As someone who loves to travel, New York City is probably my favorite place on this spinning globe. But while I may love Brooklyn, I definitely harbor far less fuzzy feelings for Xbox Series X’s now all but confirmed successor, ‘Brooklin.'
The next Xbox was leaked through filed documents during the ongoing FTC lawsuit regarding Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Not only were images of this newly svelte Series X accidentally leaked to the public, the successor to the Xbox Series S also got a premature unveiling in the form of ‘Project Ellewood.' Both are set to launch in 2024, if the filings are accurate.
Personally, I’ve got no problem with the latter console’s refresh. It keeps the current model’s consumer-friendly $299 price tag, while doubling the internal storage capacity of the launch console in the form of a new 1TB SSD. Not a bad deal at all. On paper, it’s also friendlier to the environment, thanks to a new low-power standby mode that runs at just 20% of the output of the current Xbox Series S.
So thumbs up Ellewood… or Xbox Series S 2.0… or whatever Microsoft may end up calling its budget-conscious console refresh.
I’m flipping those same thumbs all the way down when it comes to Brooklin, though. While I appreciate it’s a more energy efficient version of the high-end Xbox we currently have — the PSU is 15% less power-hungry — I just can’t stomach it losing the disc drive of the OG model.
Recently, I wrote about how Xbox Series X is an excellent 4K Blu-ray player. As someone who still values both UHD movies and regular 1080p discs, a refreshed Series X losing a component I really value without offering any significant hardware upgrades is a tough pill to swallow.
And make no mistake, this is not an ‘Xbox One S evolves into Xbox One X’ Pokemon-style situation. Pikachu isn’t being transformed into a more powerful, console-shaped Raichu here. Aside from improved wireless connectivity in the form of Wi-Fi 6E and 2TB of storage, the refreshed Xbox Series X doesn’t look like it will provide a single meaningful hardware upgrade.
If (but most certainly when), the much-rumored PS5 Pro comes along, it should theoretically wipe the floor with Brooklin. This is a machine tipsters suggest could be a 4K ray tracing powerhouse, and a console with a significantly upgraded GPU and RAM that might even make 8K gaming on Sony’s refreshed PS5 possible.
The PS5 Pro release date is rumored to be November 2024, and in a welcome gesture that shows Sony isn’t willing to totally ditch physical games, there are suggestions the upgraded console will launch alongside a rejigged standard PS5 that will include a detachable disc drive.
I’ll admit my collection of physical Xbox discs is on the sparse side. Currently, the only two I have knocking around my flat are slightly tattered copies of Mirror’s Edge and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Working on a former Xbox magazine, I’ve been lucky enough to amass a huge digital library that I paid diddly squat for, so I can’t exactly claim to be a gatekeeper of physical game editions.
Yet I absolutely do want current and past Xbox gamers to still be able to savor, say, their old Xbox 360 discs. Ultimately, I believe physical copies have a significant part to play in the role of game preservation going forward. After all, you never know when a digital storefront could be pulled out of the blue.
Speaking of, Microsoft is shuttering the Xbox 360 Store and Xbox 360 Marketplace in July 2024, so I’d advise you keep hold of gems like the original Crackdown and Mirror’s Edge, both of which can be played in 4K thanks to free Ultra HD patches by sticking their discs into either an Xbox One X or Series X. On that front, Microsoft’s commitment to digital backwards compatibility is at least commendable.
As someone with a colossal Blu-ray collection, I fully intend to keep using my Xbox Series X as an excellent movie player for years to come… even if I’ll probably only be firing up the console to play actual games on the odd occasion. Although my fridge-shaped console is very much looking forward to Forza Motorsport 8.
In an era of Xbox Game Pass, where the model around games ownership has completely changed (another issue I’m somewhat uncomfortable with), the days of Xbox discs are clearly cooked.
For all you games collectors out there who take pride in amassing shelves upon shelves of classic boxed titles, the future looks bleak. You have my sympathies.
Although I’m ashamed to admit, I really do dig that cylindrical design of the refreshed Xbox Series X.
Stupid, sexy Brooklin.