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Xbox Series S could replace 'discontinued' Xbox One

Xbox Lockhart concept design
(Image credit: Reddit - u/jiveduder)

Microsoft’s strategy with the upcoming Xbox Series X (and strongly rumored, though still not official Xbox Series S) couldn’t be more different than Sony’s with the PS5. While the latter wants to put a clear line in the sand between generations, Microsoft intends to be more fluid with experiences shared across generations – or so the company says.

However, a few eagle-eyed people have spotted that Xbox One availability seems to be slowing down. Amazon lists the Xbox One X as discontinued, and according to a Reddit user, all Xbox One X consoles are getting discontinued at Target. 

Before we go any further, we should note that one Microsoft employee has denied that the Xbox One is discontinued in a discussion on Twitter. “Xbox One S is very much still available,” tweeted Dan Tavares, Xbox Console Business Planning Lead at Microsoft, in reply to someone highlighting Amazon’s discontinued listings. “Amazon is just messy in how they show products.” 

It’s entirely possible that this innocent explanation is true for Target too, and a new SKU is incoming. After all, it would be pretty unusual for a manufacturer to discontinue a console so quickly. Notably, Sony kept manufacturing PlayStation 2 until as recently as 2013, so why would Microsoft say goodbye to Xbox One before its successor arrives on shelves?  

But there’s another possibility: Microsoft is winding down Xbox One production because the Xbox Series S will end up replacing it.

Xbox Series S: the new Xbox One? 

We know that Microsoft has put backwards compatibility front and center with the Xbox Series X with every title playing nicely with the new hardware. If that’s the case for Xbox Series S too, then why would Microsoft need to keep the Xbox One? This would be a machine capable of playing everything the ‘discontinued’ console can, with the added advantage of pushing 1080p versions of Series X exclusives, after all.

Wouldn’t that negate the need for Smart Delivery – Microsoft’s technology that allows games to be played across hardware generations with a single purchase? Not necessarily. There are, at last count, just shy of 50 million Xbox One consoles out there, and discontinued or not, they’ll still be available via the second-hand market. And for multi-screen households, they’ll make an excellent backup console.

If this speculation is right, then it’s not surprising that Microsoft hasn’t officially commented on the Xbox One’s ‘discontinued’ status – to do so would be to announce that the Xbox Series S is real and coming soon, which isn’t something the company has decided to do just yet. But if we are on the money with this prediction, then we can’t be too far away from an official unveiling. Watch this space.