Microsoft has confirmed that it will release a second next-generation console after a leak prompted it to unveil the Xbox Series S.
It said the machine would be the “smallest Xbox ever”.
Company watchers have said the advertised price is significantly lower than had been expected.
Microsoft has said the machine is set to cost £250/$299/€249. It is £50 more than the lowest-priced version of the firm’s existing Xbox One range.
The company has yet to give a launch date or price for the larger and presumably more powerful Xbox Series X.
Beyond a photo that appears to show a large air vent on the Xbox S’s side, Microsoft has yet to reveal how exactly the console will differ from its larger sibling.
But there has been speculation it will:
- only run digital downloads rather than discs
- have a less powerful graphics card and therefore be unable to run some games at higher resolutions, and be unable to show off some lighting effects
- have less internal storage
The move might help Microsoft woo consumers who might otherwise wait for the price of the Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 machines to fall before deciding which platform to adopt.
“The Xbox Series S in my view, represents a great value compromise in a world of ever-increasing costs for cutting-edge technology,” commented Adam Campbell, founder of POC in Play, an organisation that promotes people of colour working in the gaming industry.
“It could be a real winner for the average gamer and an advantage against Xbox’s main rival.”
Sony has previously said it plans to sell a version of the PlayStation 5 without a disc drive but has yet to say how much it will cost.
Microsoft already offers an “all digital” version of its current console.
Although the firms sell them for a lower cost than those with built-in disc drives, they can quickly make up the shortfall because owners are dependent on their online stores, from which they take a cut.
However, xCloud’s subscription cost and the fact that Apple has not allowed it to work on iPhones could be stumbling blocks for the experiment.