Xbox Series S controller

Another Xbox Series S reference – this time direct from Microsoft

Update: It now seems that even Microsoft has given up on the pretence that the Xbox Series S exists, with at least one customer claiming to have received a controller, directly from the company’s own store, with a Game Pass code sheet that references the intriguing second-tier, next-gen console (thanks IGN).

In any normal year it would be very odd to reference an unannounced product, but it’s almost certainly due to unforeseen delays due to coronavirus, that have meant the Series S announcement is running somewhat behind schedule, and so now behind the packaging and promotions that new Xbox controllers are being shipped with.

The real mystery remains the pricing of said console. A more affordable option can’t be announced without a more affordable price to make full sense of it, so while the (now somewhat bizarre) price vacuum of the Xbox Series X and PS5 continues, the Series S can’t make its bow.

Coming back to that lack of pricing for the top-tier devices, we’re not completely convinced the rivals are playing a huge next-gen game of chicken, but instead are likely waiting as long as possible to open pre-orders to get the best possible idea of available stock in a year where things have not gone according to plan for anyone. That would also allow more time for a return of consumer confidence, though we seriously doubt that the new consoles won’t sell out on launch anyway.

Original story: The worst kept secret of the new console generation has been the existence of a second Xbox console, the so-called Xbox Series S – which had become a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’ in recent months. Well that ‘so-called’ can now be dropped, thanks to the inclusion of a single letter on new Xbox controller packaging.

A white version of the new Xbox Series controller has found its way, mysteriously, into the hands of a Twitter user, who has no apparent industry relations or history of such reveals. Zak S says he bought the controller on marketplace offerup.com for just $35, which, if true, points to the seller not knowing what they had.

The controller, which from videos is certainly the new Xbox Series controller, is in white as previously seen in other leaks, but with the packaging it now clearly states that it compatible with ‘Series X|S’.

One black mark against the leak is that lack of an image of the Series S in the manual, alongside that image of the Series X. Though it’s possible that the S console is similarly shaped, though possibly less deep.

The side of the box has the giveaway single letter

Presuming this is all true, that not only confirms the name of the second console, but also that it’s coming this year, rather than at a later date as we once suspected. That means Microsoft will likely be announcing it soon, and looking at promoting a dual console strategy this Christmas. It’s still possible Microsoft could announce the console for release early next year we suppose, but that would just confuse its messaging without capitalising on Christmas sales.

That’s all a surprise to us, as we were convinced that Microsoft wouldn’t want the confusion of having two new consoles come to market at the same time, and potentially cannibalising sales of its top-end device by a lower segment SKU.

However, it does make sense from the point of view that Microsoft announced Series X very early and has released all the details about it, except price, already. It fits in well with its softer approach to hardware generations, and with Series X likely to sell out anyway at launch, a digital only Series S, with a more easily produced and higher yielding GPU might be most welcome at launch.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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