Microsoft launches next-generation Xbox gaming consoles to take on Sony PlayStation 5
Last month, we wrote about Xbox Series X, and Series S, a new set of home video game consoles developed by Microsoft. The two consoles were released on November 10, 2020, as the fourth generation of the Xbox console family, succeeding Xbox One.
Today, Microsoft launched two models of its Xbox gaming console, seven years after the debut of the previous version, to capture a pandemic-driven boom in consumer spending on games. The Xbox Series X – which the company has described as the “world’s most powerful console” – will retail for $499.99 (379.1 pounds) and a lower-priced Xbox Series S will sell for $299.99.
So, how receptive are consumers to the new consoles? Immediately after the launch, gaming pundits and critics praised the new console hardware and commented positively on its improved graphics, reduction of loading times, and strong backward compatibility support, but due to the lack of any console exclusives, remained hesitant of the console’s true power.
As a result, many did not feel these consoles represented the next generation of home consoles at launch as they had comparable abilities to personal computers one could acquire at the same time, in contrast with how Sony had positioned the PlayStation 5 as a fully next-generation machine. The Series X was generally considered the better unit, as the computation and space limitations of the Series S made it a less user-friendly experience to navigate, but still otherwise functional
Xbox will compete with Sony PlayStation 5, which is scheduled to launch on Thursday. PS5 is widely viewed as leading the console race due to its bigger fan base and a broader range of exclusive gaming titles available at launch.
This was the first time Microsoft launched its gaming console globally on the same day and the company said it has seen the highest preorders for Xbox consoles across various markets.
While the initial supply of preorders sold out fast, Microsoft had said additional stocks would be available at launch.
“There were some early supply chain issues in Q1/Q2 due to Chinese manufacturing plants shutting down due to COVID, but these have since been operating normally again,” said analyst Maurice Klaehne at research firm Counterpoint.
Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service with more than 100 titles including brand new games, is seen as the company’s greatest weapon for cutting into PlayStation’s dominance. Game Pass has grown rapidly to more than 15 million users since its launch.