The launch of a new console generation is always an exciting time. There are usually a couple of options to choose from, each with their pros and cons. This time around, there are four routes you can take.
Not only are Microsoft and Sony both releasing new consoles, but they also each have two different models to choose from. Microsoft has the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and Sony has the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.
This article is for anyone thinking about buying an Xbox Series X. Read on before purchasing...
1. How Much Is the Xbox Series X?
A new console is a big investment. It’s something that should last for years, whether you’re constantly using it or just dropping in for a few online games here and there. The Xbox Series X is currently priced at $499.
You don’t necessarily have to pay that much upfront though. The Xbox Series X seems to be all about choice. So, if you can’t afford the initial outlay then Xbox All Access may be the better option for you.
At a cost of $34.99/month over 24 months, you’ll get an Xbox Series X with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate included. The best part of this financing offer is that you don’t end up paying more than if you bought the console outright and paid for Game Pass separately.
2. How Big Is the Xbox Series X?
One common factor amongst the new flagship consoles is their sheer size, which might put you off at first. At 11.8 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches (compared to the Xbox One X’s 11.8 x 9.5 x 2.4 inches), the console is a little chunkier than you’d think. It might even struggle to fit into some entertainment units.
The size is more than likely due to airflow---such impressive power will need plenty of room for cooling; otherwise, that big, expensive new purchase will quickly become a big, expensive paperweight.
You need to consider the space you have and how you can fit the new console into it without it dominating the room. Will you keep it horizontal, or will it fit snug when stood vertically behind your TV?
3. Are There Any Good Xbox Series X Games?
Every new console launch needs a strong line-up of exclusives to show off the power under the hood. Unfortunately, this is one area where Microsoft is lacking right now.
Titles like NBA 2K21 and Fortnite are preset, but these are also available on last-gen consoles, as well as the PS5. Halo Infinite looks promising, but has been delayed into 2021.
The "launch window" paints a brighter picture, with Tetris Effect: Connected and The Medium due before Christmas. However, both are timed exclusives, so will eventually end up on other consoles.
Thankfully, the Smart Delivery system is a fantastic initiative. This clever idea means that certain Xbox One games will get free upgrades to the Series X version. All you’ll need to do is put the disc in and you’ll get an upgrade patch. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will use this service, as well as Cyberpunk 2077.
4. Have You Finished Your Backlog of Games?
The dreaded backlog of games isn’t as much of a factor as you’d think this time around. Microsoft spent a lot of time making Xbox 360 and some OG Xbox games compatible on Xbox One. They’re set to continue this with the Xbox Series X.
It’s already been confirmed that Microsoft is aiming for full backwards compatibility with Xbox One games. You can select which games to download from your dashboard for any digitally-owned games, while physical gamers just need to insert the disc and download a patch.
Older games can also take advantage of the extra grunt behind the Series X. Shorter load times are a given, and some titles will automatically add HDR support.
Saves carry over through the cloud too, so your 300-hour Skyrim save won’t be lost to the ether.
5. What Is the Xbox Game Pass?
This is the real jewel in Microsoft’s crown and something that you can’t get on other consoles. The Xbox Game Pass allows you to download and play more than 100 titles any time you like for a set monthly fee.
It’s a fantastic way to experience lots of different genres, and because new games are constantly being added (with others removed, admittedly), you’ll probably never run out of things to play.
It’s not just indie games either. If you’re looking for a racer, it’s there. Shooters? They’re there. Platformers, fighting games, horror? All there. If you don't know where to start, our article lists the best games on Xbox Game Pass.
All of Microsoft’s first-and-second-party titles hit the service on launch day, and big-budget blockbusters are always showing up. The recent acquisition of Bethesda means we might get the legendary developer's best games included. And EA Play is also being rolled into the service too.
After dropping $499 on a new console, Game Pass is a fantastic way to save a little extra cash while you’re waiting for some big new games to release.
6. Can I Play Xbox Games on My Phone?
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers more than just the ability to play a ridiculous amount of games. If it’s the kids’ turn to play, you can head to your PC and play Game Pass titles there while they take over the console.
In the middle of an epic single-player adventure and need to head out into the real world? Just take your Android smartphone and your Xbox controller and you can carry on playing through the xCloud service while you’re out and about.
While there’s currently no way to access the service through iOS, Microsoft is hoping to sneak xCloud onto the App Store, so this should also be an option soon.
Basically, as long as you have a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate and a decent internet connection, you’ll have a way to play. But this also means you don’t necessarily need to buy the actual console.
7. Will My Old Peripherals Work on the Xbox Series X?
You can use your Xbox One controllers---as well as other peripherals---on the Xbox Series X. This is another great idea from Microsoft and one that could help bring the initial cost down a little more.
Not only does this give your current controllers a longer lifespan, but it also means that you don’t have to buy a second (or third) Series X controller for when friends come over for a game of Madden. Couch co-op is possible from the minute you hook your new console up, provided you have a still-working Xbox One controller to use.
8. Is the Xbox Series S a Better Alternative?
Not every gamer needs the ridiculous amount of power Series X is offering. Not every gamer uses physical media anymore. In these situations, the Xbox Series S might be an alternative worth looking at.
With a launch price of $299, it’s the cheapest way to jump into the next generation of consoles, and still offers a lot of the same benefits of the Series X. There are obviously negatives to this option, though. You’ll have to give up a disc drive, and it won’t have the same capability as the flagship offering, so older games won’t be enhanced.
However, you’ll still be able to enjoy every game the Xbox Series X has to offer, as well as the fantastic Xbox Game Pass service, at a much lower initial cost.
Should You Buy an Xbox Series X?
If having the latest, greatest console doesn’t bother you, then no. At the moment, almost everything being released can also be played on Xbox One or elsewhere. Maybe it’s worth holding off for a little while or just dipping your toe into next-gen with the Series S.
However, if you want to get the most out of your new games, the Series X could be a smart investment. Plenty of titles are offering free upgrades with the Smart Delivery system, and Xbox Game Pass is only going to grow. So if you can afford a new Xbox, go for it.