Microsoft and Sony have been competing head-to-head in trying to one-up each other when it comes to value bundles. Microsoft has been mixing and matching all different kinds of bundles together in order to outpace the PS4 on the monthly NPD charts, and they now have a new bundle that they've thrown into the mix.
Now this might seem kind of confusing, because the first thing most people might say is "How is a $299 bundle an answer to a $249 bundle?" Well, the devil is in the details. The $299 bundle from Microsoft may appear to be expensive at first, but it comes with a brand new game and it includes a 1TB hard drive as opposed to the 500GB hard drive in the $249 bundles. So you're getting double the space and a brand new game for $50 more.
The 1TB Xbox One S Halo Wars 2 bundle arrives to sit alongside two other bundles that Microsoft have been for lately, including the Battlefield 1 bundle that clocks in at $249 and the Minecraft bundle, which also costs $249. The other two bundles come with an Xbox One S that only has 500GB, so you're getting half the amount of storage space for a slightly cheaper price.
For some people this may not be that much of a big deal. 500GB is fine if you're a casual Xbox One player, because you won't need a whole lot of space if you're just planning on using it for things like media playback, DLNA support, network sharing or some light weekend multiplayer gaming. However, if you have an extensive library of titles you would like to buy or plenty of carryover games from your Xbox 360 back catalog, then 500GB can get zapped really quick.
The $299 proposition with Halo Wars 2 packed in with the Xbox One S is supposedly only going to be available for a limited amount of time. Microsoft has been saying this a lot with their $249 bundles, but usually what that means is that the bundle is available with that specific game for a limited amount of time and then they switch it up and keep the Xbox One S at $249 with a different game bundled in.
Microsoft has been smartly alternating between the different bundles, giving a wide swathe of gamers different opportunities to pick up an Xbox console with a game from a wildly different genre, as indicated with their inclusion of games like Halo Wars 2, Minecraft and Battlefield 1 into the fold. Each game targets a different demographic, such as the strategy game market, the family and children market, and the hardcore first-person market.
This new limited time bundle will also have to help Microsoft stave off potential cannibalization of the console market with the release of the Nintendo Switch on March 3rd, which is something that we absolutely cannot discount from the conversation. At $299 the Nintendo Switch will be equally priced with the $299 Halo Wars 2 Xbox One S bundle, so we'll see if Microsoft can maintain their momentum in the face of Sony getting competitive with the $249 PS4 bundles and Nintendo prepping to take both the mobile and home console market by storm with the Nintendo Switch.