We're almost nine months into the "next-generation" gaming cycle, and it's still nearly impossible to find a PS5 or an Xbox Series X, thanks to perpetually high demand and ongoing chip shortages holding back production. But here's the thing: The Xbox Series S, Microsoft's entry-level $299 console, is actually not impossible to find these days. And Xbox gamers might want to give that one a second look.
To be clear, I speak from experience: I pulled the trigger on a Series S late last year when I lucked into an availability window on Amazon. As a subscriber to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate -- basically, Microsoft's "Netflix for games" subscription program -- I now have access to dozens of new and classic games from EA, Bethesda, Microsoft and other publishers. And since I don't have a burning desire to own "event" titles like Madden or Call of Duty on the day and date of their release, I literally haven't bought a new game since.
The performance of the Series S has been largely flawless since day one, and the system's Quick Resume feature -- which lets you jump straight back into gameplay on up to three titles with nearly zero delay -- is great for my schedule, when I can grab gameplay in 20- or 30-minute snatches. And even if games like Doom Eternal are "only" playing at 1440p instead of true 4K resolution, they still look sumptuous on my 65-inch screen.
My biggest beef is that the Series S "only" has 512GB of storage, so I broke down and bought the Seagate Expansion Card. Yes, it was painful to pay over $200 for a glorified SD card, but I can always plug that extra terabyte into a Series X, if and when I decide to upgrade down the road.
The Xbox Series S isn't just a powerful update to Microsoft's console franchise, it's the smarter of the two new consoles to buy (in my opinion anyway). Priced at just $300, it's the little brother of the $500 Xbox Series X. It plays all the same games, but it's capped at 1440p resolution (versus 4K on the Series X), lacks an optical drive and has only half as much storage (500GB versus 1TB) -- but that's expandable with add-on drives, and Microsoft autoloads less ambitious textures to accommodate the difference. Our advice is that if you don't have a 4K TV this is the better console to buy, because it's more affordable and doesn't write checks your TV can't cash.
- Xbox Series S review: The console making next-gen gaming more affordable
- Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: It's all about 4K vs. 1440
- The best Xbox Series S games you'll need to play
- PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: The next-gen consoles we're buying and why
Keep checking this page, because we'll update this article when we know about an impending inventory drop at one of these retailers. And if you want to keep an eye on the retailers yourself, here are product pages at each of the stores:
Xbox Series S: Check inventory restock
Here is Walmart's Xbox Series S order page. The retailer occasionally notifies customers about inventory drops via Twitter.
Best Buy was the last retailer standing back during preorder day in September, but it's just one of many stores now offering the Xbox Series S.
Amazon's order page includes both versions of the next-gen console -- the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
This is where to go on Newegg's site to buy an Xbox Series S.
If you would like to buy the new Xbox from GameStop, here's where to go.
Target has a page for the Xbox Series S, too.
Microsoft will offer the Xbox Series S for $300, or as part of the Xbox All Access plan, which includes the Series S and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and costs $25 per month for 24 months.
We highly recommend waiting for inventory to appear at ordinary retailers so you can buy an Xbox Series S at the regular retail price. But if you've decided you simply can't wait another moment, the Xbox Series S is selling for an average of about $500 on eBay right now.
If you're willing to pay a premium of hundreds of dollars over the list price -- and to be clear we don't recommend this -- StockX is a reputable eBay-style site that will let you buy and sell new Xbox models -- as long as you're willing to pay dearly.
This story is frequently updated with the latest Xbox Series S inventory news.
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