Whom does this device serve?
In this current generation of gaming consoles, Microsoft took an unconventional approach by releasing two Xbox models, with one being nearly half the price of the other. In 2020, they introduced the $300 discless Xbox Series S and the $500 Xbox Series X. Fast forward three years, and a new Series S has been launched, featuring a significant upgrade and a slightly higher price point.
The Xbox Series S 1TB made its debut on September 1st, retailing for $350, a slight increase from the original $300 Series S, which remains available and occasionally goes on sale for $250. The new version doubles the internal storage compared to the original Series S and comes in a matte black finish instead of the white. Apart from these changes, there are no other distinctions between the two variants.
After spending some time with the new Series S console, there are no discernible differences, from the initial setup to gameplay. It retains all the same components, including an eight-core custom AMD Zen 2 CPU, a custom RDNA GPU with 10GB of GDDR6 RAM, offering a maximum resolution of 1440p. The only way to distinguish between the two models is by checking the available storage space or recognizing that this newer version is available in black.
This raises the question: Who is the target audience for this console?
At its launch, the Xbox Series S was aimed at budget-conscious consumers who didn’t require a high-powered console and didn’t plan to accumulate many storage-intensive games. This strategy seems to have been successful, as a leaked presentation from last year indicated that the Series S outsold the Series X by almost double.
However, since its initial release in 2020, two significant developments have occurred in the Xbox Series ecosystem. Firstly, the cost of storage expansion cards has decreased. Both the Series S and X feature expansion slots for cards that can double the console’s storage capacity, performing as if they were native system storage. Initially, these expansion card prices were prohibitively high, with a 512GB card priced at $150. Now, the same card costs $80 and can be easily installed within seconds. For someone who already owns the Series S, there is little incentive to spend an additional $350 on what essentially amounts to the same console when they could simply invest $80 to upgrade the storage to 1TB.
The second development is the growth of Xbox Cloud Gaming, albeit still technically in beta. Subscribers to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate can stream over 100 games directly to their console without consuming any of the Series S’s precious storage space. However, recent long queue times have made it challenging for gamers to stream whenever they want.
So, who is the ideal purchaser for the Xbox Series S 1TB?
It would be someone who doesn’t mind sacrificing resolution, isn’t willing to spend $500 on a gaming console, and prefers the peace of mind of not having to be selective about which games to download on their Xbox Series S or frequently delete older ones.
Or perhaps they are simply someone who appreciates the matte black color option.