Xbox Series S — The Perfect F2P Machine
If you’re someone who’s looking for a supremely enjoyable F2P gaming experience (without breaking the bank) then look no further than the Xbox Series S. This $300 gaming console is arguably the best deal in tech right now — given that you can actually get your hands on one seeing how supply is limited.
For that meagre price tag, you’re getting a surprisingly capable gaming machine that’s just 2.6 liters in volume. That’s absurdly small. And, of course, you’ll get an Xbox controller as a part of the bargain. Simply put, you can’t build a gaming PC that’s this small and capable. Heck, you can’t even come close! The reason why it’s so cheap is quite simple: Microsoft is selling them at a loss. And the same holds true for the Xbox Series X, the more expensive (and technically superior) alternative.
Microsoft is no longer in the hardware business per se. Instead, they make the grunt of their revenue (when it comes to gaming) through services like Xbox Game Pass. They want you to become a part of their vast and impressive ecosystem, and the Xbox Series S is the cheapest point of entry. Whatever money they lose on hardware, they more than make up for in subscription fees, digital sales, and so on.
But what’s the connection between F2P titles and the Xbox Series S?
A Change in Approach
The main reason why the Xbox Series S instantly became the perfect F2P machine, is because Microsoft decided to get with the times. Going forward, gamers will no longer need a premium Xbox Live Gold subscription to play F2P multiplayer titles. That, in short, is absolutely huge. Well, you could argue that it’s long overdue, but better late than never, that’s for sure.
Now, Sony and Nintendo have already done this years ago — you don’t need their premium subscriptions to, say, play Fortnite on a PlayStation 5 or Nintendo Switch. The difference, however, is that the Xbox Series S comes in at just $300 and offers a vastly superior gaming experience for the asking price. There’s just no alternative right now. It’s the de facto best console to go for if you want 1080p gaming at high frame rates without any additional investments. You just splurge the initial $300 and you’re good to go.
Let’s Talk Games
The list of F2P titles you can download right this instant (and not spend a penny) is quite impressive. Call of Duty: Warzone; Rocket League; ROBLOX; Fortnite; Apex Legends; Spellbreak; Rogue Company; Brawlhalla; Destiny 2; Warframe; DC Universe Online; Dauntless; World of Tanks; Paladins; SMITE; Path of Exile, and a couple of others.
These are some of the most popular titles in gaming history (and a couple of pretty acceptable fillers) and they can all be enjoyed at over 60 FPS, 1080p, free of charge. The only thing you need, of course, is an Xbox Series S. That’s the main allure — the fact that you can buy such a capable console for such a low price and start gaming straight away. After all, most gamers are only playing F2P titles these days, so it’s not like they’ll miss out on anything. And if you ever want to purchase a AAA game and enjoy a bit of that next-gen goodness, you’ll always be able to do so.
The Xbox Series S packs a very potent AMD processor with eight cores running at 3.4Ghz. That, along with a GPU (based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture) that’s packing 20 CUs (execution units) is more than enough for an enjoyable gaming experience. Of course, it’s not as impressive as an Xbox Series X or a PlayStation 5, but most people don’t have 4K high refresh rate displays anyway, so it’s not like they’re truly maximizing the potency of their hardware. And yes, those consoles do offer more consistent frame rates, higher resolutions, better textures, and a couple of other bells and whistles, but they’re also nearly twice as expensive and are currently nigh impossible to find. Plus, even if you do find them, they’re mostly selling for inflated prices.
It’s all about what you’ve invested and what you’re getting in return, and the Xbox Series S is unmatched in that regard.
And it’s rare, frankly, to see a deal this darn good from a price-to-performance standpoint. They don’t come that often because, well, they’re not a feasible option in today’s market. Companies want to as big a margin per console as possible, which often leads to fairly unattractive retail pricing. That’s just the way things work, and we’re all used to it by now.
The Series S, however, is the exception to the rule.
Let’s Talk Performance
Of course, this is the one aspect that, in many ways, matters most. A palatable price tag means very little if this little thing can’t output enough frames for an enjoyable gaming experience! Fortunately, Microsoft has managed to find the perfect middle ground. The Xbox Series S deliver in every way, shape, and form, and that holds especially true for F2P titles.
Warzone, for instance, runs at a locked 60 FPS at 1080p which mirrors the performance of a solid gaming PC. You can also go for an uncapped frame rate (resulting in ±90 FPS, depending on what’s happening on-screen) which will incur a pretty acceptable penalty resolution-wise. Either way, you have a choice.
Now, if you already have a, say, 144Hz monitor and are accustomed to 1440p (or 4K, even), then the Series S might not provide you with the kind of experience you crave. It’s not meant for pixel-peepers and those looking to play on maxed out settings. It is, however, geared towards folks looking to invest as little as possible and get a perfectly capable gaming machine that’ll deliver in all the right ways.
It’s small, quiet, pretty cheap, and can provide you with the ultimate F2P experience. What’s not to like? The only thing that might become a problem over time is its internal storage — 512GB isn’t all that much, especially not seeing how a good chunk of it is automatically reserved for the operating system. Still, if you don’t have the tendency to hoard titles you’re not actively playing, you shouldn’t have a problem overall.
Gaming at 1080p with 60 FPS on a console this cheap was practically science fiction up until a couple of months ago. Lest we forget that console gamers have historically been shackled to a meagre 30 FPS for the longest time. The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X changed that, but that luxury didn’t come cheap. Not in the slightest.
Game Pass | An Insanely Good Deal
Finally, an Xbox Series S is the perfect way to experience Microsoft’s incredible Game Pass service. For just $9.99 a month, it’s truly an astonishingly good deal. One quick glance at the list of currently available titles is all you need for your mouth to start watering. Injustice 2, Control, Torchlight III, Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, FIFA 20, Minecraft, Rainbow Six Siege, Star Wars Battlefront II, Gears 5, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, DOOM Eternal, Crackdown 3, PUBG, The Outer Worlds, Battlefield 1, Battlefield V, Forza Motorsport 7, the entire Halo series, and many more.
Plus, any title that’s developed by one of Microsoft’s studios will be available to Game Pass subscribers from day one — free of charge. The list of games is constantly updating, and there’s always something new and exciting on the way. They call it “Netflix for gamers” for a reason.
And it’s truly the perfect way to game on the cheap.