Gamers have waited for months and months to get a clearer picture around this year’s next-gen console launches from Microsoft and Sony. Unlike in previous generations, both the Xbox and PlayStation camps will be shipping two versions of their new consoles at different pricing tiers.
Microsoft will offer a budget-priced ($299) Xbox Series S on November 10th along with the flagship Xbox Series X for $499. The Series S model is an all-digital Xbox that renders games at 1440p (instead of the Series X’s 4K resolution) but can still hit 120 fps. Microsoft can guarantee fast frame rates and loading times all while using a cheaper processor, passing the savings onto its customers. This is a calculated move to lower the barrier to entry for next-gen gaming, and importantly, the Xbox ecosystem built around the Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Sony is approaching next-gen with a slightly different strategy, keeping its two PlayStation 5 models identical, save for the physical disc drive. Starting on November 12th, the all-digital model will retail for $399 compared to the disc-based model for $499, but Sony is making no compromises on processing power, which ensures that PS5 exclusives play identically on both models. The physical PS5 is also expected to be backwards compatible with “99 percent” of the PS4 library, according to PlayStation boss Jim Ryan.
Preorders for both Microsoft’s and Sony’s respective next-gen systems very quickly sold out. Interest appears to be incredibly high at the moment, and according to NMM: Global Profiles®, purchase intent for next-gen consoles climbed significantly during the pandemic, jumping from 25% pre-COVID to 31% across the world. Interest is particularly high in both the US and UK. 36% of Americans (about 119 million people) have expressed purchase interest in the new gaming platforms.