In the lead up to Xbox Series X’s release, Microsoft has been making some interesting moves that could point towards the kind of future its looking to build during the next console generation. The first sign of this came yesterday, when a company spokesperson told The Verge, “As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we’re taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.” The standard Xbox One S will continue to be sold.
This marks the first time that a console SKU has been phased out prior to the release of its successor, though the S All-Digital and Xbox One X did mark the first of their kind as these ‘half-step’ options released midway through a system’s lifecycle. Players are used to console’s getting slimmer and cheaper, but that changed in 2017 when the One X and PS4 Pro saw the existing units kick it up a notch in terms of power.
For now the Xbox One S console SKU featuring a disc drive is still being produced, but it calls into question whether or not bargain buyers will be able to find a good deal on these other two options when the Black Friday sales roll around later this year. This move is surprising since Microsoft hasn’t been pushing players to migrate to next-gen consoles anywhere near as much as Sony.
Today, however, it’s come to light that Microsoft will also be dialling back some of its Xbox Live Gold subscription options, with the 12-month variant no longer being sold on the Microsoft online Store. This has fuelled speculation that the long-running service could soon be relaunched in a way that ties better into the release of the Xbox Series X. You can of course still buy 12-month subscription keys and cards at other retailers, but one would assume they’ll start being phased out too.
Microsoft will hold an Xbox Series X showcase centring on games this July 23rd. There’s a chance we could learn more about its future strategy there.