The Xbox Series S is an affordable next-gen meme machine

But beyond the strange aesthetic, there’s a solid value proposition to be found

Despite the fact that it looks like I should be shouting my McDonald’s order into it, the Xbox Series S seems like quite the enticing deal. Microsoft officially announced the console yesterday (September 8), and the machine is touting next-generation performance for £249.99 (US$299) when it launches later this year.

That’s less money than a Nintendo Switch. And it’s a console that, according to its reveal trailer, can run games at 1440p/120 FPS, with 4K upscaling. Wowzers! The console also features an interesting design with a giant circular grate on the front of the device, which makes it look a bit like a washing machine or a giant walkie talkie.

Jokes have already been made about how it resembles the Xbox Adaptive Controller without the Teraflops. Personally, I think it looks like an edgy Fall Guy… Yet beyond the peculiar aesthetic, there’s a solid value proposition here.

To graft a few more selling points from the trailer, the console appears to feature ray-tracing and “ultra-low latency”. It also comes packaged with a speedy 512 GB NvME SSD that will enable “seamless game switching”, but whether that storage device will be enough to hold more than a few Game Pass games remains to be seen. Good luck, though, if you’re a Warzone player!

Finance options will also reportedly be available for the Series S, starting at $25 a month in the US. Last generation’s all-access system also gave players access to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate library, so you’ll likely be able to get your device and your games for one monthly subscription, and every future first-party Xbox exclusive.

For parents looking to buy their kids a next-gen console for Christmas, it’s hard to argue against the value of the Xbox Series S, especially if you don’t have the setup for 4K or a PC Gaming rig. This console will let you experience games at a high frame rate and resolution at an affordable price, and the Game Pass library is nothing to grunt at.

Of course, for the graphical enthusiasts among us, the specifications may not be enough to sway their wallet, and those bothered about Sony’s exclusive titles may also find it tricky to justify. My own reservations stem from the fact that, coupled with the death of the pre-owned market, we seem to be hurtling towards an all-digital, subscription model future where we pay less upfront but continue to pay forever.

Regardless, it seems the console is positioning itself as a next-generation halfway house at the budget end of the market, which will no doubt do Microsoft some favours this holiday season. I’m just hoping they’ll announce a special Craig the Brute edition to launch alongside Halo Infinite, as this cheeky Twitter user suggests.

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