If you thought we’d exhausted all the secrets of the Xbox universe after this summer’s Federal Trade Commission-Microsoft trial, think again. A colossal leak of court documents has unveiled a treasure trove of information about the inner workings of the Microsoft Gaming division, shedding light on both recent developments and future plans. One standout revelation? A major Xbox Series X refresh slated for the coming year.
The “Brooklin” Refresh
In the realm of gaming consoles, companies like Sony and Microsoft have become known for releasing updated hardware midway through a console’s life cycle. We’ve heard rumors galore about these updates in the past, but this leak takes the cake in terms of magnitude and authenticity.
Enter “Brooklin,” the codename for this refreshed Series X. This upgraded console is set to boast a doubled internal storage capacity at a whopping 2TB, reduced power consumption, cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, and a slew of other technological advancements—all detailed in the leaked documents. But the real kicker? It’s ditching the traditional disc drive.
Now, the omission of a disc drive is a significant move, and it raises intriguing questions about the future of physical game discs. Will there be an external disc drive available, similar to what’s rumored for a PlayStation 5 refresh? This shift could mark a significant milestone for Xbox, as it sets its sights on a disc-less future, and it’s all coming at the same $499 price point as the current console.
A Refreshed Controller: “Sebile”
Not stopping at the console, Microsoft has big plans for the controller too. Codenamed “Sebile,” this peripheral promises “precision haptic feedback” (a nod, perhaps, to Sony’s acclaimed DualSense controller), quieter inputs, and modular thumbsticks, akin to premium controllers. With support for “seamless” pairing and switching between devices through new mobile app features, it’s clear Microsoft is taking the gaming experience to the next level.
But what really piqued our interest was the mention of a “direct-to-cloud” feature. This hints at Microsoft’s intention to minimize input latency for cloud-streamed games—a move that echoes Google’s attempt with the ill-fated Stadia Controller.
“Sebile” is expected to hit the market in May, with the new Series X and Series S refresh likely to be announced in June, quite possibly at the annual summer showcase. The Series S refresh, priced at $299, is anticipated to become available around August or September 2024, followed closely by the beefed-up Series X. And let’s not forget a potential Black Friday 2024 deal, with a slide teasing a $199 offer for the current Series S.
Looking Beyond: The 2028 “Cloud-Hybrid” Xbox
We might not even be halfway through the current console generation, but Microsoft is already peering into the future. The next-gen Xbox, slated for a 2028 release, is expected to embrace “cloud hybrid games.” While details are scarce, it’s clear that Microsoft has been gearing up for this shift, especially with its foray into cloud gaming and real-time cloud data in titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator.
However, there’s a potential catch: certain games might require an always-online connection, which could be problematic for gamers in regions with poor internet access. This raises questions about the digital divide and how it might impact the gaming experience.
Phil Spencer’s Wild Dream: Buying Nintendo
In a moment of whimsy, Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, expressed an ambitious desire: to acquire Nintendo. In an internal email from 2020 discussing acquisition targets, Spencer saw Nintendo as a white whale for Microsoft. While this dream is certainly appealing, the reality is far more complex, considering the regulatory hurdles and international sensitivities involved. Still, it’s amusing to imagine such a colossal gaming conglomerate.
Glimpses of Upcoming Games
Of course, the leak wouldn’t be complete without a sneak peek into upcoming games. The documents suggest new entries in beloved franchises, including Doom and Dishonored. The return of Arkane to Dishonored is particularly noteworthy, following their recent Redfall venture.
And there’s more—a Fallout 3 Remaster, Oblivion Remaster, and a sequel to Ghostwire: Tokyo are all mentioned. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that these plans date back to fiscal years 2020 through 2024, and the gaming landscape can change rapidly, especially considering Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda.
The Leak’s Impact
Timing is everything, and this leak couldn’t have come at a worse time for Microsoft, with the critical holiday season looming. Starfield, once pinned as a must-have game, is no longer a sure bet, potentially affecting console and Game Pass sales in the coming months. Additionally, the revelation of a Series X refresh in the pipeline might deter potential buyers.
As the FTC continues its lawsuit against the Microsoft-Activision deal, it’s important to note that they claim innocence in this leak, attributing the error to Microsoft. Regardless of how it happened, one thing is clear: this leak has thrown the gaming world into a frenzy, leaving us all eagerly anticipating the future of Xbox.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Xbox Leak
What is the codename for the refreshed Xbox Series X mentioned in the leak?
The codename for the refreshed Xbox Series X is “Brooklin.” It’s set to feature various improvements, including increased internal storage and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity.
What significant change is Microsoft planning for the refreshed Series X?
Microsoft is planning to remove the disc drive from the refreshed Series X. While it’s not confirmed if an external disc drive will be available, this move hints at a potential shift away from physical game discs.
Tell me more about the upcoming Xbox controller mentioned in the leak.
The upcoming Xbox controller, codenamed “Sebile,” promises “precision haptic feedback,” quieter inputs, and modular thumbsticks. It’s designed to enhance the gaming experience and support seamless device pairing.
What is the “direct-to-cloud” feature mentioned in the leak?
The “direct-to-cloud” feature suggests that Microsoft is focusing on reducing input latency for games streamed from the cloud, similar to what Google attempted with the Stadia Controller.
When can we expect these new Xbox products to be released?
“Sebile,” the updated Xbox controller, is slated for release in May. Microsoft is expected to announce the refreshed Series X (and a Series S refresh) in June, with availability around August or September 2024.
What can you tell us about Microsoft’s future plans for Xbox, particularly in 2028?
In 2028, Microsoft plans to release a next-generation Xbox that is expected to support “cloud hybrid games.” However, details are limited, and it’s uncertain how this might impact gamers with limited internet access.
Is there any truth to the rumor that Microsoft might acquire Nintendo?
While it’s an intriguing idea, it’s highly unlikely that Microsoft will acquire Nintendo due to regulatory challenges and international sensitivities. It’s more of a wishful thought mentioned in an internal email by Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
What upcoming games were mentioned in the leaked documents?
The leak hinted at new Doom and Dishonored games in development. There were also mentions of a Fallout 3 Remaster, Oblivion Remaster, and a sequel to Ghostwire: Tokyo. However, these plans were outlined for fiscal years 2020 through 2024, and game development is subject to change.
How has this leak impacted Microsoft and the gaming industry?
The leak has created significant buzz in the gaming world, particularly impacting Microsoft’s plans for the critical holiday season. It raises questions about the future of Xbox, potential game releases, and the impact on console sales.