Mid-gen refresh to launch next year.
Microsoft will launch a refreshed version of both the Xbox Series X and S next year, according to documentation included in an enormous leak of information from the company’s recent FTC court trial.
The company’s mid-gen refresh is slated to arrive in 2024, four years before plans for a proper next-gen Xbox console expected in 2028.
Next year’s new Xbox Series X (codenamed “Brooklin”) will be all-digital and sports a new cyclindrical design. It’s set for launch next October.
Brooklin is set to offer 2TB of internal storage, faster Wi-Fi and come with Microsoft’s refreshed Xbox controller. It will also draw less power, include a front-facing USB-C slot, and be offered at the current Xbox Series X price of $499.
The new Xbox Series S (codenamed “Ellewood”) keeps the current Series S look and $299 price. It’s set to launch slightly earlier, in August next year.
Ellewood features 1TB internal storage, and again – faster Wi-Fi, reduced power, and the new Xbox controller which also leaked today.
These details come from an internal Xbox document dated from April 2022, shared with the US Federal Trade Commission this year during its court case regarding Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition. This document then surfaced publicly last night, attached to a PDF alongside a treasure trove of other fully unredacted internal details.
Eurogamer has contacted Microsoft for comment.
Microsoft is pushing the sustainability profile of both refreshes, with the new Xbox Series X reducing its power by 15 percent and offering a new low-power standby mode just 20 percent the current Xbox Series S standby offering. The same new lower-power mode is also offered on the redesigned Series S, too.
Microsoft’s plans to announce, market and launch both console redesigns are also detailed. After first launching its new Xbox controller (code-named ‘Sebile’) at the end of May, it will then announce both the new Xbox Series X and S together at the end of June/beginning of July.
The launch of Ellewood in August and Brooklin in October will see a “60 separation between launches”, Microsoft wrote, to “enable dialogue with different audiences” and give the new Series S its “own ‘moment’ earlier in the holiday timeframe to maximise sales”.
Reflecting on its mid-gen console refresh plans, Microsoft said its new designs addressed customer feedback, such as the need for more storage on Xbox Series S, and the need for a rechargable or removable controller battery, with fast charging possible via the front USB port.
Microsoft expects to offer the current Series S (referenced in the documents with its codename ‘Edith’) at $199 for Black Friday before it is discontinued.
Eurogamer discussed Microsoft’s plans for new hardware with Xbox boss Phil Spencer at Gamescom last month as part of our exclusive interview with the platform’s chief. In it, he discussed locking in to a set of hardware power specifications for “five, six, seven years” and noted that changing any of those specifications put “a bunch of issues in front of developers”.
“Sometimes you feel really great about the price performance of the console early in the generation,” Spencer told Eurogamer. “And then later in the generation, we look at what’s happening on a PC. And we say, ‘how come our consoles can’t do that?’
“And the reason is, because when you plan for a console, you start two or three years before you launch it, and you kind of lock-in to a hardware spec. And then that’s the spec you’re gonna have for five, six, seven years. And because the pricing of consoles have gone up, it’s closer to PC than it’s probably ever been in terms of price and performance.
“As soon as you start doing mid-gen refreshes, you’ve got a bunch of issues in front of developers,” Spencer continued. “I think what we get ourselves into is this world of like, ‘Should we do a mid-gen refresh? Because we think every game should be 4K 60fps. And we’re not seeing that right now so, clearly, we need to mid-gen refresh.’ As soon as you start doing mid-gen refreshes, you’ve got a bunch of issues in front of developers, on what platform they target.
“And it starts to feel a lot more like PC – which is clearly a good ecosystem that’s healthy, but then I’m like, ‘Okay, well, what’s the difference then between console and PC, if we’re in this mode of every two years, a new GPU comes out, or CPU?'”
Today’s enormous leak also included a selection of unannounced Bethesda titles such as Dishonord 3, plus Spencer’s commentary on the possibility of buying Nintendo at some point in the future, which the Xbox boss stated would be a “career moment”.