Microsoft has finally confirmed the existence of the Xbox Series S, revealing the system will be its smallest-ever console and cost just $299. The announcement was only surprising in terms of the timing, as the Xbox Series S has been something of an open secret recently.
The Xbox Series S rumors began with many industry insiders predicting Microsoft would release a less powerful, budget version of the Xbox Series X to appeal to a more casual market. A series of leaks over the last few months suggested the console would be far smaller than the Xbox Series X and would be white in color rather than black. Most of the leaks indicated the Xbox Series S would aim for a lower resolution than its more powerful sibling and be all-digital, with no disc drive. However, it would still have many of the same next-gen features as the more expensive option, including ray tracing and instant resume.
The rumors of a budget-priced next-gen Xbox console are true, with Microsoft officially unveiling the Xbox Series S today. The smaller system will launch with a budget price of just $299, significantly lower than the prices expected for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Promising the console will be the "smallest Xbox ever," Microsoft did not detail when it would release the system or whether it will launch alongside the Xbox Series X, though Windows Central reports both are planned for a November 10 release date. Of course, the announcement also left out the price of the Series X, and there were also no details on exactly how it is different from the other larger system.
The lack of detail regarding the Xbox Series X suggests Microsoft is still waiting to announce the price, perhaps in the hopes that Sony will reveal the cost of the PlayStation 5 first. This would then allow Microsoft to undercut its competitor and get an advantage over the holiday season. The $299 price tag is significantly less than what many expect the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 to cost, with some reports indicating they could have prices in the region of $599.
It is a relief to have Microsoft actually confirm the Xbox Series S exists. Despite numerous rumors and leaks, the company has largely been quiet about its next-gen consoles' prices. Players will be happy to finally have some indication of what they will have to spend to get access to the new systems, even if this is for a slightly less impressive model. But this budget console will likely appeal to a mass audience of casual gamers who don't yet care about 4K resolutions and don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars.