Preorders for the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X are now live, here’s where you can pick one up, but be quick, because stock is extremely limited.
Xbox Series X
Xbox Series S
XBOX All Access
It’s a little hard to keep track of all the different models of Xbox available today, and there’s quite some nuance between the different models. The main thing to think about is that their two upcoming next-generation consoles are the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X. All Xbox One models are previous generation machines, and for the purposes of game compatibility, going forward you’ll need either an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X to play all the latest releases. We’re expecting a reasonably lengthy cross-generation period, where many games will be available for both existing and new machines, but eventually you’ll need to upgrade if you want to continue playing newly released games. Check out our guide to the PlayStation 5 if you want to compare these two sets of offerings from Sony and MS.
There are several key differences between the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. They break down as follows:
Xbox Series X is a machine targeting 4k gaming, with the majority of games on the system rendering at a native 4k resolution, perfect for playing on a high-end TV or high-resolution gaming monitor. This is due to the big difference between the GPU across these models.
The Series S ships with 10GB of GDDR6 RAM, whereas the Series X comes with 16GB of GDDR6
The Series S is equipped with a 512GB SSD, whereas the premium Series X comes with twice that with a 1TB SSD. Both drives operate at the same speed though.
Xbox Series S does not feature a physical disc drive, meaning the only way you can play any games on this system will be through digital downloads. Xbox Series X offers you the choice of either physical or digital games. This applies equally to future games and new releases, where if you have an existing library of disc-based games, they won’t work on an Xbox Series S. Something to bear in mind, especially given Microsoft do such a good job of backward compatibility on their game consoles.
The Xbox Series S is physically much smaller than the Xbox Series X, and in fact, Microsoft says that it’s the smallest Xbox they’ve ever made.
Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Series S will not be able to run either Xbox One games or Xbox 360 games in their X-enhanced modes, whereas Series X will. This means that playing Xbox 360 games or Xbox One games on Xbox Series S will be capped at their original maximum resolution, 1080p, and in many cases sub-1080p. Xbox Series X, however, will offer the same enhancements to rendering resolution that Xbox One X offers, with many Xbox 360 games or Xbox One games being available in resolutions from 1080p to 4k, although notably this only applies to games which have been X-enhanced.
If you’re finding all this a little confusing, you’re not alone, but what it essentially means is that the Xbox Series S is a sub-4k machine, and this applies to both upcoming games and legacy content, whereas Xbox Series X is designed around playing games at a 4k resolution, and that extends to backward compatibility for Xbox 360 and Xbox One games. Beyond X-enhancements, both Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X will offer advantages for backward compatible games like faster load times, more consistent framerates, games with dynamically scaling resolution more often hitting the upper limit of their existing resolution cap.
Beyond these differences, they’re fairly similar machines, both using the same Zen 2-based CPU (although it’s clocked at 3.8GHz on the Series X and 3.6GHz on the Series S), both using roughly similar aesthetic design language, although with the Series S is primarily white, and the Series X is in all black.
Microsoft says that the key difference they want players to consider between the two is output resolution. If you are dead set of next-generation gaming at native 4k resolutions, you’ll want to go with the Series X, if that isn’t a factor worth spending nearly double for you, then you should perhaps instead consider the Series S.
Microsoft has today confirmed that both the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X will release internationally on November 10th.
Microsoft has confirmed that preorders for their next-generation Xbox consoles will go live on September 22nd, ahead of their launch on November 10th. Stock is going to be very limited, with preorders likely to be snapped up as soon as they become available, so you’ll want to try to place an order as soon as you can if you want to avoid disappointment.
Microsoft has confirmed the launch prices for both of their new Xbox consoles. The pricing breaks down as follows:
Xbox Series S
Xbox Series X
Microsoft’s Game Subscription service is a key part of their pitch for their next generation consoles. Where you pay one monthly subscription to get access to a massive library of Microsoft first-party games, and a comprehensive selection of third party games. Since we know that all games that are supported on Xbox One will be carried over to their next generation, you’ll get access to all the Original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games that are included with Game Pass, all with improved performance and faster load times. Microsoft hasn’t given details of further enhancements to backward compatible games yet, but they did an excellent job in this regard on Xbox One, so we hope to see that continue on their next-generation consoles too.
Beyond simply accessing Xbox One games on the new consoles, some titles are going to receive updates specifically to take advantage of the new features and capability of Microsoft’s new consoles.
Existing Game Pass games like Forza Horizon 4, Gears Tactics, Sea of Thieves, Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Tell Me Why, The Outer Worlds, Grounded, Destiny 2, and Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom are all going to be updated with improved performance and visual fidelity.
Beyond these updates, Microsoft are also expanding the offering of their Game Pass Ultimate subscription. They are adding EA Play to Game Pass Ultimate at no additional cost, meaning that players can get access to a huge library of EA back catalog games included with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The latest EA releases are not included in this, and usually their big annual sports games only get added when the new one is imminently launching, but it is still a compelling package with tonnes of great games to play across a variety of genres. This really enhances the value of a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
Xbox All Access is Microsoft’s service where for a monthly subscription, on a 24 month contract, players get an Xbox console at no upfront cost. This includes both the hardware and a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Xbox All Access will be made available at the following retailers:
- Telstra in Australia
- EB Games in Canada
- Elgiganten in Denmark
- Gigantti in Finland
- FNAC in France
- Spark in New Zealand
- Elkjøp in Norway
- Media Expert in Poland
- SK Telecom in South Korea
- Elgiganten in Sweden
- GAME and Smyths Toys in the U.K.
- Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Microsoft Store, and Walmart in the United States
This service will cost $24.99 for the Xbox Series S tier, and $34.99 for the Xbox Series X tier.
Microsoft is launching an initiative called Smart Delivery, which means that any supported game will offer both the Xbox One version and next-generation Xbox version in one purchase. If you purchase any of these games for Xbox One, you can access the next-generation version of these games on Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X at no additional charge. For these titles, save progress will seamlessly carry over, as well as any DLC purchases. Here is the list of confirmed Smart Delivery titles:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Call of the Sea
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Destiny 2
- Dirt 5
- Far Cry 6
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Gears Tactics
- Halo Infinite
- Marvel’s Avengers
- Metal: Hellslinger
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
- Scarlet Nexus
- Sea of Thieves
- Second Extinction
- Tell Me Why
- The Ascent
- The Outer Worlds
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Note that for some of these games, such as Cyberpunk 2077, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X versions might be made available at a later date than the initial release on Xbox One. In the meantime, you’ll still be able to play the Xbox One version on Xbox Series S or Series X, but it won’t be taking full advantage of immediately.
The following games will have Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X versions available on when the consoles launch on November 10th:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Dirt 5
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears Tactics
- Tetris Effect: Connected
- Watch Dogs Legion
The lineup of confirmed Next Generation Xbox launch games is still pretty sparse for now, but we suspect it’s because a lot of developers are working hard to confirm that they’ll be able to hit that launch day target. No doubt we’ll see this list flesh out some more as the date gets closer. No doubt some games will miss that deadline, but there will still be plenty to play on Day One. We also know that Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Yakuza: Like A Dragon will be coming later on that week, and we expect Microsoft to confirm more of the Series X and Series S updates for Xbox One games for launch sometime soon, too.