Microsoft Launches a Budget-Friendly Xbox

By Bruce Harpham Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Microsoft launched a new Xbox console, the Xbox Series S, today in advance of the holiday shopping season. Priced at $299, the console is aimed at consumers who want a more affordable gaming experience. The new product is a fraction of last year’s Xbox Series X price currently priced at $499.

Comparing The Xbox Series S and X

Most players will have to wait some time to get their hands on the new Xbox. The differences between the two products are apparent in terms of hardware specs alone.

  • Display Resolution. If video game graphics quality matters to you, the Xbox Series X is the right choice. You can get native 4K graphics on the Series X and upscale to 8K. If you’ve recently upgraded your TV to 4K, the Series X may be the right choice. In contrast, the Series S offers 1440p native graphics and the option to scale up to 4K. Older TVs with 1080p resolution may no longer work with this year’s new Xbox. Checking your TV’s features in-depth before buying a new Xbox is critical to avoid disappointment.
  • Optical Drive. The Series X has an optical drive that can process 4K Blu-Ray discs. The Series S has no optical drive. Unless you have a collection of Blu-Ray discs, this feature difference may not matter much to many gamers.
  • Memory. The Series X has the advantage in video memory with 16 GB of memory while the Series S has 10 GB of video memory.
  • Processing Power. While both consoles have an eight-core processor, you get more processing firepower with the Series X. It delivers a 3.8 GHz processor compared to the 3.4 GHz on the Series S.
  • Onboard storage. This is one area where the Xbox Series X shines. It comes equipped with a 1 TB of storage with the option to add another 1 TB of storage as an add-on for a maximum storage capability of 2 TB. On the other hand, the Series S has 512 GB of built-in storage with the option to add 1 TB.

There are no significant differences between the two versions of the Xbox console regarding audio, backward compatibility, or controller features.

As Xbox games become more complex over time, the Series X is likely to deliver a robust playing experience for a more extended period of time. On the other hand, a gamer buying the Series S would have an extra $200 leftover to buy more games. Additionally, $200 would pay for more than a year’s access to Microsoft’s Xbox video game streaming service.

What’s Included With the Xbox X

Customers will receive a few items when they purchase an Xbox Series X. The standard complement of components includes the Xbox Series X console, a controller, an Ultra High-Speed HDMI cable, and a power cord.

Additional hardware may be needed in some cases. Players wishing to play with several people at their homes may need to buy another controller. Further, Microsoft does not include the memory add-on for additional storage. Instead, the company recommends the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X. The 1 TB version of the expansion card currently sells for $219.99 on Amazon.com.

More Customers for Video Game Streaming

By offering a budget-friendly Xbox, it is clear that Microsoft sees a significant opportunity to serve budget-minded customers. Furthermore, both consoles give customers a way to pay Microsoft monthly by subscribing to the GamePass service. The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is usually priced at $14.99 per month. As of November 10, Microsoft offered discounted subscriptions at $1 per month. With more than 100 games available, the player could play a new game each week and have new experiences for more than eighteen months.
There are two other versions of the GamePass subscription for gamers on a budget that might be a better fit. Xbox Game Pass for Console priced at $9.99 offers the same selection of more than 100 games. PC owners have the same pricing — the Xbox Game Pass for PC is priced at $9.99 per month.

Microsoft has more than 10 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers as of April 2020. Some percentage of those fans may upgrade their console to get the latest experience.

Xbox vs. Playstation — Which Will Win in 2020?

Later in November 2020, Sony will release a new version of the Playstation. That means that gamers will face a choice on where to spend their dollars in the 2020 holiday shopping season.

About the Author


Headshot for author Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book "Project Managers At Work" shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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