Why is it so hard to develop for an Xbox series S when the specs of the machine are higher than the average minimum PC requirements?


I’ve been seeing a lot of people lament the Xbox series S being too underpowered and holding the generation back, but I’ve noticed specifically with Baldurs Gate 3 the minimum PC specs are below that of the series S.

What’s actually holding it back? It seems like something that’s getting a lot of traction lately but there’s no comparable data out there to support theories.

In: 19

From what I know the real hold back is they want couch coop to have split screen. Many games stopped offering split screen because it has to kind of do 2x the work since there are 2 views. PC has no couch coop, 1 view only.

Also minimum requirements are “acceptable” to different people. I have a 3090 and getting 35 fps in Act3 because its a stressful zone. I expect Series S on split screen would be like a power point.

There are three major components that deal with performance. Hardware, the system software (operating system), and the software itself (the game).

As you have noted the hardware itself meets the minimum specs for running on a PC. However, PCs specs are set using specific operating systems which have a specific impact on how the game runs.

PC, Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo systems all have different operating systems. The ability for each system to run a specific game based on how it was developed in the first place is different. It is often required to make alterations to a game to allow it to run on all platforms.

In some cases the game was originally built without multiplatform deployment in mind. In this case the game could be coded in such a way that it runs inefficiently on certain platforms due to how those platforms run their software.

The minimum PC specs for Baulder’s Gate 3 are 8GB of system memory and 4GB of GPU memory. The Xbox Series S has 8GB of shared memory across the system and GPU plus an extra 2GB of much slower memory for background system tasks.

In short, the Series S is 4GB short of the minimum PC spec

Speaking about the Xbox Series S in general and not specific to BG3. Most of the articles are talking about the Series S in relation to the Series X not in relation to PCs or overall specs.

If you take a look at the specs of the Series S vs the Series X, the S is (a little) underpowered compared to the X. Combine this with MS requiring games to be released/compatible/runs well on both S and X, it adds an additional layer of difficulty for the developers. Devs won’t be able to push the capabilities of the X because pushing the X means pushing out the S.

Not saying it’s impossible to optimize for the S, just that most games have tight deadlines and optimization is not really a one button thing so it’s usually left out for later (or never). But the easiest way to be in compliant to release the game is to not push the X so it runs well on the S (hence, holding the generation back).