The Xbox Series S is without question my favorite home console in years. It’s small, sleek, and runs like a Swiss watch. It’s also incredibly affordable at just $300, but somehow it just got even cheaper. Microsoft announced earlier today that the Game Pass juggernaut will be discounted to $250 throughout the holiday season.
For that price you get the console and a controller (also my favorite game pad in years), while new Game Pass members can sign up for just $1 for the first month. While $250 is what you can get the Xbox Series S for directly from the Microsoft Store, some retailers are running their own additional promotions. Target is throwing in an extra $50 gift card as part of a sale that runs through November 19.
While that makes the Series S even cheaper than the five-year-old base Nintendo Switch, the Xbox Series X, which has more storage and computing power, will remain at $500. The only drawback of the Series S is that it doesn’t support 4K gaming, and if you don’t have a 4K TV yet you won’t be missing that anyway. It also doesn’t have an optical drive, so you can’t play discs or backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games.
The Series S is the perfect Game Pass machine though, running recent blockbusters well enough (I completed Halo Infinite on one with zero complaints) and providing a cheap entry point to the rest of the service’s giant revolving library. It also has one thing going for it that Sony’s PS5 doesn’t: it’s currently extremely easy to find. While the more powerful new-gen consoles remain harder, though not impossible to track down, the Series S has been well-stocked on store shelves for months now.
So how is Microsoft selling the console so cheaply? Well, according to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, it’s losing a ton of money in the process. He recently confirmed that the Xbox Series X/S loses $100-200 per sale on average, even before this latest discount. It’s clearly an attempt to move the extra units by the end of the year and possibly juice Game Pass subscriber numbers in the process.
It’s also easy brownie points just months after Sony announced it would actually be raising the price of the PS5 by roughly $50 in other countries. A price hike for the Nintendo Switch doesn’t sound out of the question either. And even Microsoft has gestured to raising the prices of its games and services in the near future. For now though, the Series S is a steal.