This week marks the debut of a new generation of gaming, as both the Xbox Series S and X are available. Well, maybe “available” isn’t quite the word we’re looking for, as they’re sold out in stores and online, save for places like eBay and Craigslist. Still, they’re out there, and they mark a whole new way to play.
With that, we’ve got a pros and cons guide for you to go along with our previous game recommendations, giving you an idea of how great gaming can be with these systems – and what minor setbacks you may face along the way.
Let’s take a look at the Xbox Series consoles in more detail!
Pro: Improved performance all around
And you thought the Xbox One X was a powerhouse. The Xbox Series X is an elite performer across the board, with 4K support and most games running at 60 frames per second. Or perhaps even higher, depending on what you’re playing. DiRT 5, for example, is a beast at 120 fps, without breaking a sweat.
The Xbox Series S is kind of step down, but still has some great-looking games at around 1440p and nearly the same framerate, not to mention the support for 4K. That’s not bad for those that happen to be on a budget.
And did we mention that the way these systems are built with their vents, they’re less likely to overheat? That’s good news for those that may remember the dreaded “red ring of death” from the Xbox 360 days. Yeesh.
Con: Storage is limited
No matter what system you go with, you may find yourself facing storage issues at this point in time. The Xbox Series S, for example, only has 364GB of usable storage space. And you can kiss a third of that goodbye if you’re playing something like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, which clears over 100GB of storage easy.
The Xbox Series X is a bit better with around 650GB of space, after all is said and done. Still, at some point, you will need to either buy extensive storage or get used to downloading games all the time. There is a 1TB SSD card you can plug into the system, but be prepared to pay a bit for it, since it runs around $220 or so. Yikes.
Fortunately, the systems do support additional storage for Xbox One/Xbox 360/Xbox games, so you don’t have to worry about storing those on the system. Sadly, you’ll need to keep Xbox Series-supported games direct on the hard drive. Sort accordingly.
Pro: Xbox Game Pass
The Xbox Game Pass program is easily one of the most valued programs in video gaming right now. With Ultimate, you get online play and access to over a hundred games right off the bat, for a low monthly fee. And there’s a lot to choose from, including every exclusive first-party game from Microsoft’s many studios, as well as other favorites like Doom Eternal.
That’s not all. EA Play recently joined the party, meaning you can get access to all of its Vault games – as well as the recent addition of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – right away. And you’ll have many favorites to choose from as well, like Peggle 2 and Titanfall 2, which looks scorching on the Xbox Series X, by the way.
If you haven’t invested yet, there’s a lot of tremendous value with Xbox Game Pass. We can’t recommend it enough.
Con: Not the greatest launch line-up
While the Xbox Series consoles have their fair share of previously released games, its launch line-up isn’t exactly what you’d call “stellar.” There are some good new titles here, like Tetris Effect Connected and Gears Tactics, but hardly anything that’d be called a killer app for the systems.
That’s because the game that was supposed to be a launch title, the long-awaited Halo Infinite, got put onto the backburner until sometime in 2021. While there’s still the previously released Halo games to consider, that did bum a lot of people out – and leaves a sizable gap in the line- up.
There are other titles to explore – like Gears 5 and the exclusive addition of Dave Bautista in one of the main roles. But to some, it was all about Infinite; and without that, it’s not quite the same as it could’ve been.
Pro: Backward compatibility
Microsoft has a huge win when it comes to backward compatibility support on the Xbox Series systems. All the previously released Xbox, Xbox One and Xbox 360 games that worked on the
last generation of consoles are instantly supported, meaning thousands of titles can be played on your shiny new system. And what’s more, they feature improvements, like faster loading time and, in some cases, enhanced visuals. That’s good news for anyone that wants to enjoy something out of the box. And who knows, you just might discover a new favorite.
Con: System availability
Let’s be honest, while Microsoft did prepare pre-orders better than the PlayStation 5, there’s still a lack of availability for both the Xbox Series S and X. Granted, you could get one if you really, really wanted, but you’re likely paying a few more hundred dollars than the general retail price. That’s scalpers and eBay sellers for you, getting a few more bucks just to assure you’re getting your system.
This may likely change once 2021 rolls around and Microsoft beefs up availability. But, for now, if you want to grab a system, you likely won’t get one on the normal retail routes. Them’s the breaks for a freshly launched console, mind ya.