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Well, at least half of the next-gen gaming picture is complete. Preempted by leaks that threatened to mar a planned reveal set for next week, Microsoft went ahead today and gave players the news they’ve been waiting months to hear: when they’ll get their hands on those shiny new Xbox consoles — and how much they’re gonna cost.
Only a day after revealing a $299 price for the smaller, disc-less Xbox Series S, Microsoft opened the information floodgates all the way, saying the flagship Xbox Series X console will arrive with a $499 price tag, and announcing that both consoles will be available on Nov. 10. The move all but officially kicks off the next console generation, with industry watchers predicting date and pricing details on Sony’s hugely anticipated PlayStation 5 are likely to follow sooner, rather than later, after Microsoft’s big reveal.
Thanking fans for their patience, Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Twitter followers Wednesday that the deluge of info was meant to flood the internet a week from now — “but oh well…”Pre-orders for both consoles will open up on Sept. 22, though all this pricing and dating info weren’t the only surprises to accompany the long-awaited news. In an announcement timed to match Microsoft’s Xbox reveal, Ubisoft said Assassin’s Creed Valhalla — the Norse-themed next installment in the hallowed action franchise — will release right alongside the new consoles as a day-one game. On top of that, Microsoft also announced a huge new perk for anyone who plans to pick up an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to go along with their new hardware. Access to the entire EA Play online service — which otherwise costs $4.99 per month as a completely separate buy-in — will be bundled with the Ultimate version of Xbox Game Pass (as well as Game Pass for PC) at no additional charge.
That means a $14.99 per-month Ultimate sign-up will grant you instant immersion in dozens of games in EA’s library — including Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, as well as all the big EA gaming franchises you know and love — from Mass Effect to The Sims to Plants vs. Zombies to Dragon Age and more. The highest tier on Microsoft’s gaming subscription menu, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also offers day-one access to Xbox exclusives, anywhere from 2-4 free new games each month, and always-on play for a library of more than 100 titles drawn from both time-honored classics like the Halo series, as well as recent releases like Wasteland 3.
With the plan now firmly in place for Xbox fans, the ball’s now in Sony’s court to make the next move. As of today, pricing and release date information for the PlayStation 5 is now the biggest mystery in all of gaming — but we likely won’t have to wait long before the other half of the next-gen picture is complete.