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New Xbox prices revealed: 'The console wars are over'

By Jordan Middler // BBC The Social contributor // 09 September 2020

Microsoft today finally revealed the price of its new obelisk, the Xbox Series X. The console which Microsoft has heralded as ‘the most powerful console of all time’ will be £449.

But what are you actually going to play on it? Well at launch, not very much.

Its most notable launch game, Halo Infinite was delayed after the global pandemic deeply interrupted game development across the industry.

This was perhaps fortunate timing as the general reaction to the game's gameplay debut was one of almost complete mockery, not all of which was unfounded.

One thing Xbox has in its back pocket is the Netflix for games service, Game Pass.

This provides access to hundreds of games for a monthly fee, including all Xbox exclusives on their day of release, which is a very compelling proposition. However are you really that interested in buying an expensive new console to play old games at launch?

Because aside from some third party titles, that’s most of the offering on Microsoft's machine at the moment.

Much like the PS5, the Xbox will arrive in two different versions, the Xbox Series X which is the extremely powerful tower that looks like it’s going to hack all of the electronics in your house and turn them against you and the Xbox Series S, a smaller, white box that looks like you should be ordering through it at a drive through.

It’s been said before, but the console wars are over.

The Series S will be significantly less powerful, but also astonishingly cheap. It will launch for £249 in the UK making it cheaper than the Nintendo Switch.

With the PS5 likely to release at over double that amount, it’s a clever move on Microsoft’s part to be able to say “we have a next gen machine that’s half the price”. Of course, that argument falls down somewhat when one actually compares performance, but for the sake of marketing it’s a strong message.

However, crucially, Microsoft have also begun offering their new titles on PC, also through Game Pass. These often run significantly better and while that does involve the investment in a good machine, the type of enthusiast that is likely to buy a console in the first month of release is also likely to be the type to invest in more advanced hardware, making the console itself somewhat mute.

It’s been said before, but the console wars are over.

The three main players, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are doing completely different things. Microsoft is a services company. They want Game Pass on anything with a screen. Don’t be surprised if this is the last round of Xboxs they release. Sony is clearly dedicated to the cache they built in this generation with the PS4, creating an exclusive focussed machine that is clearly resonating with their core audience of people with the PSOne logo tattooed on their back. Nintendo is just chilling on the sidelines as usual, casually selling five billion copies of Animal Crossing and charging £50 for 3 ROMs.

Both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S release on November 10th.