No, the new Xbox console names aren’t confusing – but the Xbox One needs to die ASAP

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Xbox One. Xbox One S. Xbox One X. Xbox Series S. Xbox Series X. This is the range of Xbox consoles that will be “active” by the end of the year.

When you type all the names like that, I have to admit it looks a bit ridiculous. Sure, the original Xbox One is retired, but its ecosystem isn’t, with its smaller, more powerful descendants still rolling.

Following the confirmation of the Xbox Series S complete with pre-order details, a common thread in comment sections, message boards and online social media has been the idea that the naming of the latest additions to the Xbox family might be confusing. To be honest, it’s a good idea: imagine trying to explain the difference between the Xbox One S, Series S, One X and Series X to a clueless parent in the midst of panicked Christmas shopping. Back when I was a student, I experienced part of that nightmare, working in retail at a time when there were a ridiculous number of Nintendo DS models on the market.


Explaining these product differences seems easier than it is, especially for those of us who understand the difference between 1440p and 4K or the concept of frame rate and just assume the rest of the world has it. also gets.

But that said, I don’t think things are as bad for Xbox as some online are making out. The problem isn’t the Series S and Series X brand, after all. You can look at these machines and understand the difference. The small and cheaper is less powerful, while the big and expensive is, well, the beast. Many consumers can be a little thick on games if they’re not dedicated gamers, but they’re not. this thick.

The letters also bear witness to this: S for small, X for Extra. Or something like that. Both of these machines play the same games, albeit in slightly different ways, and use the same accessories and controllers. This pair is defined as the foreseeable future of Xbox.

So the problem is that Microsoft keeps the previous platform. It’s not the difference between Xbox Series S and Series X that’s the most confusing – it’s the difference between Xbox One S and Xbox Series S. People will inevitably see TV commercials and go to stores and will ask for the Xbox S. They’re similar sizes, with similar names – they’re even the same color. This differentiation is more blurred. These are the same types of consumers who were mistaken and thought the Wii U was a new type of controller for the Wii and not a new machine; explaining to them is vital.

While Microsoft’s backward and forward compatible vision is ideal for consumers in practice, it adds to the confusion. On store shelves, many games for next year or so will now be presented in cross-generational boxes that are technically compatible with all Xbox machines. “We want the one with the game pass,” a distraught parent will tell an exasperated salesman. Well, you see, they all have a game pass, but…


This is where the confusion arises, and this is where Microsoft needs to add clarity to its Xbox console slate. This clarity is easy enough to achieve: the company simply needs to put a bullet in the Xbox One consoles. The Xbox One brand, even.

Baby’s first steps are taken towards this. In July, it was confirmed that the digital-only Xbox One X and Xbox One S (that’s the one without a disc drive) were to be “retired” to make way for the Series X and S. But in the same breath, Microsoft promised to continue to manufacture and sell the Xbox One S. Given its general similarity to the Series S on many fronts – price, design, and even the part of the market targeted – this lawsuit seems reckless, even if the lawsuit has a $200 or even $150 last-gen Xbox on the market might be appealing.

Much has been valiantly done over the past few years to salvage a disastrous start to the gen for Xbox, and it’s fair to say that in terms of engineering, the Xbox One S and X are superior to the PlayStation 4 Slim & Pro. But that’s no longer relevant now. This material is no longer relevant now. Owners of existing Xbox One consoles will hardly be out in the cold. They’ll still be able to enjoy a variety of games that release as cross-gen titles, a huge library of game passes, and services like xcloud – but at some point a line has to be drawn. The naming choices Xbox made just mean the line should be drawn sooner.

In an ideal world, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X should be gone by next summer at the latest. For the first six months they can probably get away with it – early adopters will be better informed and specifically ask for “the new Xbox”. But after that, it is essential that the old machines are quickly retired to present a clear and understandable product range.

Oh, and while they’re at it? They might as well cancel the Xbox One version of Halo Infinite. Who decided to let such a flagship game be held back by old hardware? If this game represents the next ten years of all-in-one Halo as a platformer, it needs to look forward, not backward. Xbox One owners can still play it through xcloud anyway.

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