Microsoft’s Xbox is beating the PlayStation 5 this holiday season for 3 key reasons

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  • In November, the biggest sales month of the year for the video game business, Xbox beat PlayStation.
  • Unlike Sony’s PlayStation 5, Microsoft’s Xbox Series S is widely available to buy — and less expensive.
  • Microsoft is also making a strong argument with games like “Halo Infinite” and “Forza Horizon 5.”

The $300 Xbox Series S console just outsold Sony’s wildly popular PlayStation 5 during the critical holiday sales month of November.

There’s a good reason for that: You still can’t find a PlayStation 5 to buy at retail.

Demand for Sony’s PS5 certainly hasn’t slowed down, but it remains in low enough supply that it’s nearly impossible to buy more than a full year after it first launched.

“It’s all about stock,” NPD Group video game analyst Mat Piscatella said. “The console with the most units in market will lead the charts.”

Such is the case for the Xbox Series S, which is widely available in stores even as of this publishing. Everywhere from Amazon to Best Buy has the console in stock. While the more powerful, more expensive Xbox Series X model remains nearly as elusive as the PS5, the Series S is easy to find and purchase. 

That’s critical to Microsoft’s surprise success in November, the most important month of sales for the video game industry each year as Americans buy up game consoles and games to give as gifts. Going all the way back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the holiday season is the most critical time of year for video game companies.

Similar to Sony’s PlayStation 5, which comes in standard and digital versions, the Xbox Series X comes with a disc drive whereas the Series S is an “all digital” console, meaning that it doesn’t have a Blu-ray disc drive to play games. The only way to buy games is digitally, through the Xbox digital storefront, and they run off the console’s hard drive .

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series X, left, and Xbox Series S, right.
Microsoft

The Series S is significantly smaller than the $500 Xbox Series X, and is intended as the entry-level Xbox console. It plays the same games as its more powerful big brother, albeit slightly less well.

Paired with Microsoft’s wildly popular Game Pass subscription service, the Series S is one of the least expensive options for people who want access to some of the most popular modern games.

Notably, Microsoft has some of this holiday’s biggest games debuting on Game Pass: Both the long-awaited “Halo Infinite” and the highly-praised “Forza Horizon 5” are included as part of the game library on the popular subscription service.

Between the console being in stock, its comparatively low price, and the recent release of some long-awaited games, it’s clear why the Xbox Series S is beating out the PlayStation 5.

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