Let’s Talk About X, Baby

OK. Let’s dispense with the 80s nostalgia soft open and dive right in, shall we, because there’s a bunch of X-y stuff to talk about.

Microsoft released the Kraken skinny on it’s next-gen consoles this week. So what did we learn?

The Basics
Microsoft is releasing two consoles: The Xbox X and the cheaper, less powerful Xbox S. Both consoles will be released on Nov. 10, with pre-orders starting Sept. 22.

Specs
Kotaku has the full breakdown of all the technical differences between the two consoles, but let’s dial that back a notch and just give you the good stuff.

Xbox X – Slightly faster CPU, more powerful GPU (12 TFLOPS, FWIWFLOPS), more memory, 1TB of storage and runs at 4K.

Xbox S – Slightly slower CPU, only 4TFLOPS with its GPU, less memory, just 500GB of storage, doesn’t support native 4K.

Setting price aside for a minute, how much of this should you care about? No native 4K is a bummer if you have a 4K TV or are planning to upgrade soon (you totally should! As a 40 Bit subscriber, I hereby give you permission). The S only having 500GB of storage seems problematic given how big the next-gen console games could get. You could wind up needing to buy extra storage, which, as Kotaku points out, could get expensive.

Pricing
Here’s where things. get. interesting.

You can purchase either console upfront with cash money, or, like a cellphone, you can pay nothing upfront and sign a two-year contract for Microsoft All Access.

All Access gets you the console plus access to a library of more than 100 Xbox games, includes EA Play, Xbox Studios games (like Halo: Infinite) the day they come out, and the ability to play games on your mobile device or PC.

Ars Technica has a really good breakdown of the cost, and I don’t want to do any math right now, so I’m just going to cut-and-paste what they wrote here:

For the Xbox Series S:

  • With All Access: $0 upfront + $24.99/month * 24 months = $599.67
  • Without All Access: $299 upfront + $14.99/month [for Game Pass] * 24 months = $658.76
  • All Access savings: $59.09

For the Xbox Series X:

  • With All Access: $0 upfront + $34.99/month * 24 months = $839.76
  • Without All Access: $499 upfront + $14.99 * 24 months = $858.76
  • All Access savings: $19.00

The question, of course is whether you want to be in bed with Microsoft for two years. If, for whatever reason you want out — too bad. Bring it up with Satya Nadella.

And as Ars points out, Game Pass, which is normally $14.99 a month and gives you access to all those games, frequently goes on deep sale. Something you’d miss out on if you were locked into that higher price.

So?
Well. Look. Not to be all wishy-washy, but this decision is one you must make on your own. I used to be an Xbox person, but left because all my friends were on PlayStation and — not for nothing — I hate the Microsoft account experience. From Skype to Teams to anything that requires a Microsoft sign-in, I’ve just had the worst experiences and don’t want to extend that to my TV.

Plus, if we’re just gabbin’ here, none of the Xbox exclusives are enticing enough to get me to switch right now. YMMV though.

OK. Ugh. Enough with the specs and stuff. Normally, I wouldn’t get that in the weeds, but thought it was important for this week’s newsletter. We’ll get back to blending a little Buck Rogers or some such with our videogaming. Bee-dih-bee-dih-bee-dih.

I’m such a sucker: I bought an older GPU to replace a newer one

40 Bit contributor and boulevardier, Kevin C. Tofel just wanted to build a gaming rig. It’ll be a larff, he thought.

He was wrong.

And now it seems that he can’t quite quit what he’s started. Catch up with Kevin and see what happened when he bought a Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card (and what the total cost for his home built PC has risen to).

Max Headlines

Scott Pilgrim game is back after years of being delisted. Now the retro-styled game won’t be-gone. (I’m mostly including this because I love this movie so much and recently re-watched it.)

The $10,000 gold PS5 is open for pre-order this week. You know, if the Xbox pricing is too confusing for you.

How Fall Guys, a battle royale game with jelly beans, became this summer’s mega hit. The bouncy battle royale game has sold 7 million copies on PC and is the most downloaded game in Sony PlayStation Plus history. It was also the most watched game stream in August.

Why ‘The Wizard’ Captivated a Generation of Nintendo Fans. Love for the Power Glove.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading.

Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ’90 rulez.

-Chris

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