July 20, 2020 | 13:00
Microsoft has announced that it's halting production of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition and Xbox One X in preparation for the launch of the Xbox Series X later this year.
The news comes as a surprise to some given Microsoft was keen at one point to state that support for Xbox One owners would continue for a while to come, suggesting it would complement the Xbox Series X. That certainly seemed the case given that Microsoft has already confirmed that its first-party games for the "next couple of years" won't be exclusive to the Xbox Series X and will be playable on the Xbox One. Having said that, we already know that the Xbox Series X will support all Xbox One games so it makes sense for the firm to encourage new adopters to go straight for the latest console.
Regardless of what you think of this slightly uncertain change of statement, the availability of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition and Xbox One X will certainly be slowing down soon enough. Microsoft has explained that ceasing production now gives the retail channel time to "digest available inventory".
Such news also implies that potentially Microsoft is aiming to release two new consoles. Current rumours suggest that one will be the full-fat Xbox Series X while the other will be a lower-priced and potentially lower-performing one, much like how the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is at the moment.
If you are keen to snap up an Xbox One at a later date, the Xbox One S will continue to be manufactured so that option's always available at least.
In a similar vein, Microsoft has also discontinued selling 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions although it's still possible to buy 1 month and 3-month options instead. Current thinking is that Xbox Live Gold will be phased out in favour of Xbox Game Pass instead which seems likely given the focus on a more digital future. Alongside that, Microsoft has also announced that its game streaming platform, xCloud, will be added to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate from September for free. Just in case you needed another reason to consider signing up to it.
Combined, it's clear that Microsoft is gearing up fast for some substantial changes when the Xbox Series X launches later this year. Two consoles seem fairly plausible, especially as the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition production is being shuttered, leaving a gap for digital enthusiasts. Throw in enhanced subscription features and we're fairly confident that Microsoft is keen to see a much more digital focused future.
July 1 2020 | 17:34