Unless you were awake in the wee hours of the morning, you arose on September 8th to news of a new Xbox. The new Xbox Series S leaked onto social media, forcing the hand of Microsoft to confirm it. While the company releasing two consoles isn’t groundbreaking, what is unique is its pricing model. Here are some of the pros and cons of the new Xbox and why folks might consider it over its fully next-gen sibling the Series X or the PS5.
Pro: That Price Point
It is very, very hard to argue against $299 for a next-gen console. For $100 more than a Switch, you get the console and a controller and an entry point to the next frontier of gaming. For that 300 bucks, you get 1440p resolution, ray tracing, 120 frames per second, and older games upscaled to better resolutions when possible. Inside, the Series S will come with a 500+ GB SSD, making your load times ultra-fast. No word on if that is expandable internally yet though. And, of course, the console comes with continued access to Game Pass.
Pro: Console Financing
Perhaps the most interesting development in the leaks is Xbox All Access’ plans for the Series S. According to Windows Central, with no money down, you can get your brand new Series S and Game Pass for $24/month. The more powerful Series X costs $10 more at $35 a month. In a post-COVID world were millions of people are out of work or taking reduced hours, this is incredibly attractive. However, in the fine print, it does say that if you miss payments Microsoft can remotely lock your console. So if your income is inconsistent this might not be the plan for you.
Con: Its Not The Full Experience
While 4k gaming and all the other bells and whistles might not appeal to the gaming casual, its a line in the sand for the hardcore. The Series S will only go up to 1440p. Also, the Series S will not come with a physical disc drive. Again, while that might not seem like a big deal, the ability to share games is impossible without it. If you’re a stickler for fidelity and image quality, then you might want to take the plunge on the Series X. In addition to its more powerful contemporaries, Series S will also have to compete with PCs as well. Virtually Xbox Games are available on PC and Nvidia recently revealed the most powerful (and cheapest) line of GPUs ever. The market for the Series S is there, but it more than likely will not be the hardcore gamer.
Con: Still An Xbox
This isn’t said to be flippant. But unfortunately, the Xbox got clobbered in the last console cycle. The PS4 outsold and out-performed the Xbox One and became the de-facto platform for console gamers. Nearing the end of the gen, Sony rolled out a series of console exclusives that furthered their lead. Games like God of War, The Last of Us 2, Spider-Man, and Ghosts of Tsushima only capped off what was already a massive lead.
Unfortunately, gamers are feeling like there’s more of the same coming from Microsoft on this front. And that’s not good. While the hardware is attractive and affordable, it means nothing if it doesn’t have the games. And with Halo Infinite delayed until 2021, early adopters will have to lean on ports and last gen’s titles to hold them over.
Its Still A BIG Deal
The Series S is still a cannonball across the bow of Sony, who remain gun-shy about revealing their console prices. Back in 2006, their $600 Playstation 3 caused them to lose major ground against Microsoft in the market. The Xbox 360 grew exponentially, and it wasn’t until late in that generation that the PS3 became a worthwhile platform. This announcement, coupled with Microsoft’s financing plan, give them a ton of consumer goodwill right now. And unless Sony’s disc-less version of the PS5 can match the Series S. expect to see a ton of little ugly speaker-boxes under X-Mas trees this December.