Nine years after the launch of the original systems, Microsoft has officially announced the end of production for the Xbox One S. This follows the example set by the One X, which similarly ceased production in July of 2020, following a three-year life cycle. As mentioned by Cindy Walker, the senior director of Xbox console product marketing in an interview with The Verge, this move has been made so the company can shift its focus to the new Series systems.
On the other side of the aisle, major competitor Sony has announced that, due to chip shortage issues mitigating PS5 production, PS4 systems will continue to be built at least through 2022. The move by Microsoft was an inevitability, but it came earlier than many industry insiders predicted. Looking at the big picture, this development raises important questions about Xbox One gamers, and where the company will set its sights next.
What Happens to Xbox One Owners?
Thankfully, support for the older systems in terms of software is expected to continue for years. Many new games will still offer versions on Xbox One, and online infrastructure is expected to last for years. After all, the Xbox 360 still delivered online play until late 2021, 16 years after the system’s release. If Xbox One takes the same approach, we could expect live service to persist until 2029.
That said, don’t expect many exclusives or the most cutting-edge titles to meet their highest potential on Xbox One. Though some, like remastered games, could still offer a prime experience on the One systems due to low hardware demands, almost all new releases are expected to target the Series X and S for better performance.
New Generation Plans
Each end serves as a new beginning, and with the Series X and S, Microsoft has lofty plans for what comes next. While each Xbox system at launch has been powerful in its own right, the new systems illustrate potential far beyond the traditional gaming sphere. In some ways, the Series systems succeed where the Xbox One failed, in creating an environment that could truly serve as an all-in-one solution to home entertainment. With the right approach, they could even move into the landscape beyond.
With traditional gaming in titles like Halo Infinite, the expectation for the Series consoles is expected to follow the regular route. More powerful hardware means bigger worlds, more impressive-looking games, and improved gaming physics. From this point, however, things become less predictable.
One of the most interesting early announcements about the Series systems was how they provided an alternative funding plan. Still offered on the official Xbox website, this allows Series X players to purchase the system by paying a monthly $34.99 fee over 24 months, or $840 in total. Included in this package is the system, worth $499, and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, valued at $15 a month or $360 in total. Together, this plan costs a mere $20 more than buying a system with a single payment. Why is it so cheap? To get players on the ecosystem.
In the new world of video games, subscription services are seen as highly valuable to console manufacturers, as a guaranteed form of income. This works out for players too, as great titles like Mass Effect Legendary Edition offer enormous opportunities far below the cost of buying a game outright.
From this newer form of game access, new entertainment opportunities are also possible through the improved Edge browser. With this, Xbox owners can use a browser functionality which is near-identical to those on computers. For an odd example of this, players can now use their Xbox browser to play titles like Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077 with Stadia. This development mirrors more established interactive experiences outside of video games. Perhaps the biggest example of earlier efforts was with live casino titles like Lightning Blackjack, Wheel of Fortune, and Casino Hold’em, which were already supported on the older Xbox browser. With Edge, a far greater range of browser entertainment options are now accessible.
Though the scalping problem might have prevented many from obtaining a new system yet, this issue won’t persist forever. We’re at a point now where Microsoft is gaining momentum with the new systems, and the implications for the next generation of entertainment is immense. For gaming, browsing, streaming, and more, Xbox is spooling up to deliver the best environment their systems have ever had.