This year’s best Black Friday gaming deal caught me off guard. The Xbox Series S is $250 this weekend, making it one of the cheapest gaming systems on the market. It’s half the price of its big brother, the Xbox Series X, and is even cheaper than a Nintendo Switch. That $50 discount has me entirely changing my tune on a console that I was quick to write off when it launched two years ago. At that low price point, it becomes viable as a “travel console” just in time for holiday vacation season.
That’s a notable attitude shift for me, a noted skeptic of the device. When the Xbox Series S first launched in 2020, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a trap. Its $300 price point seemed appealing next to the $500 Xbox Series X, but I knew it would come with some pricey hidden fees due to its weak paltry internal storage. It just didn’t seem wise to pick one up in the long-term, so I largely ignored it.
A lot has changed about the gaming landscape in the two years since then, though. In particular, both cloud gaming and the Steam Deck have taught me how much I value portability when it comes to my gaming library. I’ve found that I love being able to take my entire PC collection with me on a week-long trip to visit my family, giving me something to do after my early-to-bed folks conk out by 9 p.m.
So when I caught wind of that enticing Xbox Series S deal, I began to wonder if it could provide some utility that my Series X could not. With its small design, I realized I would be able to transport it with ease if I ever simply wanted to bring a Game Pass box with me when traveling. I decided to test that idea by bringing one with me during my annual Thanksgiving trip and, so far, it’s been a rousing success.
When it comes to portability, the Series S does not disappoint. It perfectly fit into my usual travel backpack and its sleek design gave me a lot of flexibility when looking for a place to set it up at my parents’ place – a non-gaming household that has no need for entertainment centers. I easily found a spot for it on top of a cabinet and got it running on a guest room TV in minutes. It was smooth sailing from there, as I dug into new releases like Gungrave G.O.R.E. once my parents retired for the evening. I felt right at home, as if I was still in my own living room.
This is the kind of thing that I’d usually write off as a silly luxury that’s not worth the money. It’s up there with buying a second console dedicated to a PC streaming setup or to hook up to another TV in your home. However, $250 feels like the right price point for that kind of supplemental purpose. It allows Xbox owners and Game Pass users to further link into those ecosystems rather than build it around a single box, as consoles have traditionally worked. It’s a convenient price that Microsoft might want to consider sticking with permanently post-sale.
If you’re looking at the Xbox Series S’ $250 sale price and trying to mentally justify it right now, ask yourself if there are any specific utilities a more travel-friendly gaming console could fill for you. If that answer turns out to be yes, this might be the best time to test that theory.
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