Microsoft made a splash at The Game Awards by showing off its next-generation console, the Xbox Series X–previously known by its codename, Scarlett. The company also shared a ton of technical specs and details exclusively with GameSpot, but one big question remains if you’re currently plunking coins into your piggy bank: how much will it cost?
Though Microsoft hasn’t revealed a price for Series X yet, it has talked quite a bit about how it’s approaching the price tag. In June, Microsoft’s Jason Ronald said the company is keenly aware of what consumers see as “reasonable” for price, while stressing that it will be a high-end piece of hardware. Xbox head Phil Spencer echoed those sentiments in November, suggesting that the company had learned a hard lesson from being both significantly more expensive and less powerful than the competition.
“I would say a learning from the Xbox One generation is we will not be out of position on power or price,” Spencer said. “If you remember the beginning of this generation we were a hundred dollars more expensive and, yes, we were less powerful. And we started Project Scarlett with this leadership team in place with a goal of having market success.”
Xbox Series X Specs Quick Look
CPU: AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU
GPU: AMD Navi-based GPU (~12 TFLOPs)
RAM: GDDR6 SDRAM (capacity not confirmed)
Storage: NVMe SSD (capacity not confirmed)
Max Output Resolution: 8K
Max Refresh Rate: 120Hz
All of that suggests a price that is on the higher-end of normalcy. One report with purportedly leaked specs in October claimed the higher-end model would be $500, which fits that criteria. However, it’s unclear if Microsoft is pursuing a strategy of two models at launch, so that report could be inaccurate. Spencer did mention in the Series X reveal that the name “gives us the freedom to do other things with that name so that we can create descriptors when we need to.” That implies a strategy around multiple models, at least long-term.
One reason Microsoft hasn’t talked more openly about price could be that the decision is still in flux. Spencer said in June that the price could be impacted by a lot of factors, including President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
“The price will be important. Clearly, price is one of those things that people want to know,” he said. “As we’re watching how the cost of the components are coming in, and things like tariffs and other things, trying to figure out what that price is going to be next year. We have a price point in mind; I think we’re going to hit that. But we want to make sure everything comes in right. We’ll get price out as soon as we can.”
Finally, we may not know the price yet, but Microsoft is offering a roundabout way to start paying in installments. The Xbox All Access program returned for the holiday season, letting you essentially make monthly payments on a new Xbox One along with Game Pass Ultimate, which includes both the subscription service and Xbox Live Gold.
The subscription model, similar to cell phone payment plans, has you pay off your console over 24 months. If you go for the highest tier–which includes an Xbox One X–by the end of 2019, you can upgrade to the Xbox Series X after 12 months. At that point, your 24-month payment plan will reset, and Microsoft hasn’t detailed what those monthly payments will be. Assuming Microsoft wants to move its All Access customers neatly over to the new console without raising their monthly rate, the new console would need to be priced at roughly the same point as a current Xbox One X–which is $500.