With the next generation of game consoles on the horizon, Microsoft has made the rather surprising decision to discontinue production on the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S All Digital Edition. Obviously, we expect to see platform holders discontinue their older consoles – even the PlayStation 2, which is the best-selling console of all time, was discontinued at some point – but what’s surprising here is that Microsoft is discontinuing these platforms before the next generation even begins.
“As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we’re taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition,” Microsoft said in a statement to The Verge today. Of course, this isn’t the end of the Xbox One line, as Microsoft says that it will continue to produce and sell the Xbox One S, its mainline game console following the discontinuation of the original Xbox One.
At The Verge notes, Microsoft’s decision to discontinue these consoles comes after a period of gaming hardware shortages in general. Consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have all been difficult to find during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only thanks to the fact that production was halted for a period of time, but also because demand increased as people were stuck at home to prevent the spread of the virus.
In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic could be partially to blame for Microsoft’s decision here. As NPD Group’s Mat Piscatella points out in the tweet you see above, the increased demand we saw at the beginning of March led to a number of consoles selling out, and with the next generation looming, Microsoft figured it was better to leave consoles like the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition sold out as it focuses on what’s coming up.
So, it sounds like this was a decision Microsoft was planning to make in the not-too-distant future, but it was ultimately prompted to make it sooner than expected because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft says that gamers looking to buy an Xbox One X or Xbox One S All-Digital Edition may have some luck checking with local retailers in the coming weeks and months, but it’s probably best to assume that available stock won’t be around for much longer.