Microsoft's Next-Gen Xbox Series S Is Only $299

Illustration for article titled Microsoft's Next-Gen Xbox Series S Is Only $299
Image: Microsoft

After a series of leaks last night, Microsoft has finally and officially announced their second next-gen console: the smaller, cheaper Xbox Series S. And it is cheap.


While the bigger next-gen machines from both Microsoft (Xbox Series X) and Sony (PlayStation 5) are expected to sell later this year for at least $499, this smaller console is priced at only $299.

The pros: if physical backwards compatibility isn’t an issue to you, and you’re not the type to trade-in your discs at places like GameStop, then the Series S will be very tempting. It’s almost the perfect Gamepass machine. And it’s $200 cheaper than we’re expecting for the Series X.

The cons: $200 is a lot less, so we’d expect some more serious compromises in terms of specs than just the loss of a disc drive. When we first reported on this console back in 2019, it was believed that the performance gap between the Series X and Series S would be around the same as the Xbox One and Xbox One X.

I’m really feeling the design, which isn’t as out-there as you might first assume. Sure, the huge black “speaker” grill for the ventilation is the first thing to draw your eye, but it’s not as wild as you might think, since it’s actually a continuation of a design trend we saw with the Xbox One S. It also gives the wee lil’ console a little character, a defining visual mark that helps it stand out (while also making it look like an intercom system from Control or Portal).

The Xbox One S had a similar vent design, which the Series S is simply highlighting further.
The Xbox One S had a similar vent design, which the Series S is simply highlighting further.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft says there’ll be a more thorough announcement “soon”.

Update, 9/8/20, 12:51pm—Here’s a trailer.

Per the trailer, the Xbox Series S launches November 10 and offers the following features:

  • Resolutions up to 1440p at up to 120 FPS
  • DirectX Raytracing
  • Variable refresh rate
  • Variable rate shading
  • Ultra-low latency
  • 4k streaming media playback
  • 4k upscaling for games
  • A custom 512 GB SSD

Most of these specs like “ultra-low latency” are vague, but the 512 GB SSD is a nice, firm, small number. 

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs



Reason number 256034 I won’t be buying an Xbox:

I’m still so fucking confused! MS’ marketting department needs to manage their naming convention alot better for potential customers who’re not completely caught up with their products.

The last Xbox I was clear about was the original Xbox One.
Since then it has been nothing but a whole mess of Xs, Ss, Series wahtever XS S X SX XS or whatever the fuck combination MS saw fit to vomit out.
Is this going to be the current gen? Next gen?
What even gen was the Xbox One?
I’m willing to spend the money, MS, but please help me out here.
When the competition is doing things so simple and clear with “Playstation FIVE”, how do they expect grandma to pick out the xbox with the right sequence of Xs and Ss for her grandkid for christmas?