Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S preorders: The ultimate guide

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Xbox Series X, Xbox Series SSource: Microsoft

Microsoft soon opens Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders, providing your chance to lock down its two next-generation gaming consoles ahead of their November debut. The company approaches the next iteration in the Xbox family with twin devices, promising industry-leading power, while also catering to the masses with an affordable all-digital alternative. With preorders expected to commence later this month, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know before laying down your cash.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S preorder start date and time

Microsoft has unveiled that Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders are scheduled open on September 22, 2020. The pre-purchase opportunity comes just seven weeks before their scheduled November launch across the globe, expected to touch all existing Xbox One markets. Official timing for the late September kick-off is yet to be announced, with more updates expected over the days preluding to the preorder window.

Preorders for both next-generation devices have been a long time coming, with a steady stream of teasers over recent months, but pricing and availability shrouded in mystery. With both Microsoft, and closest market rival, Sony, previously cautious to locking down launch plans first, it concludes a lengthy standoff between the hardware manufacturers.

Latest news on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S preorders

Xbox Series X, Series S preorders open September 22

Microsoft has unveiled its plans to open Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders on September 22, 2020. It comes as the company announces a November 10 release date for both next-generation consoles, with the Xbox Series X costing $499, while the Xbox Series S clocks in at $299.

Best Buy warns of limited quantities for Xbox Series X, Series S

With Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S ushering a new console generation, high demand is expected with initial preorders. Best Buy Canada is among the first warning buyers, stressing “limited” preorders in a recent blog post, with the retailer “expecting them to sell out very quickly.” It remains crucial to keep an eye out on the latest updates, as September 22 approaches.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S release date

Xbox Series X Controller

Source: Microsoft

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S both target a November 10, 2020 release date. The next-generation duo launch in parallel, providing two separate hardware configurations, tailored to different audiences, with their respective price points.

Microsoft looks to debut both consoles in existing Xbox One markets with a simultaneous global launch across multiple continents. It contrasts the Xbox One launch, which notoriously witnessed a staged rollout, excluding many markets in its early months and years.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S price

Unlike traditional next-generation console launches, Microsoft debuts Xbox Series X alongside a more affordable Xbox Series S. The company has revealed that Xbox Series X will cost $499 in the U.S. In contrast, its smaller sibling, Xbox Series S, costs $299. It brings both consoles in line with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X pricing when they first released.

Both Xbox One and Xbox One X were positioned at $500 from launch, so this isn’t a surprising move on Microsoft’s part. It also ends the stand-off between Sony and Microsoft, waiting to see who would announce a price first. Sony has yet to reveal its PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 5 Digital Edition price, but the company is expected to break its silence soon.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pricing varies worldwide, and we’ve wrapped up a comprehensive list of RRPs for both consoles in top regions.

Region Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
United States (USD) $499 $299
Canada (CAD) $599 $379
United Kingdom (GBP) £449 £249
Europe (EUR) €499 €299
Mexico (MXN) $13,999 $8,499
Australia (AUD) $749 $499
New Zealand (NZD) $799 $549
Japan (JPY) ¥49,980 ¥32,980
South Korea (KRW) ₩598,000 ₩398,000
Microsoft is also offering both consoles through its aforementioned 24-month financing plan dubbed “Xbox All Access.” Those eyeing Xbox Series X can purchase the console at $35 per month, or $25 per month, with 0% APR payments. Xbox All Access also includes its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription over that 24-month window, bundling Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold, and EA Play on PC, alongside cloud streaming on Android devices.

However, before entering Xbox All Access, understand that purchasing any device through monthly installments comes with serious risks. While the low entry price proves alluring, and Microsoft provides zero-interest plans for all buyers, you’re locked into regular payments for two years. Xbox All Access often comes out cheaper than paying upfront but make sure you can cover the expense for the entire plan.

Where to preorder Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft looks set to debut preorders for both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S simultaneously, ahead of their listed November releases. Orders for upcoming consoles will be taken via the Microsoft Store and third-party retailers in your local region.

There’s no better place to shop than Microsoft, providing an opportunity to reserve directly from the manufacturer itself. The online storefront is among those first expected to open preorders, with the first batch scheduled to arrive in homes on November 10. That also comes with Microsoft Store benefits, including its Microsoft Rewards system that provides points with each purchase. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S won’t be available via physical Microsoft stores, following its decision to shutter all brick and mortar locations.

Preorders will also launch on September 22 through a variety of third-party retailers. Every retailer will have an allocation of units, and with demand expected to exceed supply, it’s crucial to act quickly to order through your preferred retailer. Enquire with retailers in your region for more details on their release plans for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Select retail partners will also allow the purchase of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S through Microsoft’s official Xbox All Access financing program. Xbox All Access spans 12 countries this year through the Microsoft Store and select retailers.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S preorder sign-up pages

Xbox Series X

Source: Microsoft

With Microsoft and third-party retailers expected to open preorders on September 22, many storefronts now provide an opportunity to sign-up for future updates. Registering your interest allows retailers to send you the latest on their Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S plans, including potential details on timings and promotions through the preorder campaign.

Ahead of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders, we’ve rounded up several major U.S. retailers already accepting sign-ups for preorder updates over email. For the latest on preorders with your local retailers, we recommend visiting their website or contacting customer service.

Microsoft serves the next-generation for less with its budget-friendly Xbox Series S. The console packs the same high-performance CPU and SSD technology as Xbox Series X, while scaling back the GPU and removing the disc drive.

Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next-generation flagship, slated as the most powerful console on the market with over 12 teraflop GPU performance and a custom SSD. It boasts up to 4K resolution and 120 FPS, with full backward compatibility across four generations, and ray-tracing support.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S countries and markets

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S debut across an extended list of markets compared to Xbox One back in 2013. The previous Xbox generation notoriously started with just 13 regions, excluding many consumers deeply rooted in the Xbox 360 family. Microsoft has now reinvented its approach, with sights set on most existing Xbox One markets.

The expanded rollout sees the company provide full coverage for North America, with an expanded European presence. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S also push into Asia, with Japan and South Korea on the launch roadmap. Preorders for all launch countries are expected for September 22, with regional details dependent on local retailers.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S bundles and deals

Xbox Series X Box Art

Source: The Source

Microsoft looks to launch Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S with one edition of each console, expected to ship just two stock-keeping units (SKUs) throughout the launch window. Past Xbox One consoles saw multiple versions, whether game bundles or limited-edition redesigns, but they’re uncommon within each console’s first year on the market. Microsoft isn’t expected to diverge from the trend, especially given the global market’s current challenges.

While Microsoft hasn’t detailed any planned Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S bundles, they may be available. Third-party retailers have previously packaged their consoles with games, accessories, and subscriptions, creating their own custom bundles to upsell customers. We recommend visiting your local retailer online or in-store for additional details on available promotions on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders.

However, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S aren’t expected to see discounts anytime soon. It’s the norm with any new console, but especially the case with Microsoft’s latest hardware family. “When we looked at trends and silicon and hardware costs in this generation, we saw that we weren’t going to see the kinds of decreasing costs that we saw in prior generations,” said Liz Hamren, head of Xbox platform engineering and hardware at Microsoft, in a leaked press briefing. “And that led us to realize that we could deliver a fully next-gen, more accessible console at the beginning of a generation.”

Microsoft likely makes a loss on every next-generation Xbox console, making higher revenue through supporting software and services instead. That means both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S look to deliver outstanding value but may disappoint those looking for discounts and promotions soon after launch.

How to buy Xbox Series X, Series S via Xbox All Access

Xbox All Access for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft also opens Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders with plans to revive Xbox All Access, its 24-month financing program, designed to spread to cost for next-gen hardware. The all-inclusive contract bundles either device with its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, with no interest or hidden fees. Pricing comes in two flavors, with Xbox Series S costing $25 per month, while Xbox Series X comes in at $35 per month.

Xbox Game Pass includes various Microsoft gaming services, headlined by its Xbox Game Pass library, granting unlimited access to hundreds of Xbox and PC games. The Netflix-style service now even includes all Microsoft-published titles like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza on launch day, as well as Electronic Arts titles with the new EA Play deal. It also includes Xbox Live Gold, providing access to online multiplayer on Xbox consoles, and Xbox Game Pass’ cloud gaming on Android devices.

However, buyers should understand that Xbox All Access comes with serious risks. This isn’t your average subscription service, where you can cancel at any time. Xbox All Access is a 24-month contractual obligation, where Microsoft pulls in an external financing agency, including a credit check to determine eligibility. It eases the initial investment, but you’ll need to pay on time every month, adding up over time.

But if you’re able to cover the monthly cost, Xbox All Access proposes an attractive deal. The overall cost for Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, and your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, actually end up slightly cheaper than buying upfront in most regions.

While Microsoft first offered a limited trial for Xbox All Access with Xbox One, the company soon expands the program to 12 countries, via Microsoft and third parties. The storefronts and financing agencies backing Xbox All Access varies between regions, with a full list of global retail partners below:

  • Australia: Telstra
  • Canada: EB Games
  • Denmark: Elgiganten
  • Finland: Gigantti
  • France: FNAC
  • New Zealand: Spark
  • Norway: Elkjøp
  • Poland: Media Expert
  • South Korea: SK Telecom
  • Sweden: Elgiganten
  • UK: GAME, Smyths Toys
  • United States: Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Microsoft Store, Walmart

Xbox All Access isn’t currently available, as Microsoft readies the program’s return. Expect more details on financing the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S through Xbox All Access shortly, with information for your local region.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S best accessories to buy

With Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders on the horizon, there’s also an extensive lineup of Xbox Series-compatible accessories to consider alongside your preorder. Microsoft has pledged to full backward compatibility with its latest consoles, extending to controllers, headsets, and storage devices. It means that buying accessories for Xbox One today guarantees value following the switch in 2020 or beyond. We’ve rounded up some of the best products you can buy today, pairing perfectly with Xbox Series X or Xbox Series X.

Best Xbox Series X, Series S headset: LucidSound LS35X

The LS35X remains an in-house favorite at Windows Central, locked among the best Xbox One headsets with its leading wireless audio. LucidSound delivered its best with these cans, with high-quality metal and plastic construction, both lightweight and comfortable. The earcup and coolant gel also make these easy to wear for extended periods, complementing 15-hour battery life.

Audio fidelity won’t disappoint, bringing out all the details from footsteps and reloads, while still rendering the full glory of epic soundtracks. Hassle-free wireless completes the package, leveraging the same Xbox Wireless connection used by your Xbox controller, eliminating dongles and docks. For those looking for the best headset money can buy, the LS35X remains one to beat.

With its excellent audio, reliable and clear microphone, immense comfort, and wonderful battery life, the LucidSound LS35X is the perfect wireless headset for most Xbox One gamers.

Best Xbox Series X, Series S controller: Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Microsoft revived the Xbox Elite controller with a second revision in 2019, changing its ultra-premium gamepad with a reinforced design and new features. The returning staples all hold up, with customizable sticks, buttons, and rear paddles, complemented by its robust in-hand feel through metallic accents and rubberized panels. The company also beefed up the battery, added a charging dock, and introduced more customization tweaks, distancing this from your average controller.

The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 makes an attractive product even better, improving the original in countless ways. It also works with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, given Microsoft’s promise for backward compatibility, including accessories. This product even influenced many of the next-gen Xbox controller changes, if you can live without a “Share” button.

With premium features, premium construction, and premium details, the Series 2 also comes with a very premium price tag. If you can weather the bill, you won’t find yourself disappointed, though. This might be the best controller ever made.

Best Xbox Series X, Series S USB storage drive: Samsung T7 SSD

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S heavily rely on their custom SSD solutions, which means your existing hard drives won’t feature the same compatibility as Xbox One consoles. Xbox Series-optimized titles mandate the internal SSD to run, or an SSD expansion card that’s yet to go on sale. But an external USB SSD pairs great with next-gen consoles, capable of running any Xbox One, Xbox 360, or original Xbox titles via backward compatibility. You can also store Xbox Series titles on USB devices when not in use, and transfer them to the internal SSD when needed.

Samsung’s T7 500GB external drive could be for you, packing above-average speed below $100. It doubles the storage of your Xbox Series S, making it great for offloading multiple titles.

While Xbox-compatible SSDs aren’t cheap, Samsung’s T7 500GB external drive secures great gaming results at a small premium. It’s encased in a shock-resistant metal finish, and fits stealthily beside any console.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S: Which is for you?

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft enters the next generation with a two-pronged approach, divided between the Xbox Series X flagship and the more affordable Xbox Series S. It comes with the company looking to serve enthusiasts with the most powerful console on the market, while still providing a more budget-friendly alternative for the average consumer. The upcoming devices represent sizeable leaps over Xbox One, embracing the same shared values. Check our full breakdown of Xbox Series X versus Xbox Series S for additional context.

Xbox Series X represents Microsoft’s next-generation frontrunner, ushering hugely revamped hardware to increase performance, reduce loading times, and more. The console features top-tier hardware, including the latest AMD Zen 2 processor and Navi GPU architectures, flanked by a custom NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) with speeds up to 40 times faster than Xbox One X.

The Xbox Series S arrives with a similar premise but scaled back with reduced graphical power and near half the retail cost. The compromise comes with the hardware inside the box, with a lower-spec GPU, reduced RAM, and smaller-capacity NVMe SSD. The console also pulls the disc drive, making this a digital-only variant.

Xbox Series X targets 4K resolution at 60 FPS, with many titles already pushing further with up to 120 FPS outputs. The Xbox Series S scales back to 1440p resolution and 120 frames-per-second, but with shared features like variable refresh rates (VRR) and ray tracing. Both consoles feature the same SSD speeds at different storage volumes, meaning identically speedy load times, while eliminating a past bottleneck.

While the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S provide a firm divide in the Xbox console family, much of the Xbox One experience still translates. The consoles feature full backward compatibility with games that work on Xbox One and all accessories like controllers and headsets. The only difference comes with the Xbox Series S’ disc-less design, cutting off any physical disc-based media.

Games designed around Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will feature exclusive upgrades, outpacing their Xbox One counterparts. And while upcoming titles like Halo Infinite will offer a cross-generation experience bridging Xbox One and the Xbox Series family, future projects will eventually be exclusive to the next generation of consoles.

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