Regardless of how hard 2020 tries to slow things down both Microsoft and Sony are still dead set on releasing new consoles this year. Last week, after leaks already broke the news, Xbox officially dropped the official details –on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S models. Those US prices are US$499 (X) and US$299 (S).
When Xbox Australia confirmed local pricing, it left some folks out there pretty confused.
Local prices sit at $749 (X) and $499 (S) for the same consoles. Conversion rates led Aussies to calculate we’re paying at least $60 more, which to be fair we are kinda used to. Thankfully, there’s also a little more to it than just that.
As many were quick to point out, the US marketing does not include sales tax. I myself remember being burned a few times shopping in the States only to discover the change in my pocket wasn’t enough when tax was added to the sale. Sales tax varies state-to-state, which is a pretty good reason to leave it out of marketing for the whole country but can absolutely feel misleading for those of us unfamiliar with the process.
The good news is it’s not the only reprieve on perceived price. Telstra has the exclusive offering on subscription deals for existing customers where you can pay the console off over 24 months with no upfront fees. And the deal is as good as these deals get.
This will set you back $33/month for the S and $46/month if you go for the beefier X. Both deals include Xbox’s Game Pass Ultimate subscription which is an excellent service giving access to a surprisingly excellent ever expanding library of games to play.
If there’s anything wrong with this, it’s that you have to be a Telstra customer to be allowed to pre-order the deal. Not everyone is, and not everyone wants to be. Given talk of limited consoles at launch it could potentially be slow to get an Xbox All Access package if you have to wait for launch.
Other cheap deals?
The last vestige of hope for a cheap new console is in EB trade in deals. Many might be rightly wary here, as trading in is quite often terrible value. EB Games’ business model relies heavily on trades where it can buy games for a very low price entirely just using store credit from customers. The company then makes money on not only selling these games for pure profit but also by retaining the customer who originally traded.
Trade ins can be a really tough thing to swallow and support at times but EB are actually doing some great deals for those looking to upgrade to an Xbox Series S or X.
If you’ve got an Xbox One X or S (yes we mean the old ones, the not-Series ones, we know it’s confusing) EB will give you a fair amount of cash for them. Trading an Xbox One X can bring the price of a Series X down from $749 to $399 and a One S will knock a Series S down from $499 to $299. These consoles have backwards compatibility guaranteed so it’s a no brainer if you’re not sentimental about your devices.
Even the controllers can be used so you can hold onto those and save yourself some extra dough. Unfortunately, if you’re like me and still rocking the original Xbox One model it seems you’re fresh out of luck when it comes to trade-in deals but you can still probably trade it in for something possibly very disappointing if you wanted.
The Game Pass factor
The last thing to really be aware of in the new era is Game Pass. Game Pass is currently pretty cheap at $15.95/month for the most expensive tier and in turn you get access to hundreds of games on your Xbox and PC. They’re not shovelware either. Every in-house Microsoft game comes to the platform immediately which means it’s loaded up with games like the Halo, Gears, and Forza series. There are tonnes of good games from many other studios too and I’m constantly impressed with what’s added. Recently a new deal has meant it will also include EAPplay which means you’re also getting their library, which includes franchises like FIFA, Star Wars, and Titanfall.
Game Pass is the best value service you can currently get for games, even if it does eventually go up in price and it adds serious value to any console purchase. And remember, go the Telstra ‘Xbox All Access’ route includes this for free.
Game Pass is well worth factoring in on any plan for the new era. It can significantly reduce what you’ll spend on buying games yourself. Plus, it’s also a great incentive for people to go for the cheaper and much smaller Xbox Series S. You’re taking a hit to specs but if you’re going digital for your games and you don’t care too much about perfect 4K fidelity, then cropping a few hundred dollars off and tossing the disc drive makes sense.
This week we’re set to see what PlayStation has to offer when it comes to the price of next gen consoles but I feel like Xbox has already given them some stiff competition. These certainly aren’t cheap but the pricing makes sense and there’s a tonne of incentive out there to help justify the costs.
The Xbox Series X and Series S will go on preorder next week on September 22 for release on November 10, so keep your eyes out for any bundle deals in the meantime.