Microsoft is developing the next-generation Xbox – and it’s making more than one
For a glorious few hours, it seemed as though Microsoft was planning to unveil the Xbox Two at Gamescom this August. In a blog post written on Xbox spokesperson Major Nelson’ website, it was revealed that Microsoft would be showing off “all-new Xbox hardware” during its Inside Xbox conference. This statement obviously set the gaming community ablaze with speculation that the Xbox Two consoles, first announced at E3 2018, would be seen much earlier than originally expected.
Alas, it was not to be! Later on the same day, the blog post was updated; the phrase “all-new Xbox hardware” was replaced by “new Xbox One bundles and accessories”, which swiftly put our hopes, of a next-gen Xbox reveal at Gamescom to bed. Now that we have some clarification from Microsoft, we can turn our attention to what this new hardware could be. Most likely, it’s going to be an update to Microsoft’s Xbox One Elite controller, news of which was leaked on the Chine website Baidu – although that post has since been deleted.
Read on to find out everything we know – and hope for – so far about the next Xbox console, which we’re tentatively calling the Xbox Two.
Xbox Two release: Everything we know so far
During Microsoft’s E3 2018 conference in June, the tech giant revealed it is well into the process of making a new Xbox. Phil Spencer, executive president of Gaming at Microsoft, said his team is already “deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles”. Consoles. Plural. Well, we didn’t expect that. Instead of releasing a lone base console, followed up by a more powerful “X” edition and a smaller, cheaper “S” edition – a la the Xbox One – Microsoft could be planning to unleash them all at once. But we’ll probably have to wait a couple of years to get our hands on them.
According to tried and trusted Microsoft insider website Thurrott, Microsoft has a number of next-gen devices in development, all under the codename Scarlett. The website reports that, alongside a traditional console, there will be another device codenamed Scarlett Cloud – a lower-powered device designed for game streaming. Thurrott notes that all Scarlett games will run on both consoles, meaning that to lower-powered Cloud won’t be a ‘second-class citizen’ of sorts. A previous report from the website names a 2020 release date as likely – possibly beating Sony’s PS5 to market.
The Xbox Two, as it has been unofficially named, will be the follow up to Microsoft’s Xbox One range, the most recent of which is the Xbox One X. Having launched in 2013, eight years after the Xbox 360, the Xbox One has seemingly run its course. Complete with two spin-off consoles, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, another Xbox console was always an inevitability. That’s now a reality as Microsoft has confirmed multiple new consoles at E3 2018 but, we still want to know what they’ll be capable of.
For starters, it’s likely they will be backwards compatible with the current generation of Xbox One games. In addition, there’s a strong possibility that Microsoft will also enable backwards compatibility for all of the Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles which are currently playable on Xbox One, resulting in a huge back catalogue of games stretching back 15 years. As Microsoft itself has said, this could be the “Netflix of video games” – according to Forbes, at least.
One feature many Xbox gamers have been expecting is Virtual Reality gaming. Alas, it appears that their dream is not to be. In an exclusive interview with gamesindustry.biz at E3, Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer at Microsoft, stated that the company had no “plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality”.
This news will come as a disappointment to many, and it is indeed a surprise, given that Microsoft’s competitor Sony is already well ahead with PlayStation VR, launched back in 2016.
Xbox Two release: When will it come out?
We are reliably informed by Microsoft insider site Thurrott that multiple Xbox Two consoles will be released in 2020. Two years is not that long to wait for a brand new console, let alone more than one, especially considering that the Xbox One X was only released in November of 2017.
Of course, plans can be derailed and launches can be delayed, so don’t assume that everything is set in stone. If everything goes to plan, though, we expect to see the Xbox Two consoles (or whatever Microsoft ends up calling them) launched towards the end of 2020. In keeping with previous console releases, we imagine Microsoft is aiming for a late November launch, just in time for Christmas 2020.
Xbox Two release: What can we expect?
So far there are no details about what the Xbox Two consoles will look like, and limited information about what it will do. We do know that it will have backwards compatibility for Xbox One titles and that it will lack the VR features that Sony is likely doubling down on for the PS5. As for games, there has been no word so far, though Microsoft will, of course, retain its ownership of exclusive franchise titles, such as Halo and Gears of War.
At this point the specifications of the next generation Xbox Consoles are totally unknown – save for one being a game-streaming device – we can only speculate here, but they will obviously be more powerful than anything we’ve seen from an Xbox console so far. Game developers will have considerably more computing power to play around with, which means bigger worlds with greater detail. Given that the Xbox One X already has 4K and HDR, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft improves on graphics capabilities with the Xbox Two.
Microsoft will certainly be continuing its Games with Gold promotion each month, as well as its hugely profitable Games Pass subscription service. As it moves onto the next generation, bigger Triple-A Xbox One titles will probably become available through the Games with Gold scheme, allowing Xbox Two owners to play the best Xbox One titles for free when they can’t afford to buy a new Xbox Two game – which will probably be retailing for between £50 and £60 each.
Xbox Two release: How much will the Xbox Two cost?
Microsoft’s most recent console, the Xbox One X, launched at the hefty price of £450, and we’d eat our Xbox wireless headsets if the Xbox Two was any less. We estimate that the Xbox Two will cost £500 at a minimum but, as there are multiple devices planned under the Scarlett codename, there will probably be an even more expensive console landing too; £600 wouldn’t come as a surprise for the top end Xbox Two.
We will update this article as and when more news comes in. For now, you might as well make the most of what the current Microsoft console has to offer. Check out our list of the best Xbox One games in 2018, and kill some time until November 2020.