No one really knew what to expect when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999 to mark the beginning of the new millennium, as people around the globe had braced themselves for one of two possibilities. The first was that the world would usher in a new era defined by technology and filled with endless promise, while the second would see the planet suddenly plunged into darkness and chaos courtesy of the nerds who forgot to take the passage of time into account while spearheading the digital revolution that led to programmers closing out the 20th century by scrambling to address the Y2K bug that threatened to put a real damper on the celebration.
Thankfully, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief when 2000 arrived without any real incident, and later that year, Sony gave us our first glimpse at the future when it unveiled the literally game-changing Playstation 2, which remains the best-selling console of all time 20 years after its initial release.
A year later, an arms race that’s raged for almost two decades officially kicked off when Microsoft decided to get in on the action with the Xbox. This introduced some healthy competition to the marketplace, and since then, both companies have engaged in a battle for superiority that’s seen each of them release a couple of updated iterations of the machines that have defined the two distinct generations of gaming we’ve been treated to over that span.
The most recent of those kicked off in November 2013 when the PS5 and Xbox One were released within a week of each other, and based on the lifecycles of the ones to come before it, it was safe to assume we’d be treated to some new hardware at some point near the turn of the decade. This did indeed turn out to be the case, as both companies eventually confirmed they’d be rolling out their newest offering in 2020.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been treated to a steady stream of details concerning what to expect from the PS5 and what Microsoft has dubbed the “Xbox Series X,” but heading into Labor Day weekend, there were still a surprising number of things we didn’t know about them when you realized they were slated to be released on…well, no one really knew because the manufacturers have seemingly been engaged in a game of chicken when it comes to revealing when you’ll be able to buy one or how much you’ll have to shell out to do so.
However, it appears Sony has prevailed in that showdown, as Microsoft finally blinked on Tuesday following a trickle of leaks that began to seep out on Monday after Windows Central reported it had learned the price of the two versions of the next-gen Xbox it says will be debuting on November 10th and footage of an unreleased commercial started to make the rounds.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) September 8, 2020
While it hasn’t addressed the aforementioned date or the rumor that the Series X will set you back $499, Xbox has confirmed the cheaper Series S will retail for $299, meaning it’ll cost you $200 less than what you would’ve had to pay to upgrade to the newest generation when the Xbox One was released in 2013.
👀 Let’s make it official!
Xbox Series S | Next-gen performance in the ˢᵐᵃˡˡᵉˢᵗ Xbox ever. $299 (ERP).
Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise. pic.twitter.com/8wIEpLPVEq
— Xbox (@Xbox) September 8, 2020
This option features half of the hard drive space and none of the 4K capabilities offered by the Series X but it’s still packing some solid specs in a package that’s 60% smaller than the more expensive option— thanks in no small part to the lack of a disc drive, which you might want to take into consideration if you care less about the upfront cost than what you might invest in the long run. By going with the Series S, you’ll have to rely solely on digital downloads and subsequently pay whatever Microsoft demands on its online store compared to the discount you can usually secure if you buy used discs, which can add up over time.
Sony will also be releasing two versions of the new Playstation, and when you consider many people the know have been speculating the cheaper discless console will start at over $400, Microsoft may have just given itself a huge edge that it decidedly does not have after being forced to postpone the release of Halo: Infinite, which resulted in the already-less-than-impressive list of games that will be available at launch becoming even more underwhelming than it already was.
Your move, Sony.