It’s been about a month since Microsoft announced its disc-drive-free, “All Digital” Xbox One S. At the time, we pointed out that the system’s $249.99 MSRP was unsustainably high given that standard 1TB Xbox One S systems, complete with a disc drive and bundled game, were selling for the same price or less at major retailers.
Now that the All Digital edition has been on store shelves for about a week, that process will continue. While the less capable, diskless system was officially supposed to undercut the price of its disk drive-equipped brethren, the reverse still seems to be happening at some major retailers.
Yes, major retailers like Target and Best Buy are sticking to Microsoft’s suggested retail price of $299.99 for a 1TB Xbox One S bundle with disc drive. Indeed, that price makes the $249.99 all-digital edition, complete with three downloadable games, look like a great deal.
But other retailers are not so cooperative. At Walmart, for example, you can get a 1TB Xbox One S, complete with disc drive, a downloadable copy of Minecraft, and a handful of DLC packs of the game, for just $214.62. If you want a game that’s a bit more recent, Walmart also offers a 1TB bundle with Forza Horizon 4 for $246.79. Or as a Fortnitetheme bundle is more your speed, you can get a 1TB system with 2,000 V-Bucks (worth about $20) and a downloadable cosmetic set for $245.89.
Admittedly, that’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison with the three titles in the All-Digital Edition. But those bundled games…Sea of Thieves† Forza Horizon 3and Minecraft-are cheap legacy titles released one year, 2.5 years, and 4.5 years ago, respectively. All three of these digital games are also available for free through an Xbox Game Pass subscription (which is included as a one-month trial with all Xbox One S bundles).
If you’re willing to shop around a bit and look for deals that are only “fulfilled” by major online retailers, you can get an even better deal. A standard, 1TB Xbox One S without a bundled game is offered by WorldWide Distributors through Walmart.com for just $207.75. Or you can get a disc drive bundle with two games:Black Ops 4 and also Minecraft or NBA 2K19-for only $239.99.
At Amazon, there are also a number of “fulfilled by Amazon” offers that undercut the $249 All-Digital Edition price. Which range from the Minecraft bundle for $214 to a Forza Horizon 4 bundle for $246.79, and a few other offers in between.
Amazon and Wal-mart are also offering direct sales of a few disc-drive-equipped Xbox One S bundles that cost more than the All-Digital Edition, but less than Microsoft’s suggested retail price of $299. That includes a $271.97 bundle with both Battlefield V and Devil May Cry 5 at Amazon – a system with two recent games for less than the official suggested retail price for “one game bundle”.
In comparison, I couldn’t find a single new 1TB PlayStation 4 at a major retailer that undercut the system’s current suggested retail price: $299. But the PS4 continues to sell at a rapid pace worldwide, suggesting that any offering Sony puts out sells quickly without that more aggressive pricing is needed.
In contrast, what seems to be happening on the Xbox side is that some retailers are trying to clear the warehouse inventory of their disc-drive-equipped Xbox One S bundles well below Microsoft’s suggested price (the fact that 1TB Xbox One S systems with disk drives officially available for $249 just a few months ago, doesn’t help much at this point). That’s a state of affairs that will likely continue until supply levels for the Xbox One S more closely match existing demand for Microsoft to lower the suggested retail price of the Xbox One line across the board.
Until then, the $249 MSRP for the disc-drive-free All-Digital Xbox One S will remain a bit unreasonable for anyone willing to do a little shopping.