Hi there! Today we‘re going to explore 7 key reasons why you may want to hold off for now on purchasing Microsoft‘s latest and greatest Xbox Series X console. I‘ll provide detailed analysis on factors you should weigh when deciding if the Series X is right for your needs and budget. Let‘s dive in!
1. Limited Exclusive Games So Far
Historically, the Xbox platform has lagged behind PlayStation in terms of high quality, must-have exclusive games. There‘s no sugarcoating it – Sony simply has more studios churning out fantastic exclusives than Microsoft.
In 2021, Sony released a slew of critically acclaimed exclusives for PS5 including Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, Deathloop, and the masterful Horizon Forbidden West. These showcase the creative strengths of Sony‘s first party teams. Xbox‘s Halo Infinite, while a good game, felt light on content at launch in comparison according to reviews.
Looking at meta critic data, here are some of Sony‘s highest scoring PS5 exclusives so far versus Microsoft‘s best Xbox Series X offerings:
Horizon Forbidden West – 88
Demon‘s Souls – 92
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – 88
Returnal – 86
Xbox Series X
Forza Horizon 5 – 92
Halo Infinite – 87
Psychonauts 2 – 89
The disparity becomes clear looking at major upcoming exclusives. Sony has God of War Ragnarok, Marvel‘s Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy XVI and more in the pipeline. Xbox‘s lineup of known exclusives feels comparatively sparse.
For players who value platform-exclusive games over everything else, the PS5 has a decisive advantage over the Series X today. Microsoft is playing catch-up despite buying studios like Bethesda. It may take years to see the results of those investments.
2. Xbox Game Pass Is Available Many Places
Xbox Game Pass works similarly to Netflix for video streaming. For a monthly fee, you gain unlimited access to a library of games. At close to 400 games and growing, Game Pass seems almost too good to be true.
The key thing is Microsoft enables you to enjoy all of Game Pass without needing the latest Xbox console. Through cloud streaming, Game Pass is playable on Windows PCs, Android and iOS devices, certain smart TVs, and via dedicated streaming set-top boxes.
With Xbox Cloud Gaming, the system requirements are light. All you need is a stable internet connection for smooth streaming. You don‘t need an expensive gaming PC or console. This level of accessibility is fantastic. But it reduces the need to buy an Xbox solely for Game Pass access.
For reference, Game Pass Ultimate costs just $15 per month. Compare that to the $499 cost of the Xbox Series X. If you already own devices capable of cloud streaming, sticking with Game Pass for now lets you save major money upfront.
3. Expanding Storage Costs a Fortune
The Xbox Series X comes equipped with 1TB of fast internal SSD storage. Modern games take up gigs and gigs of space, so this fills up quicker than you may think. Unlike PlayStation 5 which works with standard NVMe SSDs, Xbox Series X/S can only have storage expanded using proprietary 1TB Seagate cards.
These officially licensed expansion cards cost a steep $219. That dwarfs the cost of compatible SSD upgrades for PS5. For comparison, here are prices for Xbox vs. PlayStation storage expansion:
Xbox Series X expandable storage
- 1TB Seagate expansion card – $219
PlayStation 5 expandable storage
- 500GB Samsung 980 Pro SSD – $74
- 2TB Samsung 980 Pro SSD – $250
It‘s hard to justify spending so much on the Xbox expansion card when PS5 owners can add more storage for a fraction of the price. This hidden post-purchase cost makes the Series X purchase feel less consumer-friendly.
4. The Xbox One S Remains a Great Budget Option
At just $299, the Xbox Series S costs $200 less than the flagship Xbox Series X. But believe it or not, buying a discounted Xbox One S may be an even smarter budget play depending on your needs.
Pre-owned Xbox One S consoles can often be snagged for under $150. When that price hits $100 or under, it becomes very tempting for casual gamers. Despite being a last-gen console, the One S actually holds up decently for Xbox gaming in 2023.
The One S may only do 1080p gaming, but it supports 4K streaming and Blu-Ray playback. More importantly, it gives you full access to every modern Xbox game thanks to extensive backward compatibility. All the latest titles and Xbox Game Pass work perfectly fine on a One S.
For parents buying a family console or budget-focused gamers, an Xbox One S purchased at a big discount grants you hundreds of dollars in savings over the Series X while letting you play the full Xbox catalog. It‘s tough to justify a $500 upgrade cost just for prettier graphics in some games.
5. Lack of Virtual Reality Support
Another clear area where PlayStation currently enjoys a big advantage over Xbox is virtual reality gaming. The PS5 fully supports the PlayStation VR headset and the upcoming PSVR 2 promises to take PlayStation VR to new heights with features like 4K HDR passthrough.
Major upcoming PS5 titles are even being built exclusively for VR, like Horizon Call of the Mountain. VR vastly expands the types of gaming experiences possible on PS5. But Xbox remains a VR-less zone for now.
The Xbox Series X and S consoles don‘t natively support any VR headsets. There are no equivalent Xbox VR games or headsets. While Microsoft does offer Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets for PC gaming, you can‘t use these products with an Xbox console at all.
For gamers interested in virtual reality, the PlayStation ecosystem clearly provides a better choice. Lacking any form of Xbox VR support is a noticeable downside versus Sony‘s impressive PSVR offerings.
6. Incremental Upgrade Over Xbox One
There‘s no debate that on paper, the Xbox Series X trounces its predecessor the Xbox One in raw performance. It loads games far faster thanks to the SSD, outputs 4K visuals with ease, and has over 12 times the processing power of the base Xbox One. No contest there.
But dig deeper, and the upgrade starts to feel more incremental. Key aspects of the Xbox experience remain unchanged. The controller design stays virtually identical to the Xbox One gamepad aside from a share button. Even the console‘s boxy aesthetic mirrors the Xbox One.
Importantly, the vast majority of Xbox One games work perfectly fine on the Series X thanks to stellar backward compatibility. Current and last-gen Xbox games feel more contiguous compared to past console generational leaps.
For long time Xbox gamers who still own and enjoy their Xbox One, upgrading may not feel like a night and day difference. Outside of faster load times, games play and look remarkably similar across generations. Unless you obsess over frame rates, moving from Xbox One to Series X doesn‘t feel revolutionary yet.
7. The Default Controller Design Is Dated
On a functional level, the Xbox Series X controller works great. The ergonomics are dialed in, the buttons are responsive, and battery life is excellent. But aesthetically and technologically, the default Xbox controller feels positively archaic compared to what Sony did with the DualSense controller for PS5.
Just look at how the default Xbox Series X controller compares visually to the fresh new DualSense:
Xbox Series X Controller
- Identical layout and sizing to Xbox One controller
- No color options on default model
- No significant new functions or features
PS5 DualSense Controller
- All new futuristic two-tone design
- Built-in microphone and create button
- Advanced haptic feedback system
- Adaptive triggers with tension control
It‘s clear Sony focused on innovation with the DualSense while Xbox played it safe. For players who want to feel next-gen advancements through their controller, the dated Xbox gamepad simply doesn‘t provide the same impact.
Alternatives Worth Considering
If the Xbox Series X isn‘t matching your needs and expectations, you still have some stellar alternatives for high-quality console gaming. Here are three options worth your consideration.
It‘s no coincidence the PS5 is an obvious alternative for Xbox fans feeling uncertain. Beyond its exclusives, the PS5 impresses with innovative features like the DualSense controller, fast loading powered by the SSD, and diverse entertainment apps.
Sony also provides a consumer friendly approach to expandable storage. Shortages have made buying a PS5 challenging, but more stock continues to arrive regularly. Tracking down a PS5 provides access to the strongest overall software library and VR support.
Nintendo Switch OLED
Don‘t overlook the Switch as an offbeat yet compelling alternative to Xbox. The Switch OLED model‘s vibrant 7-inch screen makes Nintendo‘s iconic games shine in handheld or docked mode.
Switch also occupies a unique niche thanks to exclusive franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Splatoon, Super Smash Bros, and Animal Crossing. For players interested in Nintendo‘s magical game worlds, the Switch OLED is a whimsical change of pace.
PC gaming provides unmatched flexibility when it comes to hardware configurations and game libraries. The Steam Deck condenses that into a powerful yet portable Nintendo Switch-esque form factor.
Any game available on Steam can be played on the Steam Deck. You also get full Windows and Windows PC gaming flexibility baked in. If Xbox Game Pass on PC combined with Steam‘s vast catalog appeals, the Deck is a stellar mobile play.
The Series X Has Time on Its Side
Even for gamers who currently see more appeal in PS5 or Switch, all hope isn‘t lost for the Xbox Series X. As Microsoft delivers on its major studio investments, the Series X could gain momentum. More big exclusives over the next few years may justify an eventual purchase down the road.
But for now in 2023, choosing to hold off on buying a Series X while embracing alternatives makes sense for many players. Xbox needs to prove it can deliver must-have software experiences beyond just the hardware power. Until then, choosing PS5, Switch, or other options is perfectly valid.
The Series X absolutely shows long-term potential – the question is when Xbox‘s strengths in hardware can be matched by its software offerings. Only time will tell, but for today, avoiding the Series X for alternatives you may enjoy more remains a sensible decision.
Let me know if you have any other questions!