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Microsoft finally unveiled "Project Scorpio" at E3. The official name is Xbox One X, and it's coming to store shelves on November 7. You'll (theoretically) be able to snag one of these 4K-capable gaming rigs in time for the holiday season, but when can you expect to see actual deals?
Both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One hit store shelves in time for their respective Black Friday seasons. They were both released on November 22, in 2005 and 2013. This time, Microsoft is bringing the Xbox One X to consumers a little earlier. It'll be available on November 7, a couple of weeks before the chaos of Black Friday. That said, it's expected to sell out pretty fast.
Still, if you're adventurous (or missed the pre-order), you could try your luck during the big shopping season. Don't count on any jaw-dropping discounts, though.
If the Xbox One X follows the same trend as its predecessors, most packages and bundles are going to be list price... at first. For the Xbox One X, that probably means $499.99 bundled with minor extras at negligible discounts. When the Xbox One came out, early bundles included the console plus 12 months of Xbox Live Gold for $530. A 12-month Gold membership currently costs $60, but recall that Microsoft dropped the price of its Gold yearly membership to $40 in 2015. So buying those bundles didn't present any real money-saving opportunities back in the day.
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Day one deals aren't expected, but the Xbox One X is releasing earlier than previous consoles. That could leave the door open for Black Friday deals. However, any discounts that appear will offer few money-saving advantage, if any at all.
Official price cuts aren't likely to come until long after the console drops. The Xbox 360 didn't get an official price cut until August 2007, almost two years after the original release. A year later, in September 2008, there was another price cut on all existing models. After that, price cuts came after certain models were discontinued.
The Xbox One came initially retailed for $499 and included a Kinect sensor. In June 2014 a $399 model came out, sans the sensor. Official price cuts for the stock model came a year later in June 2015, when a new $399 1TB model hit the market.
In June 2016, the 500GB models went on sale. This move anticipated the launch of the Xbox One S, which came in August 2016. That promo ran from June to October of 2016, and offered the consoles at $279.
With this in mind, we expect to again see prices drop on the Xbox One in the coming months. It's possible there'll be discounts on the Xbox One S as well, although those might not be as noteworthy. After all, the Xbox One S hasn't been on shelves for even a year yet.
What kinds of discounts can we expect? The Xbox One hit shelves in 2013, and for several months leading up to it, the price of the Xbox 360 dipped. Prices fell below $200 for many console packages and bundles. Then, Microsoft dropped prices to $139 for its 4GB 360 about a week after the Xbox One was officially released. It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect corresponding drops for the Xbox One or Xbox One S.
We've seen Xbox One bundles from Microsoft at $200 recently. If past trends hold up, that could drop to around $140. The Xbox One S has been hovering around $250; if it follows the trend, it could fall below $200.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is the closest equivalent to the Xbox One X, and it hit shelves last November. By the time Microsoft's console is officially released, the PS4 Pro will have been out for a year. Even so, there's no guarantee we'll see any deals on it.
Its launch-day price was $399, and as of this writing, that hasn't officially changed. PS4 Pro is already cheaper than what the Xbox One X will be. Plus, it'll have a year's worth of reviews, patches, and released games that the Xbox One X won't. There's no incentive for Sony to drop the price. There's always a chance that a discount could happen for the holiday season, but that's likely to be short-lived (like that PS4 offer during E3).
The other big console this year is the Switch. Nintendo is notorious for rarely dropping prices, so don't expect a cheaper Switch anytime soon. And if we've learned anything from Nintendo, it's that their supply tends to run low. This trend is likely to continue throughout the year.
With supply issues being a consistent pain point with Nintendo hardware, waiting for a price drop could mean never actually owning it. Or worse, having to pay a ridiculous markup to buy it from a reseller. This begs the question: should you just buy the Xbox One X right away? Not necessarily. Even if supply is short to start with, Microsoft has never had the severe supply problems that plague Nintendo. If you miss out on the first wave of the Xbox One X, you're bound to the catch the next one.
If you can wait until after the holidays to snag an Xbox One X, you should. Waiting not only ensures that prices will go down (at least a bit), but also that any technical issues are sorted out.
The longer you can wait, the better. Microsoft tradition dictates that dramatic, permanent console price cuts usually don't happen until a year and a half after the official release.
Readers, are you planning to buy the Xbox One X? Have you preordered it, or will you wait until the holidays (or later) to see what kind of discounts can be found? Let us know in the comments below!