Microsoft is paring down its console lineup to make room for the upcoming Xbox Series X. The company has discontinued production of the Xbox One X and Xbox One S digital edition, while the Xbox One S will continue to live on indefinitely.
Simplifying the lineup — It makes sense that Microsoft would want to simplify its portfolio of consoles as demand for the older ones is likely falling with the Series X expected in November. By continuing to sell the Xbox One S, Microsoft can at least offer an affordable option for those casual gamers who don't necessarily need the latest and greatest.
The difference between the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X that's being discontinued is that the One S upscales video to 4K whereas the One X supports true 4K and HDR. The One X has 12GB of RAM to power higher quality gameplay instead of 8GB in the One S. The Xbox One S digital edition is just a cheaper version of the One S without an optical drive, meaning only downloadable games can be played.
We're not sure exactly why Microsoft chose to keep the One S as the new entry level console over the more capable One X. It's possible that Microsoft is keeping the cheaper One S available because the components in the One X are more expensive and therefore make it harder to discount like the One S – also having a "One X" and a "Series X" would be confusing. How would the average consumer be able to reason which one is the "latest" Xbox?
Microsoft hasn't announced a more affordable, discless version of the Series X like Sony has for its PlayStation 5. There's a rumor going around that the company is planning a second Series X console that would support 1080p video instead of 4K. That would likely take the place of the One X as the middle of the road choice for those who want the other benefits of the Series X, like fast load times, but don't necessarily need 4K video quality.
The One S is still good — The Xbox One S retails for $249 but can often be found on sale for less. At that price, it's a pretty good all-around media player with support for plenty of streaming services, 4K Blu-Ray, multiple USB ports, and a port that allows it to function as your cable box. You can even use it as a DVR and record live TV.
As far as we know the Xbox Series X isn't launching until November, and with all of us stuck indoors the One S might still be worth the purchase.