Xbox Series S (opens in new tab) won't run Xbox One X Enhanced versions of backwards compatible games, but it will make its own improvements.
Details about Xbox Series S not running Xbox One X Enhanced games surfaced on Twitter (opens in new tab) last week, and a Microsoft spokesperson offered the definitive word on how the console will handle Xbox One games soon after I asked for a statement.
“Xbox Series S was designed to be the most affordable next generation console and play next generation games at 1440P at 60fps. To deliver the highest quality backwards compatible experience consistent with the developer’s original intent, the Xbox Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR.”
The most common feature of Xbox One X Enhanced games (opens in new tab) is an upgrade to 4K support. Since Microsoft is framing 4K support as the primary difference between Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) and Series S, it follows that the latter console wouldn't make use of it.
Other Enhanced, uh, enhancements often include HDR support, smoother light and shadow effects, and better-looking textures both close-up and from far distances. It sounds like Xbox Series S will be able to add many of the same improvements to Xbox One games through its improved specs, but the results may vary from game to game.
So there we have it, another point for the Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S (opens in new tab) discussion: if you're booting up an Xbox One game, the latter will not run the Xbox One X Enhanced version - but it will make some improvements of its own, with the exception of bumping up the resolution to 4K.
Look to the future with our guide of all the upcoming Xbox Series X games (opens in new tab).