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You should buy the Xbox Series S on Cyber Monday - here's why

Xbox Series S in front of TimeSplitters 2 and Tomb Raider Legend box arts
(Image credit: TechRadar)

As Cyber Monday continues, some products are becoming more popular than others, to the surprise of some - and this includes the Xbox Series S.

The Xbox Series X is increasingly harder to find, but the Xbox Series S is becoming easier to find, and more appealing out of the two as well. More people are noticing the incredible value it offers, even without a disk drive.

With a price of $299 / £249, it's a tempting proposal to look into, especially if you're not a previous Xbox or PC owner.

While our senior gaming writer Adam Vjestica has already given the rundown on why the console is an alluring prospect, we wanted to highlight one feature that Xbox has been leading the way with since 2015, to honor the past.

Microsoft has far-surpassed Sony's efforts

TimeSplitters 2

(Image credit: Free Radical)

It's no secret that playing games from earlier in the PlayStation's life cycle is mindbogglingly difficult.

When the PlayStation 3 first came out, it could play almost every game that came before it, from Ridge Racer Revolution to Onimusha 2. However, as the years passed, backwards compatibility became something of an afterthought; you'd be lucky to find a section in the PlayStation Store for some PS2 games, but otherwise you'd be stuck for choice.

With the PS5, you can play PS4 games, and most of your previous purchases from the store -  but that's as far as it currently goes.

However, if you browse the store on your new Xbox Series S, you'll most likely discover games that you've not seen since high school.

Banjo Kazooie, Panzer Dragoon Orta, and Sonic Generations are just some of the examples that you can play right now on your 4K-enabled console. But Microsoft didn't stop there.

On some games, you'll see improvements, such as 60 FPS and higher resolutions. So, while you're playing Speed Highway in Sonic Generations, those notorious slowdown issues as you run down a skyscraper are now non-existent.

Right now, there's an Xbox Series S with a three month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (3 Months Subscription) for £282.98 at Amazon, so you can take a look and download games from previous eras.

It's the simple things that appeal to us, such as 4-player multiplayer on TimeSplitters: Future Perfect with wireless Xbox controllers, something that was impossible to do when the game was released back in 2005.

$59.99

Xbox Wireless controller $59.99 $49.99 on the official Microsoft store
Save $10 -
Microsoft has gone early with a $10 saving on its official Xbox Wireless controller. Designed to enhance gameplay and extremely comfortable to hold, this gamepad is available in Carbon Black, Pulse Red, Robot White or Shock Blue.

Xbox Wireless Controller Pulse Red: $59 at Walmart

Xbox Wireless Controller Pulse Red: $59 at Walmart
If you're in need of a new Xbox pad, this Pulse Red version of the Xbox Wireless Controller is discounted for Black Friday. With Bluetooth built-in, you can also use this controller on PC or with your mobile devices.

£29.99

PowerA Xbox Enhanced Wired Controller £29.99 £22.99 at Argos
Save £7 - You only save £7 on this cheap Xbox controller alternative, but items like this do come in handy. If you're playing a co-op game with your child, something like this is perfect for them as they won't ruin (or break) your more expensive gamepads. And it comes in three different colors – White Camo, Arc Light Blue or Metallic Ice.

£99.99

Razer Wolverine V2 Wired Controller £99.99 £59.99 at Amazon
Save £40 - If you're after a cheap wired controller, this Razer Wolverine V2 wired gamepad cousin is the one for you. There's a hefty £40 saving on it so, while you'll have to keep it connected to your console in order to use it, the Wolverine V2 makes for a solid alternative to those pricier official Microsoft counterparts.

Which games should you play?

Snake aboard the Tanker, avoiding soldiers

(Image credit: Konami)

There are far too many to list, but Xbox has a handy guide so you can see whether your favorite game can be played on your new Xbox Series S.

Here are some highlights that jumped out at us:

Some of these titles originate from consoles that existed long before Xbox was a console. Sonic Fighters was an arcade exclusive in 1995, while NIGHTS is a SEGA Saturn title, released in 1996.

The prospect of being able to buy these, right now, and load them up on your Xbox Series S is nothing short of impressive. It's a testament to how seriously Microsoft takes game preservation, thanks to its backwards compatibility efforts.

It's still strange to us that a rival company like Sony has no intention of making previous titles available on the PS5. Even Nintendo has a service available on the Switch, and while its had polarizing opinions, playing Mario Kart 64 online on the Switch Online Expansion Pass is still impressive to see.

Right now, titles like Ridge Racer, Metal Gear Solid 4, Tekken 3, Tomb Raider II are becoming harder to access in 2021, and this needs to be addressed by Sony. Goodwill is a big pillar in gaming, so to honor those nostalgic wishes by so many, even if it doesn't add to Sony's yearly revenue in a meaningful way, would go a long way for its customers.

For now, however, if you want to relive some of the games of your past, the Xbox Series S is an ideal choice for that, especially with Game Pass in the mix.

Daryl Baxter
Daryl Baxter

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app or one that's about to launch, drop him a line.