Something weird is going on with Xbox right now, and it may have a complicated answer, or a simple one.
Many are noting that retailers are not just sold out of certain models of Xbox these days, but some are literally being marked as “discontinued.”
GamesIndustry.biz recently compiled some of the claims, which include:
- Microsoft’s Australian site doesn’t list the Xbox One or One X for sale anymore, only the Xbox One S (the US site just had the others sold out).
- Stores like EB Games and JB Hi-Fi are claiming that Microsoft literally isn’t letting them order any more stock of the Xbox One X.
- In the US, Target has marked the whole collection of Xbox One consoles as discontinued.
- On Amazon, a number of different Xbox One variants are marked as discontinued.
So, what’s the simple explanation?
This is tied into some recent comments from Xbox console business planning lead Dan Tavares, who responded to images of discontinued Xboxes on Amazon saying that they had just changed the SKUs, and it was Amazon that had messed stuff up. But he was only talking about the Xbox One S, which does still seem to be available while other models aren’t.
But he did say that in general, demand for Xbox has been huge during the pandemic, and it seems possible that all these sell-outs and reports of things not being discontinued or able to be ordered may stem from that, simply a shortage with so much demand for consoles while everyone is mostly stuck indoors. I can buy that as a reasonable explanation as to what’s happening here. Granted, his answers were on July 4, and some of these other developments are more recent.
The more complicated, conspiratorial explanation is that Microsoft may be cleaning house of certain models of Xbox ahead of both the Xbox Series X and the reveal of Xbox Lockhart, the lower spec console that is supposedly going to be showed off in August.
Xbox Series X
It does make a certain amount of sense that Microsoft would not be making an Xbox One S, an Xbox One, and Xbox One X, an Xbox Lockhart and an Xbox Series X all at the same time. One thing I have said repeatedly is if Xbox Lockhart was real (and it seems to be), that one of the only “position” for the console that makes sense would be as a replacement for the Xbox One X. Technically, the non-sale price of the Xbox One X is still $400 right now. It makes more sense to me that Lockhart would arrive and replace it at that price point, while the Series X would arrive at $500 or $600 or whatever higher price it needs to be.
Then you have an Xbox family that limits “last gen” to a very cheap Xbox One S, then you have killed the One and One X, and you have just Lockhart and Series X. Small, medium and large. If people were to buy an Xbox One X before, now, they just buy a Lockhart. If they want top of the line, they buy a Series X. This makes sense to me.
But again, this is all too confusing to know exactly what’s happening here just yet. Microsoft has a games showcase in a week or so which could bring more information, but if it is just games-focused, we may have to wait until August. Strange times.
Update : The Verge confirms Microsoft is discontinuing the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S Digital Edition, but the normal Xbox One S will stay. So there you go.