Microsoft has confirmed that it is releasing a second Xbox console this year, alongside its next-gen PlayStation 5 rival, the Xbox Series X.
In December 2019, Microsoft unveiled its next-generation console, the Xbox Series X, which is due to launch towards the end of 2020. In the time since, the company has revealed some of the specs of the flagship console and said it will have backwards compatibility for a large catalogue of games.
But now, Microsoft has gone on to confirm the upcoming launch of a new, more budget-friendly version of the Xbox, entitled the Series S. The company said the device will retail at $299 in the US and £249.99 in the UK.
The console, which is no more than three times the height of a typical Xbox controller, promises “next-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever”. It appears that the console may be fully digital, as there is no disc drive visible in the image shared by Microsoft.
👀 Let’s make it official!
Xbox Series S | Next-gen performance in the ˢᵐᵃˡˡᵉˢᵗ Xbox ever. $299 (ERP).
Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise. pic.twitter.com/8wIEpLPVEq
— Xbox (@Xbox) September 8, 2020
Rumours about the Xbox
Details of the Series S console were leaked ahead of the company’s confirmation on Twitter today (8 September). According to reports from WindowsCentral, both the Xbox Series S and Series X are set to launch on 10 November.
WindowsCentral reported that sources have said that in addition to the entry-level Xbox’s $299 price tag, the console will also be available with a $25 per month Xbox All Access financing option. Sources added that the Xbox Series X will cost $499, with a $35 per month Xbox All Access financing option.
The publication is expecting that the Series S will be “around as powerful as the Xbox One X” and geared towards 1080p monitors with better frame rates.
The Series X on the other hand, will have 4K resolution and 60 frames per second as standard, with some games featuring 120 frames per second in multiplayer.
While Microsoft has been scant on details so far, its new lower-priced console is likely being released in an attempt to compete in an increasingly crowded market. Microsoft’s next console will launch in an environment with many options available to consumers at different price points.
Ahead of the 2019 holiday season, Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch Lite, which was a lower-priced version of the Nintendo Switch console and dedicated entirely to handheld play. This has proven to be a success for Nintendo, which sold almost 2m units within 10 days of launch – and that was before the pandemic resulted in a boom for the gaming company.
With Sony’s planned launch of the PlayStation 5 later this year, the Japanese company is also set to release two consoles at different price points, though the devices do not stray far from one another in terms of design. Both consoles share a similar white body, with the more budget-friendly version shipping as a digital-only system without a disc drive.
While the pricing of video game consoles is an important factor for consumers, it could also play an important role in determining what the best-selling console of the next generation will be.
With the last generation of consoles, the PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One at a ratio of more than two-to-one. This was likely in part due to the cost of the Xbox One at release, which was $499 compared to Sony’s $399 PlayStation 4.