Microsoft and Sony have been playing a game of announcement chicken over the past months, each seemingly waiting to see what the other will charge for their next generation console. Microsoft moved first this morning, announcing that the new Xbox Series X will cost $499 at retail with a release date of November 10 in North America. Yesterday an early leak revealed a budget version of the console, the Xbox Series S, which lacks a disc drive and cannot output 4K video for a reasonable $299. The X price is pretty much on target for what a box of its capabilities would cost, but that $299 S price could really shake things up.
Not everyone is equipped or financially able to upgrade their home entertainment systems to 4K, so why pay extra money for a console that can output a resolution you won't be able to use? Losing the disc drive is a benefit to those who go all-digital with their libraries, but I feel like the S is really meant to be a lean, affordable Xbox Game Pass machine. For a comparatively low startup cost and a monthly fee, there's more than enough games to play than most people will have time to enjoy, plus it was also announced this morning that Microsoft and Electronic Arts are teaming up to bundle the EA version of Game Pass, EA Play, into Game Pass at no additional cost. If you're primarily a Game Pass player who doesn't buy physical media anymore, it's hard to beat the S package. Your move, Sony.