The best Black Friday gaming deal this year took me by surprise. The Xbox Series S is $250 this weekend, making it one of the cheapest gaming systems on the market. It’s half the price of its big brother, the Xbox Series X, and even cheaper than the Nintendo Switch. This $50 discount made me completely change my mind about the console, which I quickly wrote off when it came out two years ago. At this low price, it becomes viable as a “road console” just in time for the holiday season.
This is a marked change in attitude for me, a known device skeptic. When the Xbox Series S was first released in 2020, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a trap. Its $300 price seemed attractive compared to the $500 Xbox Series X, but I knew it would come with some costly hidden fees due to the weak, measly internal storage. It just didn’t seem wise to me to take it long term, so I pretty much ignored it.
However, in the two years since then, a lot has changed in the gaming landscape. In particular, both cloud gaming and Steam Deck have taught me how much I value portability when it comes to my game library. I’ve found that I love being able to take my entire PC collection with me on a week-long trip to visit my family, which gives me something to do after my early-going people pass out by 9pm.
So when I found out about this tempting Xbox Series S deal, I started to wonder if it could provide some sort of utility that my Series X couldn’t. I realized that with its small design, I would be able to easily transport it if I ever just wanted to take my Game Pass box with me on a trip. I decided to test this idea by taking one with me on my annual Thanksgiving trip, and so far it’s been a resounding success.
When it comes to portability, the Series S doesn’t disappoint. It fits perfectly into my regular travel backpack, and its stylish design gave me a lot of flexibility in finding a place to set it up in my parents’ home – a non-gaming household that doesn’t need entertainment centers. I easily found a place for it at the top of the closet and in a matter of minutes launched it on the TV in the guest room. It was slick as I dug into new releases like Gungrave GOR One day my parents went away for the evening. I felt at home, as if I was still in my own living room.
This is what I usually write off as a stupid luxury that is not worth the money. This involves purchasing a second console designed to set up PC streaming, or to connect to another TV in your home. However, $250 seems like a reasonable price for such an additional purpose. This allows Xbox owners and Game Pass users to further connect with these ecosystems, rather than building them around a single box, as consoles have traditionally done. This is a convenient price that Microsoft may want to keep permanently after the sale.
If you’re looking at the $250 Xbox Series S sale price and trying to justify it in your head right now, ask yourself if there are any special utilities that a more travel-friendly gaming console can offer you. If this answer turns out to be yes, perhaps now is the right time to test this theory.