The Xbox Series S has become the machine of choice for just over 40% of first-time Xbox users.
Microsoft shared the figure in a new blog post outlining record engagement numbers for the Xbox brand. This number only accounts for players who've never played on Xbox before, so it doesn't mean that the Xbox Series S commands 40% of next-gen Xbox console sales. However, it does tell us that nearly half of Xbox newcomers went with the smaller, cheaper, no-frills option, which is an interesting statistic for the console arms race.
The Xbox Series S is positioned to appeal to a few demographics, many of whom are likely Xbox first-timers. The most obvious group would be people who don't want to (or, for whatever reason, can't) spend a lot of money on gaming. The Series S provides a cheaper entry point, so it's a natural choice for people on a tight budget.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are sure to be some PlayStation or Nintendo fans who want to play on multiple platforms this generation and have the money to spare, but still don't want to pay $500 just to get access to a few more exclusive games. Here again, the Series S knocks $200 off the price of the Xbox library, and that could be enough for console gamers who just want access to games like Halo Infinite. That said, the Xbox exclusive lineup is still pretty thin after all the delays this year – Halo Infinite is now scheduled for fall 2021, for example – so I'd wager that this demographic will become more prominent next year.
In any case, as we said in our Xbox Series S review, it's a remarkably compact and affordable machine that punches way above its weight, so it's no surprise that it's holding its own against its beefier big brother. Whatever your budget or interests, you can't go wrong with a Series S as long as you're happy with 1080p or 1440p output.
Microsoft also announced that it's bringing Xbox Game Pass ultimate cloud gaming to PC and iOS.