If you're a regular on this site, you know our opinions on the Xbox Series S at this point: the console offers some of the best value in gaming. With its low price of purchase, paired with a cheap Game Pass sub, if offers some of the best bang-for-your-buck value in all of gaming. There's no question about that.
And that's a message that seems to be getting across to the audience. In a presentation about ID@Xbox at Latin America's largest game festival, BIG, Leonardo Barros Barreto (Director and Partner Production Management at Xbox) revealed that 48% of Xbox Series S players are new to the Xbox ecosystem. You can click through to relevant slides from the show at the link.
To put it simply, the Series S plan is working: its low price and ease-of-use is attracting brand new players. The presentation at BIG revealed that the largest proportion of new players entering the Xbox environment come from the US, closely followed by Brazil and Mexico. We also learned that there are over 21 million Xbox Series consoles in the wild right now (less than the 38 million PS5s Sony has confrimed).
This doesn't mean that the Xbox Series S is all good news for Microsoft, though. Recently, Larian Studios stepped out to say that, because the machine is lower-power than its Series X and PS5 generational stablemates, it would not be releasing Baldur's Gate 3 into the Xbox ecosystem. It's the first time a developer has publically acknowledged the Series S' lack of power is holding games back. But I don't imagine it'll be the last.
"We've run into some technical issues in developing the Xbox port that have stopped us feeling 100% confident in announcing it until we're certain we've found the right solutions," said Larian. "Specifically, we've been unable to get split-screen co-op to work to the same standard on both Xbox Series X and S, which is a requirement for us to ship."
But this trade-off must be worth it to Microsoft: getting a massive influx of new players into the Xbox ecosystem via the Series S is no small feat. And once those players are in, it's easier to convert them to subscription-paying Game Pass members – a massive part of Xbox's current strategy (even if some publishers seemingly aren't too happy about that).
There's still a hot debate about whether or not the Series S is holding the current generation back – we've even seen both sides of the argument kick off on this very website. But, whether the cheap-but-weak promise of the Series S is bad news for the industry as a whole or not, you can't deny it's making waves for Microsoft.