With two next-generation Xbox consoles coming out on November 10 worldwide, Xbox fans have a tricky choice to make. Do they choose beastly 4K power for a higher price, or save some money and still get a capable console that targets 1440p?
Xbox boss Phil Spencer reckons it’ll be the latter choice, as he believes the Xbox Series S will outsell the Xbox Series X. "I think, over the generation, our expectation would be that price really matters and that you would see the Series S sell more," Spencer told Kotaku.
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Given how fast the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PS5 pre-orders sold out, we’d suggest there's a huge appetite for all three next-generation consoles, But that’s to be expected when there’s a shift from one console generation to another.
However, the $299 Xbox Series S might prove to be more popular than the $499 Xbox Series X in the long run.
After all, it’s set to deliver impressive performance despite being notably less powerful than the Series X. It’ll run games at a native resolution of 1440p, which is handy for people with monitors that support that resolution or folks who haven't upgraded to a 4K TV yet. But it will also upscale games to 4K, which we’ve seen the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro do to great effect.
As such, there may not be a huge amount of real-world compromises to having a Series S over a Series X. And that’s a good thing.
It's all about Game Pass
As the Xbox Series S is a digital-only console with no disc drive, it will be reliant on game downloads. This is likely to push people toward opting for Xbox Game Pass, whereby they can get access to a suite of first and third-party games for a monthly subscription.
In fact, the Xbox Series S is being offered as part of the Xbox All Access scheme where you get the console and Game Pass access for as low as $24.99 per month over the span of 24 months.
If there will be more Xbox Series S consoles out in the wild, then it means more game developers are likely to want to get their games on Game Pass. That’s good news for people who might be using Game Pass on an Xbox Series X, older Xbox consoles, or on their Windows PCs.
Democratizing next-gen gaming
More Xbox Series S consoles means the bar for entry into next-generation gaming is lower in both terms of performance and price. As such, that means developers could really ensure that games run well on Xbox Series S hardware if it's as popular as Spencer thinks it could be.
We’d expect developers to build their games to take advantage of the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. But they could also ensure they scale down effectively to run on the less powerful Series S hardware. This could also mean that gaming PCs and laptops that might be using older graphics cards and processors will still be able to run next-generation games, albeit with a few less graphical bell and whistles.
As such, new games might not be limited to people who can afford to splash the cash on dedicated gaming machines. And more gamers means more scope for developers to create interesting games that could cater for new audiences that may not have considered next-gen gaming due to the hardware needed.
Of course, this is all speculation based off Spencer's predictions. But we feel having the Xbox Series S as an alternative to costly next-gen gaming machines is not only good for Microsoft, but could be a boon for the wider gaming world.
We're mere weeks away before the new Xbox consoles and the PS5 arrive in November, so we’ll not have long to wait to see if these musings and predictions come to fruition.