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Microsoft’s ‘smallest ever’ Xbox Series S to sell at budget £249

Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox will come in two flavours, the company confirmed today, with the stripped-back Xbox Series S joining the previously announced Xbox Series X this November.

Unexpectedly revealed due to a series of leaks, which have given the launch date for both machines as 10 November, the Xbox Series S will be priced at just £249 ($299), compared to the Series X which is expected to come in around £399. It will also be the company’s “smallest Xbox ever”, Microsoft said, well under half the size of the larger Series X.

The low price and slim profile come with trade-offs, of course. According to the same flurry of leaks that forced Microsoft to prematurely confirm the existence of the console, the Series S has significantly less powerful internals, which are likely to render it incapable of playing games at (native) 4K resolution. It will also lack a disc drive altogether, forcing users to rely on downloaded or streamed games and movies, and dispense with their physical media collections.

That restriction could sting less for users given a second push revealed by the recent leaks: a subscription model for the consoles that provides fixed-cost access to the machines themselves, as well as Microsoft’s all-access Game Pass, marketed as a sort of Netflix for video games, which provides free access to every first-party game developed by the company, as well as an increasing number of licensed third party titles.

The Series S will reportedly cost $25 a month in the US under the Xbox All Access scheme, with the Series X costing $35; international pricing has not yet been revealed, but is likely to start at £21.99 for the Series S. The current generation of consoles, which can also be bought under the scheme, cost from $19.99 to $24.99 a month, with the console fully paid off after two years.

Both consoles will launch to a crowded market. Sony’s PlayStation 5 is also arriving in two versions this Christmas, one with a disc drive and one without. Both editions will be otherwise identical, however, leaving the low-end of the market free for Microsoft to pitch for, and Sony is reportedly targeting a higher price for the console than even the Series X.

Nintendo is also rumoured to be working on a successor to its phenomenally successful Switch console, featuring more powerful internal hardware that can output 4K video to a supported TV.



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