Okay, let’s start with a bit of a disclaimer: As is likely the case with many of you, I have been reading (and listening) to many different articles/podcasts etc. over the last few weeks (if not months) all about the launch of the new console generation from Sony and Microsoft. As such, while it does represent my opinion, a lot of what I write below has no doubt been influenced by what I’ve read and heard; By the opinions of others that resonated with me. This includes discussions I’ve had with fellow members of the SA Gamer team, articles on several video game websites and some of my prefered podcasts – IGN’s Gamescoop comes to mind for example. However, rather than proposing what I see as ‘objectively true’, I’m hoping that by revealing some of my thoughts on new Xbox Series S (and X) before we have any more PS5 details, we all have a space to discuss it more openly. Debate is not necessarily a bad thing. Please feel free to disagree with me and each other, but let’s be friendly about it.
Xbox is starting to win me over.
And with that out of the way here goes… First, let me just say that I don’t think I will be able to afford either new console. At least not for a while. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. The prices (and proposed prices) are all staggeringly high and this year just hasn’t been great on the economic side of things for many of us. I’ll also admit that while I hate the whole console war nonsense – I currently do not own an Xbox console but do own a PS4. And despite realising that the Xbox One X is the best console currently available – if I had to buy something right now – I’d still opt for the PS4 Pro. Why? Well, content really. In an ideal world – I’d love to own both and an Xbox one and a PS4 (along with my favourite, the Switch). However, as I could only afford one – the PS4 won out because of the games available. However, Xbox is starting to win me over.
Game Pass paradise
The Xbox Game Pass service is simply unparalleled. I cannot fathom how the service costs what it does and what the reasonable monthly fee includes. Plus, it just keeps getting better… All launch games available immediately! Now, EA games too! And if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the ‘selected territories’ – the subscription fee to purchase the service plus get a new console over a period of 24 months is just the best pro-video-game-consumer offer that’s around. I love all of that. Until Sony comes up with something in the same ballpark – the Xbox ‘environment’ (when looked at in a ‘bubble’) is just way, way superior. There’s actually no contest.
For the cash-strapped, Series S + Game Pass seems like a no brainer… right?
And to be honest the Series S price actually got me very interested. R7000 is lower than I was expecting. It’s ok if you disagree – but that’s what’s going on in my head. Plus, you throw in the previously mentioned Game Pass and – let’s be honest it seems like a no brainer.
However, it may (still) not be quite that simple…
For someone like me that loves Nintendo, the Switch is likely to be my primary console – at least for now. However, let’s be honest there are tons of games that will just never be on a Nintendo platform (or at least not in any form you’ll likely want to play them on). Take something as simple as FIFA. I’m a FIFA guy. I have been for decades. I want to keep up with the new FIFA game. Yes, of course, I’d prefer if it was just an annual update – but until that dream comes true – I need a Playstation or an Xbox. So now which do I choose? Well, easy – Sony. Why? Well, the first fly in the Xbox ointment is something that I’ve mentioned before. I can only afford one of the consoles and Game Pass is just (too) good. I have a PC. Sure, my PC is not the best as a gaming platform – but it’ll do. Sure, it won’t run or look anywhere as good – but recently Xbox hasn’t really provided me with enough content to compete with what Sony does. And this is coming from someone that doesn’t really play any big violent epics or any shooters. And yet, even in my very limited case, Sony exclusive games have just been better. And when Xbox does do something special – Game Pass is there to pick up the slack.
I can only afford one console & because Game Pass is so good – I choose Sony.
So that’s how I felt about current-gen. So let’s talk about the Xbox Series S. Like I said, I’m pleasantly surprised with the price. No, it’s not cheap, but it’s much cheaper than the 12K you’ll likely have to drop for the Series X or the PS5. I don’t know what PS5 Digital is going to cost but odds are it’s going to be quite a bit higher – at least that’s what most experts are predicting. So, get an Xbox Series S, right? Well, maybe. Why? I hear you ask again… Well, we still don’t know exactly how much better the Series S is going to be from the current One X. We know there is no 4K gaming and we recently heard that, for example, the Xbox Series S will not be able to “run Xbox One X Enhanced versions of backwards compatible games” it will instead run the One S versions and it will have less RAM – IGN. Sure, the load times and a few other benefits will likely be seen thanks to the SSD and the updated GPU/CPU, but if Microsft is going to make all their games playable everywhere as they keep telling us – and the One X will likely drop in price when the new system launches – doesn’t it make some sense to opt for that system? Especially when you’re tight on money? Plus, this may even get more complicated when we get the PS5 prices (likely?) tomorrow…
Mad pot-stirring Pony
So from the people I’ve heard that generally seem to know about these things better than me – we’re likely to get the PS5 console prices tomorrow. The most likely scenario seems to be the PS5 coming in at within $50 dollars of the Series X and the Digital version somewhere around the $399+ mark. If that’s what happens – it’s a pretty straightforward shoot-out. The Series S will no doubt make things more interesting – but until we have more Halo news or more info on the special exclusives Xbox studios are working on – Sony is still likely to keep ahead (if not because of current fanboy-ism than at least because of their upcoming lineup). However, imagine the unlikely but theoretically possible scenario where Sony decides to undercut Xbox. They can probably afford it for a while. And if they come in with the PS5 at like $400 dollars and/or maybe match up the Digital price with the Series S – or, as rumours have suggested, come up with a PS Now+’ service that aligns even a little more closely with what Game Pass is doing… What happens then? Ok, I hear you say – that’s never going to happen. But what if it did… It’s could be Sony saying, “Let’s take a big initial loss and push Xbox squarely out of consoles and into the full-on ‘service’ play anywhere business”.
Microsoft says we can continue to play anywhere – So will the Series S be that much better than the (cheaper) One X?
So those are my thoughts… Yes, the last one is a bit mad. But even if you disregard that one – what are your thoughts on the Xbox Series S and X. Is Game Pass and a great Series S price actually going to hurt the Series X? Will the Series S be really that much better than keeping your cheaper One X? How will all of this be affected by the PS5 prices? Let us know in the comments section below…