The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are out, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll note by now how hard they are to get. (Get a life, scalpers!) If you’re sticking to retail, you’ll need to scrounge up at least $300 to join the next generation of Xbox with the 1440p-donning Series S. The 4K-ready big brother, meanwhile, comes in at $500. If these figures mesh with your spirit, you’re probably wondering where and how you can buy an Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
We’ve seen several opportunities since launch to secure one, but unless you’re extremely lucky—or you cave in and joined the dark side of botting for one—that endeavor feels more like a Powerball lottery. You can keep checking the links at the various retailers above to see if luck is on your side, but one route you can take to get one of the latest Xbox consoles fast (if you don’t mind a steep upcharge) is StockX.
If you’re unfamiliar, StockX is like a supercharged eBay, but instead of fighting bidders for the best deal, you’ll just need to set your preferred price and wait for a seller to post a unit within range. They’ll then ship the console to StockX, and StockX ships to you after they certify its working order. The match happens automatically, but you can also choose to buy the lowest offer available if you don’t want to wait.
Normally, this would net you a steal, but with how hot the latest Xbox consoles are right now, you’ll pay more than retail. Still, the average going rates for the Series S ($400-plus) and Series X (starting around $720) are much more reasonable than the $1,000+ listings you’ll find at eBay, Amazon, and others.
Hoping to buy an Xbox Series X or S in time for the holidays? Things are still a bit rocky at the moment. Retailers have regularly restocked units since the flood gates first opened and (quickly) shuttered, but unless you’re eagle-eyed, quick on your feet, and have all the time in the world to stalk Twitter feeds 24/7, it still feels bleak out there. Expect shortages to persist through April 2021.
The best thing you can do right now is sign up for retailer notifications (links below) and keep tabs on new opportunities by following the official Xbox Twitter account and those of the retailers. Don’t forget to turn notifications on for the best chance.
Keeping an eye on stock trackers should also be part of your gameplan. I’ve even seen Discord servers where people use those very scalping bots to set up notification channels for console hunters. Get creative with it!
You can get a next-generation Xbox starting at just $300. That’s the cost for the Series S, which incidentally mimics a mini subwoofer. You’ll get the same games and equivalent GPU features for graphical fidelity and gaming performance, but this one is only ideal if you aren’t ready to graduate to 4K.
Those looking for the best possible experience will want the Xbox Series X, and Microsoft has confirmed it’ll start at $500. This is the same sticker price the Xbox One and Xbox One X had at launch, which is just fantastic considering how much of a performance bump you’re getting.
Both consoles are available via Microsoft’s Xbox All Access program, which hooks you up with hardware and Game Pass for one low monthly cost. If you’re gunning for the Series S, that’s $25 per month, and Series X buyers can opt for a $35 monthly charge, both over 24 months. That works out to $600 and $860 respectively in the long run, which is actually about $20 cheaper than rounding this all up at full retail. Oh, and Game Pass also now includes EA Play and mobile game streaming, which makes this deal even better.
As mentioned before, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S mostly differ at maximum resolution—the former will support 4K (2160p), while the latter targets 1440p at a maximum 120 frames per second for gaming.
You’ll still get 4K upscaling for games on the Xbox Series S, though, including support for DirectX raytracing, variable refresh rate, and it can stream video in full 4K in supported media apps.
But there are other differences, such as the fact that the Xbox Series S won’t have a disc drive and its SSD tops out at 512GB as opposed to 1TB on the beefier Series X. Take it from me—and Stephen—that extra space is super important for next-gen gaming.
All the comparisons we’ve seen from launch suggest the Series S provides a fully competitive next-gen gaming experience at an approachable price point, so don’t feel bad if that’s the option your budget is inclined to favor.
Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S accessories are far more plentiful than the consoles at the moment, but it can still be hard to find the newest controllers and other extras.
If you’re having trouble tracking down one of those sexy Shock Blue controllers or Elite Controller Series 2, you have plenty of alternatives to consider, especially since many Xbox One accessories will work on the new consoles.
And trust me, if you play a ton of games, just buy the overpriced 1TB expansion card already. I was only able to fit about a dozen upgraded games on my Series X’s internal storage, and it’s the only storage option that offers fast loading times and Quick Resume. While you can store Series X games on a regular external hard drive, you won’t be able to play them.
For Xbox One games that don’t take ages to load or that you won’t play as often, a Game Drive still works just fine.
Microsoft’s aim with the latest console gaming generation is to maintain as much cross-platform functionality as possible. This means most games launching within the first year of the Series X’s debut will also be playable on Xbox One. The kicker? Many of those games will automatically look and play better when and if you decide to upgrade to a more powerful console. Those are called Smart Delivery games, and just for you, we’ve already highlighted all eligible titles you can pre-order or buy today.
The most exciting games for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S feature choice titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Halo Infinite, the latter-most once being Microsoft’s most significant launch title before suffering a soul-crushing delay. There are also several games with separate next-gen versions all on their own, a trend that’s especially popular right now with sports games such as NBA 2K21, FIFA 21, and Madden NFL 21. Don’t forget that many of your existing games on Xbox One and even the Xbox 360 will see improvements, whether by way of targeted updates or an unintentional byproduct of the beefier hardware’s presence.
Microsoft also dropped a bombshell announcement that it acquired Zenimax Studios, the umbrella covering studios like Bethesda, Arkane, and more. With the news, Microsoft announced that new games, hopefully including Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield, will launch on Xbox Game Pass day one.
This post was originally published in September 2020 and updated with new information on 12/5/2020.