Microsoft shrinks games machine by 40% and adds redesigned controller, IR blaster and front-facing USB port in console war with Sony
Microsoft’s slimmed-down and 4K-movie capable Xbox One S will cost £350 ($400) and be available from 2 August in the US.
The new, 40% smaller console has a built-in power supply, a front-facing USB port and an IR blaster. It will launch with 2TB of storage with a 1TB and 500GB option available later. The 2TB Xbox One S is expected to be available in early August in the UK from Microsoft’s store, with some third-party retailers listing pre-order deliveries on 31 August.
The One S follows the trend of gaming console manufacturers releasing smaller, more power-efficient revisions of their current-generation consoles before releasing updates with more powerful components. The new slimmer Xbox will also come with a redesigned controller that has textured handles for improved grip, greater wireless range and Bluetooth.
The Xbox One revision will support 4K movie playback from Blu-rays and the new high dynamic range (HDR) video standard that increases the range and depth of colours on display with an HDR-complaint TV.
It is the first major change to the console since its launch in 2013. Sony is also working on an updated PlayStation 4 console, rumored to be named PlayStation 4 Neo, which will also offer 4K Ultra HD compatibility.
Microsoft will follow the Xbox One S with the Xbox One Project Scorpio by the end of 2017, which is expected to support games, not just movies, in 4K as well as HD virtual reality display.
The company will hope that releasing its slimmed-down mid-generation update will help address the Xbox One’s sales deficit against Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has sold around 40m consoles since its 2013 launch against Microsoft’s estimated 20m Xbox One consoles.
Data from analyst firm IHS suggests under 29m Xbox Ones will be sold by the end of this year, compared to 53m PS4s.
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