Resist the $299 Xbox One

Posted on June 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox One with 0 Comments

Resist the $299 Xbox One

As you may have heard, Microsoft has discounted its Xbox One consoles by $50, with the cheapest bundle now selling for just $299. That’s a great price. But you shouldn’t buy an Xbox One now, given the high probability that Microsoft will announce one or more new consoles next week.

Don’t mistake this advice: I use the Xbox One daily and recommend it, and will continue using it going forward. But the current version of the console has always been too big and too loud, and it’s likely that a coming revision to the Xbox One will solve those issues. So it makes sense to wait.

The question is how long to wait.

Microsoft’s E3 2016 keynote is just 6 days away. If you’re as serious about Xbox as I am, you’ll want to pay close attention to what the firm announces at the show, and then act accordingly.

So, for example, let’s say Microsoft does announce a slimmer, quieter, cost-reduced Xbox One, which I’ll call Xbox One S for simplicity’s sake. (Where “S” stands for “slim” as it did for the Xbox 360 S that Microsoft announced in 2010, five years after the original console.) At that point, the question will be whether to purchase that new console, which will likely command a higher (or, maybe “normal”) price, or to purchase the initial console version at the $50 discount.

Deciding which to get will depend on some information we don’t know have: The price, of course, but also any potential functional differences around expandability. Whether it’s quieter and smaller, and more appropriate in the living room. Maybe there will be negative changes as well. We’ll need to wait and see: This isn’t a decision we can make now.

But the decision we can make now is to wait: The current Xbox One is attractive at $299. But it still comes with flaws, like its enormous size, the strange loudness of its power supply—it’s the only thing in my office that makes any noise, and I really notice its background buzz—and its resulting heat, and its lack of internal expansion.

Those things may not be issues for you, of course. I apparently have dog hearing, and that kind of noise bothers me. You may not mind tacking on external USB hard drives. You may be driven solely by price, which I get. The Xbox One we have today is all kinds of great, and the complaints I have should be seen as the nitpicks they are.

But seriously, wait. And if the presumed announcement of a new model doesn’t work out for you for whatever reason, or doesn’t happen, or won’t ship for some number of months, then buy the current one at $299. And just enjoy the hell out of it.

Just one more week to go. And that E3 press conference? I will of course be covering it live and will give you all the information you need to make the right choice for you … once we know what’s really happening.