As well as unveiling the long-rumored console, Microsoft surprised us all earlier this month by revealing the Xbox Series S price. As an entry-level system, it aims to get players into the next generation for as little as possible; in fact, it costs a similar amount to the old Xbox One X. In addition, it's much less expensive than the more powerful Xbox Series X and is significantly cheaper than the PS5 as well. Not bad going.
To be precise, the Xbox Series S price is AU$499. By comparison, the Xbox Series X price and PS5 price are almost twice as expensive. Even the more affordable PS5 Digital Edition is AU$100 more. If cost is your main concern, it's hard to argue with the Xbox Series S price. It's comfortably the most affordable next-gen console we've had in a long time.
Convinced? You can put down pre-orders for both versions of next-gen Xbox right now. The consoles will then launch at the beginning of November (November 10, to be precise).
Either way, the Xbox Series S price announcement has been a long time coming. Microsoft and Sony have been playing a game of chicken to see who reveals the price of their console first, and it's good to finally be done with the long wait. Thanks to the two of them having aimed for a 'Holiday 2020' release date, they'd started to cut things fine.
For more details on the Xbox Series S price and what deals might be available at launch, read on. In the meantime, sign up for email alerts below if you want to be kept up to date on all things next-gen.
Xbox Series S price - how much does it cost?
The Xbox Series S will be AU$499 in Australia. Considering the fact that it'll still play next-gen games (albeit digitally due to the fact that it doesn't have a disc drive), that's pretty amazing value for money.
Alright, so it's not as powerful as the Series X. But that's not a totally fair comparison. The Series S is an entry-level next-gen system and is a hell of a lot more affordable as a result. And considering all the must-have games that are coming out for next-gen systems - from Cyberpunk 2077 to Fable - that's no bad thing.
Will there be any other Xbox systems in the near future? Probably not this year. We suspect the Series S and X are going to be the only ones on offer this Holiday season because they fit such clear roles. You get the Series S if you want an entry-level system and aren't fussed by the latest tech, or you buy the Series X if you want the full next-gen experience without limits.
No matter what, we'll be able to try the consoles for ourselves this November 10.
Where can I place an Xbox Series S pre-order?
Xbox Series S pre-orders in Australia
Microsoft Store (PRE-ORDERS OPEN)
Ordering an Xbox Series S direct from Microsoft makes a lot of sense, and while it's unlikely Microsoft itself will deviate from the RRP, stock should be ample. Placing a pre-order with the Microsoft Store also includes free shipping.
Xbox All Access is a subscription service that includes an Xbox Series S console plus Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a price of AU$33 per month on a 24-month contract; that's AU$792 in total, a saving of about AU$90 vs what you'd pay outright.
One caveat: you need to be a Telstra post-paid mobile or fixed broadband customer to sign up (Xbox All Access can be bundled as an 'add-on' to either of these).
JB Hi-Fi (POST-LAUNCH PRE-ORDERS OPEN)
Australia's biggest downtown tech store is one of the key retailers listed by Microsoft as a pre-order stockist for the consoles at launch. At the moment, pre-ordering with JB puts you in their "priority queue" but you may not get it on launch day at this stage.
EB Games (POST-LAUNCH PRE-ORDERS OPEN)
Australia's biggest games specialists have a decent trade-in deal for the Xbox Series S: if you trade in your Xbox One S, you can have the next-gen console for AU$299. This deal only seems to apply if you're pre-ordering online, so check out the EB Games site for more details.
Big W (SOLD OUT)
One of Australia's biggest bricks and mortar department stores is on Microsoft's official list for pre-order outlets. The online page is still asking for registrations of interest, but we expect pre-orders to open soon.
Amazon AU (UNAVAILABLE)
As the biggest retailer in the world by far, it seems a safe bet that Amazon will have plenty of stock for Australians. That said, the global retailer wasn't listed in Microsoft's Friday announcement, though it's likely among "participating retailers." Meanwhile, unlike the Xbox Series X, the Series S doesn't have a placeholder page as yet, though that's no sure sign Amazon won't stock it.
Xbox Series pre-orders in Australia: more details
In Australia, you're looking at Microsoft, EB Games, and JB Hi-Fi for guaranteed Xbox Series S pre-order deals. Alternatively, if you're a Telstra customer and want to pick up a Series S on an Xbox All Access plan (priced at AU$33 per month over 24 months, and bundled with Xbox Game Pass) then you can pre-register today at the Telstra website.
Naturally, Microsoft itself is also offering pre-orders via its online store on the best Xbox Series S accessories.
Xbox Series S - what's the difference?
This is where things get interesting - what makes the Xbox Series S different to the Series X? For starters, it's a sizeable 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X and doesn't have a disc drive. It'll still manage next-gen games, though. A leaked trailer highlighted the specific tech inside, from a custom NVME 512GB SSD powered by Xbox Velocity Architecture to graphics capable of DirectX ray tracing, 1440p, and up to 120 frames-per-second.
In short, the Xbox Series X is still capable of cool next-gen features such as variable-rate shading, ultra-low latency, and blindingly fast loading times. It reduces loading to a few seconds instead of minutes, so our gaming experiences will change for the better on Series S.
All this means that games will run better and faster on Xbox Series S than you'll be used to on the current Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Just remember, it won't be able to match the more expensive Xbox Series X graphically - it's simply not as powerful. Games will still look great, of course, but they're limited at 1440p instead of 4K. That won't matter too much if you don't have a 4K TV, but it's something to bear in mind in terms of future-proofing (on the plus side, Microsoft says that the Xbox Series S supports 4K streaming media playback and 4K game upscaling).
Saving money on accessories and games
As we mentioned in our guide to PS5 vs Xbox Series X, backward compatibility is a big feature of next-gen. Microsoft has been banging the drum of Xbox Series X backward compatibility for some time now, and that'll presumably be the case for the Series S as well.
It'll make a huge difference. Rather than having to buy extra controllers, accessories, or subscriptions, you'll be able to carry them over to your new console. All of your existing Xbox One peripherals and services like Game Pass are forwards compatible, allowing you to use everything from Xbox One external hard drives to Xbox One headsets on Series S. Many current-gen games are getting a free next-gen upgrade, too. It's all a handy way of offsetting the Xbox Series S price.
We'll update this page as and when deals appear for the Xbox Series S. Be sure to drop back in every now and then to stay in the loop! Don't forget to sign up for email alerts via the link below, either.
Wondering what the difference will be between current and next-gen games? We break down just how important ray tracing will be for Sony's PS5 and Xbox Series X.