We’ve been watching the next generation of game consoles evolve from leaks and rumors over the past year, waiting for the day when the new console war would begin. And today is the day. Microsoft launched pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and S in advance of the November 10th release. Unlike Sony’s disastrous pre-order launch, the new Xboxes were available in sufficient numbers that even slightly tardy gamers were able to snag one. Still, pre-orders are almost completely gone as of this posting.
A quick recap; the new Xbox comes in two variants, the Series X ($499) and Series S ($299). The X is the more capable device, and probably the one you’ve seen most often online. It looks a bit like the 2001 monolith, all black and rectangular. The Series S is Microsoft’s discless game console, so it’s thinner and less expensive than the X. The Xbox Series X brings numerous improvements to console gaming to make it more competitive with a high-end PC. The new Xbox offers 12 teraflops of processing power, 4K support (8K ready), 120 fps output, and a custom SSD.
Most of the games you want to play will be available on both next-gen consoles, but there are some exclusives for each. Until just recently, the exclusive game situation was strongly favoring Sony, which has franchises like Horizon, Spider-Man, and Deathwire: Tokyo. However, Microsoft just announced its acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which includes Bethesda and other developers. While Microsoft has confirmed it will honor Bethesda PS5 exclusive deals (including Deathwire: Tokyo), Microsoft’s ownership of this major developer will assure it gets more games going forward. In addition, you’ll get Microsoft’s handful of popular exclusives like Gears of War and Halo.
If you don’t already have a pre-order, you’ll probably be out of luck. Every retailer offering the Series X appears to have sold out within an hour or two this morning. Stock was still appearing intermittently at Best Buy around noon ET, but we haven’t seen any slots pop up for some time now. The Series S took longer to run out at most stores. While the Microsoft Store sold out earlier, it’s back in stock as of now. That probably won’t last long, though.
If you can’t get a pre-order now, you’ll still be able to try your luck on launch day, which again, is November 10th. The PlayStation 5 will launch two days later at the same $500 price for the standard edition. The digital edition PS5 will be $100 more than the all-digital Xbox, though.