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We tend to think about the Series S from a Western World perspective of people who could afford either a Series S or X, or even a Series S and a PS5.

But that's not most of the world.  Phil Spencer has suggested that the Series X will sell better at first, but that Series S will sell better in the long-run.  It seems that Microsoft's long-term play is selling a tonne of Series S units and Game Pass subscriptions in parts of the world where incomes are lower (India especially), and/or places where import fees on gaming are very high (Brazil comes to mind).  For example:

Brazil is around 214 million consumers.

India is coming up on 1.4 billion consumers.

And that's just two countries, out of hundreds.

There are Asian, African, and additional South American markets where there is huge potential for the Series S to do well, and since Microsoft is only now getting Series S supply to match demand across developed nations they only now have the luxury of turning their attention to emerging markets.  And Microsoft is (they recently launched an 8 months of free Game Pass promotion in India, for example... yes, due to a regulation change there, but their reaction was swift and decisive and to the consumer's benefit, when there were other ways they could have responded to that regulatory change that would have been less to the consumer's benefit, and done less to promote Game Pass and the Series S).

Series S could fail miserably in North America, Japan, Oceania, and Europe, and still go on outsell both the Series X and the PS5 by the end of this generation, if Microsoft's goal of engaging with non-traditional console gamers in emerging markets is successful.

And in addition to the lower price being important, the smaller size of the Series S is too. The Series X, and especially the PS5, being larger is a bad thing in emerging markets where living spaces are often more compact.  And Game Pass is definitely a huge selling point in places where a $60-70 game would be weeks worth of income.

And 4K/120 Hz/HDMI 2.1 TVs are far from the norm in emerging markets, so the Series S is more than powerful enough to get the most out of the TVs it'll typically be paired with in these territories.

And many of these emerging markets have traditionally been rife with piracy (Brazil at a minimum has struggled with this, with bootleg games sometimes even SOLD IN STORES there), so developers will benefit from the subscription model catching on in emerging markets. A developer does better from getting their share of the subscription revenue, than getting nothing from a pirated copy of something.

So expect to see Series S sales keep creeping up, and being the surprise sales success among dedicated home consoles by the end of the this generation.

Last edited by scrapking - on 07 December 2021