KEY POINTS

  • Microsoft's Phil Spencer believes the Xbox Series S's price will help it beat Xbox Series X in the long run
  • Spencer thinks both PS5 and Xbox Series X will fly off shelves at launch
  • Both the Xbox Series X and Series S will launch on Nov. 10

Microsoft executive vice-president for gaming Phil Spencer believes that the all-digital Xbox Series S will sell more units than the more powerful Xbox Series X over the course of the next generation.

Spencer told Kotaku that he expects the Xbox Series X, with all of its bells and whistles, more power, 1TB of storage, 4k resolution, 16GB of RAM, and priced at $499, to be the bigger hit when both are launched on Nov. 10.

Since the Xbox Series X is what Microsoft has been pushing and is the kind of machine that ushers in a new era of gaming, Spencer said he believes it will be the machine that early adopters will grab. He also predicted that rival PlayStation 5 will be flying off the shelves as well when it launches two days after the Xbox consoles.

“I think demand is just going to outstrip supply of pre-orders. For us and PlayStation, I think that the manufacturing supply chain is going to dictate [market] share more than anything else,” Spencer said.

However, in the long run, Spencer thinks it's the smaller, discless sibling with a $299 price tag that will prevail. “I think, over the generation, our expectation would be that price really matters and that you would see the Series S sell more,” he added.

Even with a smaller 512GB storage capacity, 10GB of RAM and lower framerates, affordability will become a major factor in the potential triumph of the Xbox Series S over its sibling. Like the Xbox Series X, the standard edition PlayStation 5 is priced at $499. It also has a digital edition that is priced at $399.

Ultimately, Spencer said he expects both next-gen consoles from Microsoft to do very well for its holiday season launch. Hardly ever shy about talking about gaming, he predicted, “I think we’ll sell every unit of both of them that we can deliver.”

The Microsoft executive could not help but gush about what the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S bring to the table.

Acknowledging his own personal biases about his company’s work, Spencer said, “Being honest, the Series S has surprised me in terms of how it performs.”  

The Xbox Series S also apparently loads faster than its sibling because it loads lower-res graphics.

Spencer also bared in the interview that the Xbox Series S could lure former fans of the Xbox 360 who switched to PlayStation and skipped the Xbox One. “Maybe buying two $500 consoles is going to be a difficult thing, so we said, ‘Hey, let’s make sure we’ve got something to catch a second-[console] owner,’” he shared.

Phil Spencer Xbox chief Phil Spencer has revealed that Microsoft’s video game unit is shifting its focus toward software. Photo: Reuters/Kevork Djansezian