On Tuesday, Xbox confirmed the upcoming release of the Xbox Series S, a smaller, digital-only console that will have a much more affordable $299 price point. The smaller console will provide the same gameplay experience as the Series X, but just have less storage (512 GB) and not be capable of playing games off of discs.
Xbox made another major announcement on Wednesday with the news that their Xbox All Access program will be expanding and allow gamers to get the Series S or Series X, along with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, for a monthly rate with no money required up front. There will be a 24-month agreement (two years, for those bad at math) required but rather than having to pay $299 or $499 for the console, you can pay $24.99 a month for the Series S or $29.99 a month for the Series X.
The Game Pass Ultimate subscription provides a library of over 100 games for Xbox, PC, and Android mobile devices, and also provides Xbox Game Studio releases the day they come out, such as Halo Infinite, as well as an EA Play membership included starting this holiday season. Those with current Xbox All Access subscriptions can upgrade that to get the next-gen console and pre-order the Series S and Series X through All Access beginning today.
It’s clear that Xbox is looking to swoop in and claim the more casual gamer market with this next-generation release. PlayStation has incredible brand loyalty due to its exclusive titles, but the higher price tag can leave casual gamers behind. Xbox seems to have recognized this and rather than try to compete with Sony to get more exclusive titles, they’re simply making their new system far more accessible to a broader market. From a cheaper, smaller console for those of us that only play a few titles a year and aren’t looking to fork over big money on a console, to this new monthly subscription service that comes with that new console without the upfront cost of hundreds of dollars, Xbox is making some shrewd moves to cultivate a larger marketplace for its system and go down a different path than PlayStation.