At E3 2018, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer teased that the next-generation of Xbox was on the horizon, and since then, fans have been buzzing about what the next Xbox will entail. Microsoft has remained tight-lipped since Phil Spencer’s initial tease, but as the current console generation nears its conclusion, we’re undoubtedly inching closer to a proper reveal of the next Xbox.
In the meantime, there have been some reports, rumors, and speculation that may give fans an idea of what to expect from the next Xbox. None of it has been confirmed or denied by Microsoft at the time of this writing, but it will be interesting to see if there is any truth to any of the claims once the console is finally unveiled to the public.
1. Multiple Versions of the Console
One of the more intriguing rumors about the next Xbox claims that it won’t be a single console. Reports have claimed that Microsoft is prepping at least two, and possibly even three, versions of the next Xbox. One will reportedly be a cheaper, streaming-only device, whereas another will be the standard console. The third, presumably, would be a high-end machine similar to the Xbox One X. There are three codenames for the next Xbox project floating around – Anaconda, Lockhart, and Scarlet – so it does seem likely that Microsoft will be releasing more than one console next-generation.
2. 2020 Release Date
A report, based on information from the same sources within Microsoft that also leaked the aforementioned codenames, has claimed that Microsoft is aiming to launch its new line of Xbox consoles in 2020. The Xbox One will be seven years old in 2020, so 2020 does seem like the appropriate time for the next-generation to officially kick off. And while that may seem far off, fans may very well get their first look at the console in 2019 to help tide them over.
3. AMD Architecture
We know that the next Xbox is set to be yet another significant leap forward in terms of power like any other console generation transition, but the question still remains what exactly will be powering the device. Some reports have suggested that the next Xbox will use a custom AMD chip, but beyond that we aren’t quite sure what will be under the hood. Fans can count on it being more powerful than the Xbox One X, though it remains to be seen if it will be able to match the PS5 in terms of power.
4. Netflix for Games-Style Service
One thing many analysts agree on about the next generation of video game consoles is that a “Netflix for Games”-style service will be introduced. Microsoft, in particular, appears to be pursuing game streaming aggressively, with Project xCloud looking to make it possible to stream games to PC and mobile devices, along with Xbox consoles. If pulled off successfully, Project xCloud could be an absolute game changer, and one has to imagine it will be a key feature for the next Xbox.
Not to mention Microsoft has already been pushing a Netflix for Games-style service with its Game Pass program. While it doesn’t provide video game streaming, Game Pass does allow Xbox One owners to download over 100 games for a monthly fee. It’s easy to see how Microsoft’s work with Game Pass on the Xbox One could evolve to include game streaming with the next-generation Xbox.
5. Virtual Reality
So far, Microsoft has largely stayed out of the virtual reality market, especially when it comes to its video game consoles. However, there is evidence to suggest that virtual reality was planned for the Xbox One X at one point, and considering how the tech has started to pick up some steam, it seems likely that the next Xbox will have virtual reality support of its own. It’s possible Microsoft will develop its own virtual reality headset specifically for the next Xbox, though a partnership with Oculus to bring the Oculus Rift to Xbox is also in the cards, considering the two companies’ established relationship.
6. More Exclusive Games
One criticism routinely aimed at the Xbox One is its general lack of console exclusives compared to the competition. Microsoft will be looking to remedy its image in that regard with the next Xbox, and has already taken significant steps toward doing so. Microsoft has been on a spree of purchasing studios, including the likes of Obsidian Entertainment and Playground Games, the latter of which is rumored to be working on a new Fable game. It may be too late for Microsoft’s recent studio acquisitions to produce any console exclusives for the Xbox One, but fans can expect their projects to hit the next Xbox and bolster its library of exclusive games.
With a likely 2020 release date for the next Xbox, fans should be able to expect a proper reveal for the console in 2019 or early next year. Microsoft has teased that it has big plans for E3 this year, especially with Sony skipping the event, and it’s not out of the question that we will get our first glimpse at the next Xbox this summer.
Whenever Microsoft does decide to pull the curtain back on the next Xbox, fans should learn whether there was any truth to the rumors and speculation about the next-generation console (or, if the rumors are to be believed, consoles).