate 3's case that it is the split screen co op that's stopping the full release then yeah, maybe MS need to rethink things like that. If we're talking about MS basically allowing devs to ship to Series X and not S I don't think that's a great look, the three people I know who went in on Xbox this gen because of the cheaper console then those people are gonna feel burned.
yeah i dont think completely dropping the xbox series s is an option now.. but i think they need to accept that some games just wont be able to run better on it.
There might be another lead to solve this issue. Since the series S has no disc drive, it is basically useless without an internet connection. Why not follow something along the lines of what's done with the switch then and rely on cloud gaming from the series S only for the games that would lack some select features in their native versions? In other words, release a native series S version of BG3 without split screen, and should you want to play this mode, you would rely on cloud.
issue there is queues i think., they dont have enough xbox cloud blades to serve the current audience, let alone a big new one. i do think they need to consider dropping the parity clause for some features like this though.
 

GraniteStateColin

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This article talks a lot about the Halo Infinite situation without acknowledging that particular title has an additional parity requirement of supporting the Xbox One, all the way back to the 2013 launch day hardware. That's a whole new tier of limitation beyond the Series S that they were trying to solve for. The mentions of Redfall are also not particularly relevant, as the same issues on Series S are also present on Series X in that title, and many stories have come out that Arkane just wasn't prepared for making a multiplayer live-service title (that was forced onto them by Bethesda). And for Forza, Turn 10 made it clear that was a priority thing for them... that they'd focused of graphical fidelity first and are having more difficulty than anticipated dialing it back for split screen.

It's easy to imagine that these are all due to challenges with Series S parity and that the entry console is holding them (it'd be a perfectly rational explanation, if true)... but there's no real evidence they actually are. Only Larian has outright linked their issues to Series S parity, and when they've done so they've been careful to emphasize that there's elements of their game design and the level of freedom afforded split screen players which make it particularly hard.

Good clarifying points. Thanks!
 

GraniteStateColin

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If the series x is being handcuffed to the series s what's the point in owning an X, They need to get rid of this parity asap imo. As a series X owner I already feel like a 2nd class citizen with all the focus on pc and cloud, let alone adding this situation to it. So I don't get certain games when other platforms do because of a the series s .. how is that fair to series x customers, were getting punished for a parity clause MS implemented. The hole situation is BS !

Those are fair concerns, but I don't think it's happening like that. In the PC world for decades, those same developers have built games with a range of performance capabilities depending on the specs of the PC, and the variation is almost always just on graphics quality and resolution. E.g., to get the most out of Cyberpunk, you need absolutely the top of the line PC with a top end RTX graphics card, but you can also play Cyberpunk on an aging PC with limited graphics, but at a low framerate, no ray tracing, and lower graphics fidelity.

Jez's point was that maybe there's something specifically challenging about split-screen co-op that poses a challenge for the lesser capabilities of the S. If so, I probably agree with you that the S shouldn't handcuff the game on the X, but I'm a little skeptical that's really what's happening, given that the Series S is more powerful than the lower end PC's that the game already supports. This seems like it may be a weird one-off developer issue. Hopefully...
 

GraniteStateColin

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Another way that Microsoft could handle this: simply provide a manual waiver request mechanism and slightly re-word the promise to S customers to something like "all games on both systems *" and the * saying "some nonessential features may differ between the consoles." This would incent developers to reach out to MS (if they're not doing this already) to be released from feature parity on the S and give MS a chance to help them or actually go ahead and give them a waiver to drop certain features.

Maybe the idea of setting a firm rule is more problematic than just leaving it open-ended, but manual like this. That way, MS can also deny the waivers if they believe it's possible to get the feature working on the S, but grant them in cases like this, where they can foresee real problems holding the line.
 

Vermillon

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issue there is queues i think., they dont have enough xbox cloud blades to serve the current audience, let alone a big new one. i do think they need to consider dropping the parity clause for some features like this though.
You might be absolutely right here! I have no idea of the cloud infrastructure scale, but in the case of split screen, if it is indeed a niche functionality, there shouldn't be a problem here. On the other hand, such solutions cannot become a crutch for developers who don't want to spend time optimizing for the S at all.
 

*kaotisch*

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It was a necessary evil when the two consoles released.

Meanwhile, Microsoft should have set a 1 year only mandatory rule. Then, the consoles should have gone their separate ways according to market rules. In the end, gamers decide.

By remaining stubborn, Microsoft created the conditions for a market shift that, once again, have them losing at a 2:1 ratio in console sales versus the PS5. By their fault. Again.

Anyone should have predicted the outcome. Unfortunately, it seems Microsoft did not.
Like I've said, in my minuscle world, in a third world country, new kids whose parents are not gamers are getting xbox. Of course PS has a 2:1 advantage, it ALWAYS had advantage, the brand entered the market first, much earlier and was a huge success. And loyal costumers won't change platforms.

This 2:1 ratio is not a problem for Microsoft, but for Sony (and Nintendo). Microsoft was once the newcomer, established itself as a permanent competitor (the vast majority of newcomers fail) and with this duo console model is challenging once again. It will take many years to change that figure, but it is changing.

ALSO, this duo console strategy was NEVER tried before, so adjustments have to be made, learning takes time.

Everybody, just be patient, and enjoy what you have.
 

ZioRenovatio

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i imagine this would cost an insane amount of money.. like billions -- and i dont think microsoft has enough silicon available to commit to a program like this.

This reminds me 'red ring of death' situation in x360 era.
I saw that great documentary they made about that: then, they had to decide what to do. To protect the brand, they choosed to face the problem aiming to repair All xbox 360, potentially.

Now gamers are suffering something different, and it's because a bad choice made by Microsoft. Still, they should save the brand.

Consoles are (were) good because devs try to push their limits beyond, and people can join generation(s) for about 6-7 years with no worries. But having two different machines was a bad idea, definitely.

What will we have: Microsoft will do nothing about that, series S and series X games will stay back, while ps5 exclusives will push to the limit ps5, I'm sure about that.
 

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