Shack Chat: What's your reaction to the Xbox Series S reveal?

Reflect with the Shack Staff on the reveal of the Xbox Series S.

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The Xbox Series S had some credible leaks surface over the past weekend, which prompted Microsoft to come clean with full reveals and details about the upcoming console. We learned about it’s $299 price tag, as well as the system’s November 10 release date. Having these new details about the Series S helps to better inform our idea of what the beginning of gaming’s next generation will look like this Fall. 

Question: What’s your reaction to the Xbox Series S reveal?


Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming - Ozzie Mejia, The S is for Sucks

"A digital future? That sounds great," people might say. And then one day, their favorite game gets Scott Pilgrim'd right out of existence.

People still gravitate towards physical media for a reason. If you buy the game and it's in your hand, you own it. If you buy a digital game, you own it for however long the Powers That Be allow you to have it. Things happen all the time, whether it's rights issues or whatever else. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is another one of those games that just disappeared one day because of the wacky rights issues surrounding Marvel and the various moods of their Disney overlords. Games can be here one day and be gone the next and whether you put down $60 for it ends up being irrelevant.

Ask yourselves this. When the next, next Xbox comes in 2025 or whenever, will your digital purchases carry over? They might. But they also might not. Think hard about whether you want to be part of that all-digital future that can come back to bite you in the butt. And for what? For convenience? Back in my day, we switched out cartridges one-by-one and nobody was ever the wiser for it!


Love it - Donovan Erskine, Disgraced console gamer

The Xbox Series S is an excellent move by Microsoft. One of the biggest concerns going into the next generation was that consoles would be too expensive for the average consumer. Having a scaled down system, that still packs a punch, at only $300 will surely be enough to entice buyers. It also puts a lot of pressure on Sony to put a reasonable price tag on the PlayStation 5, or perhaps release a similar scaled down version of their console.


I’m cool with it - Blake Morse, Reviews Editor

With the way the economy and the world are right now having financially sound and affordable options for entertainment hardware is a necessity. Good on Microsoft for recognizing that need and pricing their upcoming Xbox Series S appropriately. A lot of folks can’t pay for a system fully up front right now, but most people can take a small bite each month to pay one off. It reminds me of putting stuff on layaway at my local K-Mart back in the day, only I actually get to take the console home while I’m paying it off. Personally, though, I’m still wondering if I’ll be buying the Xbox Series X outright or going monthly...


Who is this thing for? - Chris Jarrard, Unconsolable

While I suspected that Microsoft would be selling a cheaper variant of the console to go along with the Series X, I mistakenly assumed that it would be a rebadged Xbox One X or One S. They decided to give us a cut-down version of their big-boy box, but some of the cuts leave me hesitant to hype myself up. I do love the decision to keep the CPU at parity with the more-expensive box for future game development, but I have big concerns about that baby-sized hard drive and the lack of disc drive.

With game sizes continuing to balloon thanks to 4K textures and resistance to using compressed audio files, asking potential customers to be satisfied with a 500GB drive is tough. Simply install Call of Duty Warzone and Fortnite and way more than half of the drive space is gone. There will be NVME expansion cards, but they will be incredibly expensive to the point of erasing that price difference between the Series S and Series X. The lack of UHD disc playback will further complicate the drive space situation as well as disqualify the Series S from consideration as a premium Blu-ray disc player. Decent standalone players already retail for a similar price, so Microsoft could have tapped into the home theater market with a solid media playback offering. Sony built its console empire on the back of the PlayStation 2’s DVD playback capabilities and Microsoft could have gotten a similar boost.


Impressed - Sam Chandler, Consumer-Friendly

While I plan to get the Series X for the raw power, the Series S is just as impressive. It offers incredible value-for-money and a fantastic entry point into the next generation of consoles. If the Xbox Series S can do what it says on the box, it’s going to be a great way for gamers to hit the fabled 1440P at 120FPS and even 4K gaming that some PC players struggle to hit, and at a fraction of the cost.

Then, when you start to look at the inclusion of Xbox Game Pass with the All Access deals, it gets sweeter still. Instant access to a catalogue of hundreds of games, spanning four generations of consoles? It’s mind-boggling how good Game Pass is.

Though the internal storage size raises some concerns, external HDDs are rather cheap. Even these days, with 1TB internal HDDs, people are still buying externals. So no matter the size, you’re going to wind up buying one anyway.


Nifty - Bill Lavoy, House Stark

Seems like a good idea to me. I have a lot of friends that aren’t hardcore gamers but they will want a new console to play the one or two games they do enjoy. They are PlayStation folks, so this move by Microsoft sort of highlights a place where Sony needs to step up and come through for more casual players. I also think the All Access payment options are solid, so this is a big win for Xbox all around.


It’s cool… but - Josh Hawkins, Guides Guy

Honestly, the Xbox Series S is a really cool idea, but the biggest concern with it is the console’s much smaller storage size. Being it is an all-digital console, starting out with only 512GB is insane. Aside from that, though, it seems like a solid deal for the money.


Only 512GB starting??? - TJ Denzer, news editor for gamers that can read good

The moment that the Xbox Series S was announced with some details, there was one that stood out to me immediately: The SSD. The Series S only comes packaged with a measly 512GB storage under the hood. Now maybe that was fine when the Xbox One came out, but times have changed. Games are bigger, and they’re going to continue getting bigger. Heck, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 already demands freaking 200GB with all of its current updates. There was also valid concern for Cyberpunk 2077 before CD Projekt RED stepped in to assuage fears. 

AAA games aren’t exactly going to get smaller, and I can’t even begin to believe that with ray tracing, ultra-high FPS and resolution, and ultra-low latency that CODMW and Cyberpunk 2077 will be isolated incidents of concern. I think the Series S is an excellent entry-level option. With the Xbox All Access financing program, it arguably becomes an even better bargain. I just also think that you’re going to want to figure out that storage situation right away if you want to store more than 3 to 5 major games on your system.


Intrigued - David L. Craddock, long reads editor

Before Microsoft announced its All Access financing package for the Xbox Series X and S models, I planned on skipping the console at launch. Not because I’m uninterested in what Microsoft has to offer, but because I have a PC more than capable of playing first-party Xbox titles through Game Pass. Now, however, I will likely spring for a Series X thanks to the $35/month financing option.

Unless.

Unless Sony rolls out a similar plan. Hypothetically, let’s say PS5 and Xbox Series X/S launch on the same date, November 10, with Sony’s digital-only PS5 at the $299 price point of Microsoft’s Series S, and the, uh, not-digital-only PS5 at $499 with the Series X--both with financing options at $25 or $35 per month, respectively. I’d get a PS5 first. I’m more interested in PS5’s exclusives than I am Microsoft’s, which, again, I could still play on my PC. Unless Sony brings more of its exclusives to PC--which could happen--I find more value in owning Sony’s new box than I do Microsoft’s.


More options are never a bad thing - Greg Burke, Head of Video

As an adult who’s lucky enough to have a full-time job it's easy to glare and turn your nose up as a “less powerful” version of a home console, or better yet do the smug “PC is master race” tagline everyone seems to be jumping on. Putting this in perspective, a lot of consumers might not be able to afford a 500 dollar console, or a mid-tier PC, or gaming laptop. Giving the customer more options to buy is never a bad thing. I think it’s smart as some people don’t even have 4K TVs. I’m actually really getting tired of the PS4/PC fandom “Well, no reason to buy an Xbox, Games on PC.” People don’t realize that even though technology has gotten cheaper, a high-end gaming PC can be 3 times the cost of an Xbox Series X, and lots of people can’t afford that. Many people, like myself, prefer to game on a console after spending 10 or more hours on PC. In the end it’s a good thing, and it really puts Sony in a corner. If the discless PS5 isn’t below 499.99, they’re gonna have a bad time.


Interesting- Steve Tyminski, Contributing Editor

My initial reaction to the Xbox Series S reveal was that it was tough to tell what it even was. It looks like an old-school record player and some other people on the Internet modified the picture to have some fun with it. That being said, one of the main things I was waiting for was the price and 299 for the smaller version and 499 for the larger isn’t that bad for a console at launch. It also isn’t too bad that there’s going to be a payment plan provided for the masses so win-win!

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 11, 2020 11:15 AM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Shack Chat: What's your reaction to the Xbox Series S reveal?

    • reply
      September 11, 2020 12:36 PM

      Everyone is mentioning the 512GB SSD remember Sony only has 313Gb more, what's that one or two more games in the comparison above. There are tons of indie games that are a lot smaller and backwards compatible games that are only a GB or two. Down the road the expansion module prices will drop like a rock, like storage always does. I don't see the issue. You can always attach a standard SATA SSD or even HDD and move games from the internal SSD to external drive. Of course they are not playable unless they are non X Series games but you won't have to download them again. I think Sony is going to the make their announcement, and boom MS will drop the all digital V series for whatever price Sony settles on. Sony could just say 599.00 and then MS won't do anything.

      • reply
        September 11, 2020 12:41 PM

        Yeah, not every game is going to be 120GB, especially with 1080p assets.

        It's still small for people who game a lot, but it's not like you can only fit two games on there.

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