Microsoft is leading us into the next-generation on November 10, 2020. It confirmed the news this week, along with a detailed look at the Xbox Series S, when we will be able to pre-order it and the Xbox Series X, and it finally priced both of the upcoming systems.
With Sony still yet to confirm a price or release date for the PS5, this is one of our clearest looks at the state of play for the next generation. With that in mind, the GamesRadar team took a little time out from frantically arguing about tech specs and Game Pass in Slack to write up our Xbox Series X price impressions.
"It's an attractive enough of a proposition to make me ignore the fact that I loathe white consoles" - Josh West, Features Editor
I don't know if this was Microsoft's intention, but it has successfully talked me out of buying an Xbox Series X. As much as I love the look of the machine and the idea of owning something future-proofed even more, the truth is I don't own a 4K TV – nor will I be able to afford one that supports that auto low-latency mode (ALLM), HDMI 2.1, and variable refresh rate (VRR) at any point in the near future.
Without a TV that supports those features, there's very little need for me to own an Xbox Series X. The Xbox Series S, on the other hand, is attractive enough of a proposition to make me ignore the fact that I loathe white consoles and peripherals. And let's be honest, $300 / £250 is a ridiculous price. I'd have gladly saved up and paid the $499 / £450 to take advantage of Xbox's next-generation advancements and opportunities, but knowing that I can access the vast majority of them for so much cheaper is exactly what I needed to hear, particularly in this economy. I'm counting down the days to November 10.
"The very existence of the Xbox Series S ensures no Xbox fan is getting left behind" - Alex Avard, Features Writer
$499/£449 is a big ask for consumers in today's economic climate, but the Xbox Series X's price point is one which reflects Microsoft's confidence in what it believes to be the most powerful console hitting markets this Holiday.
The very existence of the Xbox Series S also ensures no Xbox fan is getting left behind in the jump to next-gen, though the new trailer comparing the console to the Xbox One S (instead of the Xbox One X) to promote its power does suggest this thing isn't quite as "next-genny" as we're being led to believe. Still, with Microsoft laying all its cards out for the future of interactive entertainment, Sony needs to offer a strong response, and soon, if it hopes to hold the edge come November.
"The more people that can have access to games, the better that is for the industry" - Rachel Weber, US Managing Editor
Arguments about 4K and confused branding aside, I'm always going to appreciate a company like Microsoft offering a gentler economic option for those that need it. As a kid who had to develop sociopathic manipulation skills to befriend kids with consoles because my parents couldn't afford for us to have our own, I know what a huge purchase something like this is for a family.
$299 will still rule out a lot of people – especially with the pandemic ravaged economy the way it is – but it still gives a bigger audience a better chance of being able to play the next-generation of amazing games. The more people that can have access to games, the better that is for the industry, and the better that is for everyone who loves to play. As for me? I'll be soothing my sociopathic inner child with an Xbox Series X all to herself, because I spend my money on electronics instead of therapy.
"It's the price for me" - Alyssa Mercante, Editor
With all the talk about next-gen consoles' potential to be financially inaccessible for many gamers, it's nice to see that Microsoft is providing twol buying options with the Xbox Series X and Series S. $299 for a next-gen console? $34.99 a month for the better performing version of the next-gen console?
My 17-year-old self who spent a chunk of her summer ice cream job's paycheck on an Xbox 360 and Halo 3 is shaking. Add that to four generations of backwards compatibility and it's obvious that Microsoft is looking out for your wallet – as best as a trillion-dollar company can, of course.
"Now I'm even more excited for GeForce RTX 3080" - Connor Sheridan, News Writer
Microsoft has a good approach dialed in for capturing the high-end and mid-tier console markets with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S respectively. But after the big announcements of the last two days, now I'm even more excited for GeForce RTX 3080.
As soon as Microsoft committed to making all of its big first-party titles available on PC thanks to Game Pass Ultimate, I knew that I'd never need to buy another Xbox. That isn't meant to be a dunk! I think it's fantastic how Microsoft is giving us more options. But I've been ready for a PC upgrade for about three years now, and I'd rather put that money toward something I can play everything on. Well, everything but Sony and Nintendo exclusives.
"The budget box is an attractive deal that will definitely boost the Xbox install base" - Leon Hurley, Guides Coordinator
As someone who's basically mained PS4/PC/Switch this entire generation, I've been sideeying the Series X for a while now. I've barely used my Xbox One this entire generation because it just didn't have anything I couldn't get elsewhere. Because of that I've been wondering a lot about needing a Series X. At $299 though the Series S is a much more attractive, almost impulsive idea. And, if I'm honest, I'm much less worried about buying something I might only switch on twice at that price.
I suspect a lot of people will feel the same way and the main thing the new S will likely do as a result is boost the install base (the amount of people that own/use a console). That's something that can make a huge difference in getting exclusives and signing deals. Studios always want to release on the biggest platform and that budget Series S price will only help Microsoft there. Combined with Game Pass and the pay per month deals, it's a great gateway to the next generation that I'm curious to see play out. "I'm still not sure why I need a new Xbox console"
"I'm still not sure why I need a new Xbox console" - Sam Loveridge, Global Editor-in-Chief
As someone who lives in a house where an Xbox One X gathers dust, and I play all new Xbox titles on my PC – mostly via Game Pass Ultimate – I'm struggling to see the need for a new Xbox generation. After all, the launch line-up announced so far are all cross-platform, and by already signing up for Xbox Game Pass, I'm future-proofed for whatever Xbox has to offer in the years to come regardless.
"Where are the games?" - Jack Shepherd, Entertainment Editor
Right now, the Xbox One X is my most played console, and the new announcement has given me exactly zero reason to change that. The Series S | X may have slightly quicker load times, but am I willing to spend £450 – sorry, Series S; if I'm investing in next-gen, I'm going next-gen proper – so I can load my games slightly faster? Nope.
Would I be willing to pay £450 on a console that lets me play new games I can't play anywhere else? Yes (sorry, wallet). Until the new Xbox can offer me something that the One X cannot, then I'm happy to wait – and by that stage, I'll probably have a PS5 to keep me company.
"Xbox will almost certainly be the most affordable next-gen option" - Austin Wood, Staff Writer
As staggering as it is to see a next-gen console listed under $300, the more impressive value for me has got to be the payment plans that Microsoft has set up. Having a go-to payment plan that doesn't force you to go through your retailer or credit card will be a godsend.
Over two years, you can pay off the Xbox Series S for $24.99 a month or the Xbox Series X for $34.99 a month, all while keeping Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You have to commit two two years of Xbox Game Pass, but that isn't hard since it's easily the best subscription service available for games. Microsoft is serving up some value, that's for sure.
"The Xbox Series S is a great deal, but it's not enough to tempt me just yet" - Heather Wald, Staff Writer
As exciting as the prospect of the next-generation Xbox is, at the moment I'm still not entirely sold on the idea of investing in one right away. I certainly won't be able to get the full fat monolithic Xbox Series X anytime soon for the asking price, and without a 4K TV, I don't think I'd get the most out of it anyway. I can't say I'm not tempted by the smaller, cheaper next-gen offering, though.
But while the Xbox Series S has a mighty fine price tag and the Game Pass offers ridiculous value, the all-digital aspect is enough to keep me on hold for the time being. The whole ecosystem of Xbox is fantastic, and being able to use your old peripherals is a big selling point for sure, but until there are some next-gen games that really sell me on taking the plunge, I think I'll wait it out.
"May just give Xbox the edge in the next generation" - Benjamin Abbott, Hardware Editor
Oh, damn. I was expecting Microsoft's next generation of consoles to be so much more expensive. Just how much of a loss are Xbox going to be swallowing this November? There's a lot of crazy-powerful tech under the hood, after all. Regardless, it's a smart move. There's no way PS5 can undercut their rival in terms of cost, and that - combined with Microsoft's constant chest-beating about teraFLOPS and horsepower – provides a real selling-point that may just give Xbox the edge in the next generation.
It doesn't matter if it's all nonsensical jargon to the average person. Being able to say you're cheaper and 'better' in a technical sense is an alluring mix. Especially because you can pick up an even cheaper next-gen system (the Series S) that'll still play the same games with next-gen quality, albeit without 4K. The latter alone has made me go from 'nah, I'll pass' to 'you know what? Maybe'.
Here's everything we know about the upcoming Xbox Series X pre-orders too, or watch the video below for a look at the next generation of Unreal Engine.