Although the Black Friday shopping phenomenon was born in the US, it’s now well and truly arrived in Australia along with all the excellent savings and discount prices that come with it.
In the lead up to Christmas, these sales are an excellent opportunity to get all your gift shopping out of the way, or to treat yourself to that console you’ve been wanting. If you’re after the best price on an Xbox One console, this is definitely a good time to be looking.
With the Xbox One X only just being released, there’s every chance that even Microsoft’s latest will get the Black Friday treatment – so keep an eye out for price drops on the world’s most powerful gaming console.
So what’s the best way to approach this – should you go straight for a discounted console or keep your eyes peeled for bundles? What should you steer clear of? We’re here to walk you through the essentials when shopping for an Xbox One this Black Friday.
Things to remember
No matter which model of Xbox One you order, you won’t be disappointed by the gaming and media powerhouse that shows up at your door. That said, there are certainly differences between the models, especially the latest Xbox One X beast of a system. And while a bundle might seem like excellent value, it’s easy to be deceived in the heat of a sale frenzy.
Decide early on what you’re actually after – set your price boundaries and assess your media and gaming needs, and hopefully you won’t be overwhelmed by a sneakily expensive deal, which brings us to our first point…
Which Xbox One should you buy?
Hold up! Before you take another step, take a look at our reviews for the original Xbox One and the Xbox One S, and our hands-on with the Xbox One X. These will fill you in on some vital basics as well as offer a deep dive into the feature sets of each.
There are three Xbox consoles on the market at the moment, and while the original has been essentially superseded by the Xbox One S, you’ve still got to make the call on which on you’re after.
For the sake of brevity, here’s a quick comparison between these models:
The original Xbox One is larger and older, but is more likely to be cheaper than its brethren. It’ll run all the same games as the other two, but it’s fixed at a max resolution output of 1080p. Although it’s been dropped by Microsoft, you could score the Kinect motion camera thrown into a bundle, depending on the age of the stock on sale.
Taking over the original’s flagship throne is the One S – a slick, slimline revision of that console, and a far more attractive machine. It sports a 4K Blu-ray player, 4K media and streaming apps, and 4K upscaling for some games, making it a more future-proofed console compared to the original machine.
Last but certainly not least is the console with the most – the Xbox One X. It’s a brand new machine and has launched just in time for Black Friday, so price cuts aren’t likely to be as extreme and the bundles not as generous as with the other systems. But if you’re after a true, native 4K gaming experience, with all the features of the above versions plus extra graphical grunt, then this is your weapon of choice.
4K vs your wallet
How badly you want to play your games and watch your shows in 4K is going to have to battle it out with your budget. If you’re currently sitting pretty with a 1080p display and aren’t all that keen to upgrade any time soon, then the original Xbox One could very well do the trick.
However, there’s every chance that the Xbox One S will see more impressive discounts this Black Friday anyway, so you could even end up future-proofing yourself for less. In the realm of displays 4K is becoming the new super-sharp standard, so we recommend going for a One S at minimum unless there are some serious savings on the original model.
As for the Xbox One X, the current price difference is a pretty big deterrent to jumping on the world’s most powerful console, but as time rolls on we’re likely to see developers making better use of the extra grunt that this unit houses, allowing their games some extra prettiness over the Xbox One S version.
If you fancy a different flavour of 4K gaming, Sony’s PS4 Pro is well worth checking out too. It’s Sony’s closest answer to the Xbox One X and, being quite a bit older, could well be hitting some very tempting prices indeed come Black Friday.
Beware the bad bundle
Now, despite that heading, there’s no such thing as a “bad” bundle, providing you personally like what you’re getting for the price you’re being offered it. Something is only worth what you’re willing to pay for it, of course.
But you’ll find some tricksy retailers pulling together older games into bundles where you might find bigger savings buying the component parts separately, or from second hand resellers if the game is of a particular vintage.
If you’re after the latest and greatest, think about sticking with the official bundles offered up by Microsoft. It tends to pack in the ‘system-seller’ titles that show off the consoles at their best, while third-party offers sometimes have more to do with unsold gaming stock than the actual quality of the titles on offer.
Current Xbox One S bundles include games like Minecraft, Forza Horizon 3 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
Hard drive size
Games these days are big, regularly counting many tens of gigabytes. But if you’re not careful, you could be landed with a console that only has a 500GB hard drive – the stock, lowest level that Microsoft puts out with its machines.
Now, it’s not as big a problem as it once was – external hard drives, provided they’re USB 3.0 compatible, can easily be paired with the Xbox One, working in a pretty-seamless plug-and-play way. But that’s a potential additional expense if you’ve not got a spare. So be aware that, unless you’re happy to juggle installed game files or have no qualms plugging in an external drive, you’re going to want to consider getting a machine with at least 1TB of installed hard drive space.
Our deal predictions
Unless you’re some sort of commerce soothsayer, there’s no dead-cert guarantee yet as to which specific deals will be on offer. But by the time Black Friday rolls around, we’d be floored if there weren’t some Xbox deals involved. Here are some of the Xbox One bundles we may see land during Black Friday 2017.
Xbox One S Forza Hot Wheels bundle
It’s quite popular to see the Xbox One S get bundled with Forza Horizon 3, one of the best racing games in recent memory. Not only that, but Microsoft also refreshed the original Forza bundle, adding the Hot Wheels expansion into the mix which adds over-the-top track and car thrills to the base game.
It’s insane, bringing the toys to life in a way your younger self could only have imagined. The purist gets Forza Horizon 3 too, so you don’t have to lose that air of realism if you prefer it that way.
The only stinger is that the Hot Wheels bundle comes with a 500GB hard drive, not a 1TB one. So keep that hard drive handy.
Xbox One S Shadow of War bundle
One does that simply walk into Best Buy and pick up an Xbox One bundle – unless one is a true Tolkien fan stoked by the latest in Hobbit-themed gaming. The newest Xbox One S bundle comes with Middle Earth: Shadow of War. This is a Lord of the Rings game that has picked up some pretty darn good reviews since its launch on 10 October.
However, as it’s not a quite as powerful a system sales driver as the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Origins, we expect to see plenty of stock available and ready for a sweet Black Friday deal. This bundle is available with both 500GB and 1TB capacity Xbox One S consoles, to make sure you know what you’re buying.
Xbox One X with three games
They wont come at rock-bottom prices, but we’ll probably see a few Xbox One X console-only deals floating around on Black Friday. However, for the most bang-for-buck, our money is on a bundle that has a few games attached. Right now these will have to be unofficial bundles as there are no official Xbox One X bundles being touted by Microsoft.
Bundles for the latest consoles tend to land a little later than launch, making the Black Friday window here not an unusually barren patch. And considering the Xbox One X is for hardcore gamers, many of whom will already own an older Xbox and some games, it’s even less surprising.
But Similar deals have been spotted on pre-orders at some retailers and, provided you’re not after brand-spanking new titles, this could be a great way for newcomers to jump on board with the Xbox brand. We’d anticipate a single flagship title, like Assassin’s Creed Origins, to be thrown in with a few older titles. Do the math, ensure there’s a healthy saving, and consider this your Xbox One X jumping on point.
Preowned Xbox One original bundle
If the bottom line price point is all that matters to you, keep an eye out for a pre-owned original Xbox One. As this version of the console was discontinued a year ago, we may not see many, if any, retailers selling the oldest of Microsoft’s current wave of machines. However, those that do will be dishing up the deepest price cuts – and you’ll still get a machine capable of playing all Xbox One titles, albeit without 4K-enhanced features.
Plus, if you don’t mind using a pre-owned machine, those savings could go even deeper. Just make sure that any retailer you pick it up from offers a sturdy warranty, just in case your pre-loved Xbox One has already lived a tough life elsewhere.