At E3 2018, Microsoft ignited the rumor mill by referencing the next generation of Xbox. Since then, rumors have heated up about the gaming giants next series of games machines, which are expected to arrive as soon as 2020.
Here are the big tidbits so far:
- At E3 2018, Microsoft confirmed that the next generation of Xbox is in development.
- The next Xbox may come in two variations: a standard, high-power console codenamed Anaconda, and a cheaper, cloud-based device that streams games from the internet currently known as Lockhart.
- The new console will likely have a big focus on streaming, as Microsoft unveiled its Project xCloud service in late 2018 and continues to double down on Game Pass.
- The next Xbox could be unveiled as soon as E3 2019.
At this point, there are far more questions than answers, but here's what we're able to piece together about the next chapter of Xbox.
Latest News and Rumors (March 2019)
- French website Jeuxvideo is reporting that Microsoft will unveil both of its new Xbox machines at E3 2019. The first device, codenamed Lockhart, will be an entry-level system that ditches the disc reader and does most of its gaming from the cloud. The previously rumored Anaconda machine will be a more typical high-end machine that will built upon the Xbox One X's power.
- According to Windows Central, Microsoft will release a cheaper, disc-less Xbox One S dubbed the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition in April 2018. This lends further weight to rumors that the company may also have a download/streaming-only version of its next-generation Xbox.
When will the next Xbox release?
Thurott's Brad Sams has reported that Microsoft is aiming for a 2020 launch, but also wrote that plans are still subject to change this far out.
In a July blog post, Microsoft teased that it will be showing "all-new Xbox hardware" at Gamescom 2018 on August 21. This could simply mean that we'll see new peripherals or a limited-edition Xbox One, but it's possible that the company may shed more light on what the next generation of Xbox could look like.
Will there be more than one console?
That does appear to be the case.
"The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming," Xbox head Phil Spencer said at E3. Notice that he said next Xbox consoles, plural.
The Xbox One X. Credit: Tom's Guide That could mean that the next Xbox will have several releases in its life span, the way we've seen the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X. But it could also mean that there will be multiple variations at launch with different capabilities and price points, much like we see with gaming PCs.
What are the specs for the new Xbox?
According to some specs that leaked in January 2019 via Jeuxvideo, the Xbox Lockhart model will run for $249 and pack an 8-core CPU, a 4-terflop GPU, 12GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and DirectX Ray Tracing support. The higher-end $499 Anaconda model will have a stronger 12-teraflop GPU and 16GB of RAM.
What games will launch with Xbox Scarlett?
According to the aforementioned Jeuxvideo report, the Xbox Scarlett line could launch with the highly anticipated Halo Infinite, which was first unveiled at E3 2018. The outlet also suggests that Ninja Theory, one of the many studios recently acquired by Xbox Game Studios, may have a new title ready for early 2020.
While Microsoft hasn't confirmed any concrete details on the new consoles being backwards compatible with everything that runs on Xbox One, it's hard to imagine that not being the case. Microsoft is still constantly building out its library of backward-compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 games that work on Xbox One, and often espouses a message of being able to take your games anywhere at its many press events.
Which brings us to streaming.
Will streaming be a big part of the next Xbox?
It sounds like it. Spencer and other Microsoft executives have spoken to the important of playing any game, anywhere.
"Our focus is on bringing console quality games that you see on TV or PC to any device," Spencer told the Guardian. "I want to see the creators that I have relationships with reach all two billion people who play games[.]"
In late 2018, Microsoft announced Project xCloud: a platform designed to let you play Xbox-quality games from the cloud on anything from a smartphone to a laptop. Microsoft didn't mention whether Project xCloud will be integrated into the next set of Xbox machines, but it seems like the next logical step for the company.
It's unlikely that streaming will be the only way to play games on Xbox. Not everyone has that kind of internet connection. But it's possible that the system will stream games to your phone, PC or even another system if that's where you want to play.