It has 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 the fact that standard 1TB Xbox One S systems, complete with a disc drive and a 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 state of affairs has continued. While the less-capable, disc-drive free system was officially supposed to undercut the price of its disc-drive equipped brethren, it seems the reverse is still happening at some major retailers.
Yes, major retailers like Target and Best Buy are sticking to Microsoft’s MSRP of $299.99 for a 1TB, disc drive-equipped Xbox One S bundle. That price does indeed make the $249.99 all-digital edition, complete with three downloadable games, look like a great deal.
But other retailers are not being so cooperative. At Walmart, for instance, you can get a 1TB Xbox One S, complete with disc drive, a downloadable copy of Minecraft, and a handful of the game’s DLC packs, for just $214.62. If you want a game that’s a bit more recent, Walmart is also offering a 1TB bundle with Forza Horizon 4 for $246.79. Or if a Fortnite-themed bundle is more your speed, you can get a 1TB system with 2,000 V-Bucks (worth about $20) and a downloadable cosmetics set for $245.89.
True, that’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison with the three titles in the All-Digital Edition. But those bundled games—Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 3, and Minecraft—are low-priced legacy titles that were released one year, 2.5 years, and 4.5 years ago, respectively. All three of those 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 little and look for deals that are merely “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 either Minecraft or NBA 2K19—for only $239.99.
At Amazon, there are also a number of “fulfilled by Amazon” offers that undercut the All-Digital Edition’s $249 price. Those range from the Minecraft bundle at $214 to a Forza Horizon 4 bundle at $246.79, and a few other offers in between.
Amazon and Wal-mart also offer 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 $299 MSRP. 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 “one game bundle” MSRP.
For comparison, I couldn’t find a single new, 1TB PlayStation 4 at a major retailer that undercut the system’s current MSRP: $299. But the PS4 continues to sell at a brisk pace worldwide, suggesting that any supply Sony puts out is selling quickly without the need for more aggressive pricing.
What seems to be happening on the Xbox side, by contrast, is that some retailers are trying to clear out warehouse stock of their disc-drive-equipped Xbox One S bundles well below Microsoft’s suggested price (the fact that 1TB Xbox One S systems with disc drives were officially available for $249 just a few months ago doesn’t help much on this score). That’s a state of affairs that seems likely to continue until supply levels for the Xbox One S more closely match existing demand or Microsoft lowers the MSRP of the Xbox One line across the board.
Until then, the $249 MSRP for the disc-drive-free All-Digital Xbox One S is going to continue to look a bit unreasonable to anyone willing to shop around a bit.