In the case of “FTC v. Microsoft,” the most extensive leak in Xbox history occurred, unveiling Microsoft’s roadmap for the next decade. It’s no secret that Microsoft has big plans for Xbox, but now we have a clearer picture of just how ambitious these plans are, thanks to the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Activision Blizzard and Microsoft
In January 2022, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire game developer Activision Blizzard for nearly 70 billion. The Microsoft-Activision deal has progressed slowly, with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) still reviewing the acquisition. Internal Microsoft documents were released during this process, outlining a comprehensive roadmap.
New Xbox Series X and Controller
Several upcoming consoles from Microsoft were revealed during the trial. A new version of the Xbox Series X, set to launch next year, was showcased. Although it remains a Series X, it is expected to bring several functional and aesthetic innovations.
Features of the New Xbox Series X
- No Disc Drive: Similar to the smaller Series S.
- USB-C Port: For enhanced connectivity.
- 2 Terabyte Storage: Along with other minor hardware upgrades.
A new controller, codenamed “Sebile,” will debut next year, featuring various technical upgrades and a fresh design. Some listed features include:
- New Motors: For more precise haptic feedback.
- Simulated Speakers: For an immersive experience.
- Rechargeable and Swappable Batteries: For extended playtime.
- Modular Thumbsticks: For a customizable feel.
- Lift to Wake Feature: Activates the controller upon lifting.
Cloud Gaming and the Next Xbox Generation
Microsoft has been investing in cloud gaming for some time, and with the next console generation, this project is expected to come to fruition. The documents mention a “Cloud Hybrid Console,” representing the complete integration of cloud and physical gaming.
Cloud-Generation Launching in 2028
- Hybrid Gaming Platform: Utilizing the combined power of client and cloud.
- Deeper Immersion: Enabling entirely new types of gaming experiences.
Further technical details about the new console generation remain undisclosed, but the Next-Gen console is scheduled to launch in 2028. By then, we can also anticipate more affordable streaming devices and possibly a handheld console.
Microsoft’s Emphasis on Cloud Gaming
Microsoft’s ultimate vision appears to be the complete replacement of the physical console. In a leaked roadmap, the new controller is referred to as the “Hero Product,” intended to be the only necessary equipment for gaming.
Is Nintendo Next in Line for Xbox?
Numerous internal emails and memos were leaked during the review process, including an intriguing email from Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Gaming, about another planned acquisition. After Bethesda, and potentially soon Activision, the corporation seems to have set its sights on a new target: Nintendo.
We've seen the conversation around old emails and documents. It is hard to see our team's work shared in this way because so much has changed and there's so much to be excited about right now, and in the future. We will share the real plans when we are ready.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) September 19, 2023
The magnitude of the inadvertently disclosed information about Xbox seems boundless, encompassing planned technical advancements, unannounced games, internal discussions about the PS5 launch, and much more. It remains to be seen how many of these “leaks” will prove true in the future.