I've wiped out a group of thugs using a man dressed in nothing but a diaper in Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Sometime later I've solved puzzles as a small stick figure walking through signage in The Pedestrian. Then I jumped into a mysterious world full of secrets to uncover as an adorable and adventurous little fox in Tunic. All in the space of a month. All on the Xbox Series S that cost me £50.
You might argue that the Xbox Series S – Microsoft's diminutive companion console to the colossus that is the Xbox Series X – is not wholly responsible for this gaming odyssey I've been on over the last 30 days. Instead, it's Game Pass. And while, yes, it's true all of these games are available through Microsoft's impressive gaming subscription service, it's the Xbox Series S that has enabled me to play them all so easily, so efficiently and so cheaply.
You see, previously I had an Xbox One X. In fairness, it wasn't a console that I used much but it did sit there under the TV as an option for when I wanted to dip into a Game Pass title. But, it was beginning to show its age: taking forever to boot up, forever to load games and failing to spark any joy.
Enter UK retailer Game which, not long after the Xbox Series S launched, ran a short-lived trade-in promotion that meant you could get the brand new console for as little as £39.99. Wait, really?
Out with the old and in with the new
Almost immediately I weighed up the option of continuing to play games in 4K using my older Xbox One X or accepting the slight drop in graphical quality in favour of a newer Xbox Series S. Aside from getting a much smaller console, the main benefits included an SSD that would load games faster and the fantastic quick resume feature. This is what allows you to suspend games in the background so you can swap between them at will and immediately jump back into the action at a later time. Basically, it's a huge quality of life feature and a massive timesaver for someone like me who has a pile of games on the go at once.
As you've probably guessed from the whole idea of this piece, the Xbox Series S won out – and I do not regret the decision in the slightest. The minor decrease in graphical fidelity has not affected me and neither has the smaller hard drive. Plus, that trio of games up top is just a small snapshot of every weird, terrific and fascinating game I've played since owning the console.
I have about two dozen more of the best Game Pass games installed right now waiting for me to work through them after I finally beat Elden Ring. And I know that more are coming all the time, including loads of first-party Microsoft titles, eye-catching indies I might not otherwise try and many major releases. A good number of these are available from day one of release, too.
Dust off your old console - it's worth something
So, what's this all leading to. Well, that trade-in offer at Game is now back. And while the price you might pay for an Xbox Series S depending on the console you part with is slightly higher this time around, it still represents some terrific value for money. Even now, you can hand over an Xbox One X and get the Series S for just £74.99. Give up your dated One S and it's still only £99.99 - that's £150 off the usual price.
Pair that with a Game Pass subscription, which will cost £1 for your first month (opens in new tab) and then £7.99 thereafter, and you've got so much constantly growing gaming entertainment right there for about the price of two brand new AAA games.
And while this is UK-focused, something similar is available in other countries, too. Take GameStop (opens in new tab) in the US, which will give you anywhere from $150 - $220 for your current PS4 and Xbox One consoles so you can get a similar discount on the Xbox Series S. Game Pass is also $1 for your first month (opens in new tab) and then just $9.99 after that. It's often a lot cheaper if you grab one of the regular Game Pass deals we see across the web.
I think the value is unbeatable for those looking to get into current-gen gaming, especially during a time when we're all being forced to make tough choices about the money we have to spend on subscription services.
It's still a luxury, sure, but one that's far easier to justify compared to the $450 / £450 minimum that you'd have to spend to get an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. And you've also got to be lucky enough to be online during the next PS5 restock as it's still difficult to find the console available to buy.
So, I encourage you, dig out that old console you're no longer playing and consider the upgrade to an Xbox Series S. It's one of the easiest, most diverse and most affordable ways to enjoy video games right now. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if my battle rifle skills still hold up in Halo Infinite, or perhaps I'm playing through the Mass Effect Trilogy again, or do I want to find out what Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is all about?