The split between Xbox Series X and S owners might be far less even than you’d think.
As part of Microsoft’s big, self-imposed FTC leak, a document outlining the company’s April 2022 gaming results provided a clear look at the respective popularity of the company’s two current-gen consoles.
Notably, 74.8 percent of Xbox Series owners purchased the S, while 25.1 percent went with the X. What’s more, the S accounted for 65 percent of Xbox Series console sales that month. It’s worth noting that Xbox boss Phil Spencer predicted as much during the leadup to both consoles’ November 2020 launch.
However, it’s worth noting that game sales tracker Circana (formerly known as NDP) says it’s closer to a 50-50 split, with a slight edge to the Series S, at least in the U.S. Circana says this is partly due to Series X supply having improved since Microsoft prepared that April 2022 document. It’s unclear what the Series X/S breakdown might be in Canada and other markets.
In any event, there are multiple reasons why the Series S would be more popular with people. To start, the Series S costs $379 in Canada, well below the $649 Series X (which recently got a $50 price increase) and Sony’s $519 disc-less PS5 and $649 standard PS5. Even the Nintendo Switch, which was released more than three years prior to the Series S, is priced at $399.
Keeping the costs lower are the Series S’ 1440p resolution (compared to the Series X’s 4K support) and its lack of a disc drive. On the flip side, it’s got a smaller form factor that makes it easier to carry around when travelling.
Meanwhile, the Series S sports an SSD that allows it to run the same games as the Series X, just at a lower resolution. This has led Microsoft to require developers to release titles on both the Series X and S.
On the one hand, that has proved to be frustrating for some developers, including Larian, who initially wasn’t able to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox due to technical issues surrounding getting both Series X and S versions up and running (A solution was eventually worked out to allow an Xbox port to come later this year).
That said, this parity clause also ensures that consumers wanting the more affordable Series S don’t miss out on any games. In August, Spencer reiterated Xbox’s commitment to this strategy, telling Eurogamer “I don’t see a world where we drop [Series] S.”
In general, the markedly higher demand for the Series S shows runs counter to gamers who are so focused on the most technically impressive experiences. Clearly, many people are happy with the standard 1440p/60fps to 120fps experience on the lower-cost console.
Of course, it’s been over a year since those April 2022 documents were prepared, so it’s unclear how much the needle may have been moved since. That said, Microsoft doesn’t reveal specific Series X and S sales figures, so this is the most insight we have at the moment.
This new Series X and S data is just a small part of Microsoft’s massive FTC leak, which saw a variety of confidential emails and documents hit the web. Some of the biggest reveals out of all of this include details on Microsoft’s plans for new current- and next-gen consoles and unannounced games.
Spencer has since responded to the leaks, noting that “so much” has changed regarding these internal discussions and it will share its “real plans” in the future.