Microsoft’s Xbox Series X looks like being quite the powerhouse. It’s an 8K monster of a console, original previewed at E3 2019 and now confirmed to go on sale towards the end of this year.
It promises to be four times as powerful as the original Xbox One X. Indeed, Microsoft has billed it as the “fastest, most powerful games console ever” (though it might be biased). It will have a new ‘tall tower’ design and new wireless controller.
In other words, look out, PS5.
But how much will the Xbox Series X cost? When do pre-orders open? Will there be any deals at launch? And what about bundles?
We’ve rounded up all the rumours regarding a price and exact launch date, so you know what to expect. Time to start saving.
Xbox Series X price: recent history
Microsoft is yet to announce the price of the Xbox Series X, but we can make some deductions based on the console’s pedigree.
The Xbox line started life with the original Xbox, back in 2001. It cost £300/$300 when it launched. This was followed by 2004’s Xbox 360, which originally cost £210/$300 for the entry-level model.
Then came the Xbox One range. The original Xbox One launched in 2013, and cost £429/$400 (without the Kinect add-on). This was followed by the Xbox One S in 2016, which went for £249/$300, and then the Xbox One X in 2017 for £450/$500.
We’d expect a significant markup for the new console, but could it tip over the £500/$550 price point? We’d be surprised, but it is supposedly the most powerful games console ever…
The Sony’s PS5 is rumoured to cost about that much, which isn’t a surprise. Neither Sony nor Microsoft will want to be undercut by its arch rival, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the two machines to carry very similar price tags.
But if that sounds extortionate to you, then all is not lost. Microsoft is said to be readying a stripped-back, lower-specced iteration of Xbox Series X that should be considerably easier on the wallet.
Xbox Series X price: cheaper digital edition
Rumours abound that Microsoft is prepping a digital-only version of its next-gen console in order to lower the barrier to entry, the Xbox Series S. The lack of a Blu-ray disc drive would mean games could only be downloaded, not physically loaded into the console. That would mean more people could enjoy the games and most of the features for less money.
This console was known as its codename Lockhart, but now appears to have taken the moniker Xbox Series S (following on from the Xbox One S). Microsoft hasn’t made an official announcement yet regarding this console, but there is evidence direct from Microsoft itself that it exists. It could be unveiled in August.
The Xbox Series S would go head to head with Sony’s PS5 Digital Edition. But, unlike the PS5 Digital Edition, it will not be the same machine as its sibling just minus the disc drive. Its thought that the Xbox Series S could be less powerful than the Series X, which could lower its price significantly.
As for how much the Xbox Series X will cost, the latest rumours suggest it will be around £250/$250-$275, about half the cost of the Xbox Series X. Tempted, or do you still want the full-fat version?
Buying games on disc could get even more expensive. Publisher 2K has already announced that its upcoming basketball game NBA 2K21 will cost $70 (£65) on the Xbox Series X, just as it will on the PS5. That’s a full $10 more than on the previous generation of consoles. Expect $70 games to be the new normal.
Xbox Series X: impact of global issues
We know the Xbox Series X is slated to arrive this holiday (i.e. Christmas) season. But could that launch date go out of the window, what with the coronavirus wreaking havoc worldwide?
Microsoft doesn’t seem to think so. In an interview at the end of April, Xbox head Phil Spencer told CNBC that the global pandemic won’t impact the console’s launch schedule. But games might be another issue.
“Overall, I think we’re in line with where we thought we would be,” he told the broadcaster. “I’d say the bigger unknown is probably the game production. Game production is a large scale entertainment activity now, you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative.”
Despite some studios already delaying game launches, Spencer insisted that the next instalment in the Halo series, Halo Infinite, is still on schedule to be a launch title for the console. So there should be at least one game to play on launch day.
Xbox Series X price vs PlayStation 5 price
The PlayStation 5 is expected to cost between £400/$400 and £500/$500 when it launches around the same time as the Xbox Series X. This means there probably won’t be much to split the two consoles, though remember all prices are just best guesses at the moment, as nothing has been made official.
The two firms have a long history of price wars – don’t forget, the PS4 undercut the Xbox One by a significant amount.
Price is of course a major factor in a console’s success, but far from the only one. Console manufacturers will recoup a lot of their investment through licensing and subscriptions to their respecting online gaming services too, so the more households that own their console, the better. And one way to help this is by offering the machine at a lower price.
Whatever their relative prices, expect a fierce 8K console war this winter. Which should be good news for gamers everywhere.
Xbox Series X pre-orders
Microsoft hasn’t yet opened pre-orders for the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. We expected pre-orders to go live following the E3 games conference, but the June conference was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
You can be one of the first to know when pre-orders are opened, though. Retailers including Argos, Best Buy and Target will let you sign up to be notified when pre-orders go live, so you can put some money down and guarantee your place in the next-gen console queue.
Xbox Series X price: game bundles
The Xbox Series X has a lot of exciting games confirmed for it, but apart from Halo Infinite, we don’t know which will be the blockbuster launch titles. That makes it tricky to know which will be offered as bundles.
Having said that, some of the biggest titles are usually partnered with a new console. This year’s instalments include FIFA 21, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, all of which are confirmed for the new console.
We can also expect the Xbox Series X and Series S to come bundled with accessories like wireless controllers and subscriptions to the online gaming platform Xbox Live. Stay tuned, and we’ll bring you more as we get it.