On Wednesday Xbox announced its latest generation of consoles, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, will launch on November 10. Both consoles promise to prioritize speed and performance with improved processors that offer better, more detailed graphics; shortened loading times; and 120 FPS support. They will be at least 3-4 times more powerful than their predecessor, the Xbox One, and will retail at $499 for the Series X and $299 for the Series S.
In addition to releasing two new consoles, Xbox is expanding its Xbox All Access monthly payment program to help existing Xbox One owners, or new Xbox players, upgrade to the latest consoles. The program offers the Xbox Series X/S and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass so people can start playing right away. With Xbox All Access, the Series S comes out to be $24.99 a month for 24 months. The Series X is $34.99 a month for 24 months.
While it's great news that the new consoles will be priced similarly to previous models, there are some pretty important differences between the two that you'll want to keep in mind if you're aiming to buy one.
Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X is the big, black, rectangle-shaped tower in Xbox's promotional images. It's got an almost brutalist design (it's literally a giant block), but it packs the most performance and power you're gonna get out of the two. It supports up to 8K resolution, has a Blue-Ray drive, and a 1TB SSD for storage. The Series X is the best pick for folks with a gaming den or an entertainment setup that allows you to take full advantage of games with 4K+ resolution.
This is the console to grab if you've been a longtime Xbox fan, too. The Series X features backward compatibility so folks can continue to play their Xbox One, some Xbox 360, and some original Xbox games.
Another feature is the Smart Delivery system, which allows players to purchase an eligible game on the Xbox One and have confidence in knowing they can also play it on the Series X. In previous years, if you have a game you bought for a previous console, you'd have to re-purchase the same game for the newer console. Xbox is looking to disrupt that inconvenience by encouraging developers to create Smart Delivery-compatible games.
Xbox's website also describes the Series X fan as "whisper quiet," which is great for players who want to hear their games, not their consoles.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S is the smaller, white block you've likely seen in images that have been floating around. It may be the "smallest Xbox ever," but it's still about three times more powerful than the Xbox One. The big difference between this one and the Series X is that it's slightly less powerful and plays digital games only. It's cheaper for a reason; this console is best for players who don't have a 4K television and would rather have higher performance than higher resolution.
A console that only plays digital games means there's no disc slot. No disc slot means it's not backwards compatible — you'll have to re-buy a digital version of the game you wanna play through the Xbox digital store or Xbox Game Pass.
Also, yes, there are memes about the way it looks.
The Sony Playstation, Xbox's longstanding rival, appears to be following a similar route with physical and digital-only versions of the company's next-gen console, but the company has yet to release a price. Hopefully an announcement will come soon, since both companies appear to be gearing up for the holiday season.