The Xbox Series X is one of the most desirable gaming consoles on sale today. It is powerful, gives easy access to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service and hits the sweetest price-to-performance ratio. However, in a world where rumours of a Sony PS5 Pro have been doing the rounds lately (Microsoft had itself spoken about the possibilities of Sony’s upgraded PS5 console coming in 2024), it’s no surprise that Microsoft has plans for its own countermeasure with an updated Xbox lineup. We always knew that the 1TB Xbox Series S was the appetiser while Microsoft was secretly preparing the main course behind closed doors. Well, now we know what that main course comprises and we have to heartily thank Microsoft itself for leaking it.
First things first, we are getting two brand new Xbox consoles in the latter part of 2024. Don’t let your joy fly unbound just yet as these will be minor refreshes of the current generation Xbox Series X and Series S consoles instead of being full-fledged next-gen consoles. That said, the next-generation Xbox consoles are certainly happening, though they are still a couple of years away. We don’t know what they will be called (certainly Xbox ‘something something’) but Microsoft’s Xbox leak reveals the kind of system architecture these future gaming boxes will be packing.
Has this news halted your decision to bag one of those Xbox consoles during the upcoming festive season? Well, we can’t blame you, especially when the future of the Xbox gaming consoles over the next few years looks so exciting.
Xbox leaks: Has Microsoft spoiled its own party?
Spoiler alert – it has!
It’s well-known by now that Microsoft has been engaged in an appeal with the FTC for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. As part of the process, the legal team had to submit all the details regarding Microsoft’s future plans and this is where the ‘Oopsie moment’ occurred. The documents that contained the entire roadmap for the Xbox division were leaked to the world and the future of the Xbox is no longer a secret. Let’s have a moment of silence for Xbox’s marketing team.
It’s all good news for us though.
The revelations confirm three big plans for the Xbox consoles, two of which are expected to be made public by 2024. These two pertain to the midlife refresh of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S gaming consoles. Let’s take a closer look at these two.
What we know about the 2024 Xbox Series X update
The Xbox Series X has been on store shelves since 2020 (although it wasn’t readily available until the beginning of 2022). Now three years later, it’s but natural to expect a midlife refresh. To that effect, Microsoft is working on an updated Xbox Series X console that is most likely to be put on sale by late 2024. Codenamed Brooklin, this will be a midlife update for the Series X console that’s more in line with the Xbox One X. Sadly, it won’t be any more powerful than the Xbox Series X that’s already on the shelves right now. Consider this more of a cosmetic upgrade with improvements to power efficiency.
Mind you, those power efficiency improvements might result in the 2024 Xbox Series X losing its heft. Instead of the rectangular box, the new Series X will be a tall cylindrical console with no disc drive. It will bear a striking resemblance to the early generations of the Apple Mac Pro or the Amazon Echo smart speakers. Thankfully, the illuminated Xbox logo and a USB-C PD port will come to the rescue.
Inside, the 2024 Xbox Series X will continue using the same AMD Zen 2/RDNA 2 architecture chip. Microsoft will, however, be using the more efficient 6nm process instead of a 7nm chip, thereby resulting in a reduction of PSU power by 15 per cent and a new low-power standby mode that uses just 20 per cent of the power used in the current console’s standby mode. Simply put, it’s friendlier to Mother Earth.
The best upgrade, however, will be the inclusion of 2TB of onboard storage as standard. The console will also get Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for better wireless connectivity.
2024 Xbox Series X’s price leaks
With all the refinements, Microsoft aims to stick to the same price of USD 499 for the 2024 Xbox Series X. In other words, it’s wiser to wait a year if you have plans of buying the Xbox Series X.
What about the 2024 Xbox Series S?
The Xbox Series S has been a cash cow for Microsoft’s gaming division for the past few years and Microsoft has no plans of messing with its tried and tested formula. The Series S was designed to lure people into trying out the Xbox Game Pass at a reasonable price. Sadly, that reasonable price led to an unreasonable storage capacity, pushing first-time console gamers towards the Sony PS5 Digital Edition. Microsoft tried to correct this recently by updating the Series S with a new variant that comes in black and offers a generous 1TB of space. For 2024, the changes will be minimal.
Similar to the 2024 Xbox Series X, the 2024 Xbox Series S will retain its internals, which means there won’t be any increase in performance. Nevertheless, Microsoft does claim some efficiency gains. The console will also get Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for better wireless connectivity.
The updated Xbox Series S is more likely to be nicer to the environment and Microsoft’s marketing team will keep it nicer for the wallet too. At a starting price of USD 299, it doesn’t look like the Series S is letting go of its ‘most affordable gaming console’ tag anytime soon.
While the performance gains are minimal, the user experience is expected to improve multifold with the highly updated Xbox controller. Speaking of which…
Meet the new Xbox Wireless 2 controller
The Xbox leaks also reveal that the new Xbox Wireless 2 controller is going to take things up a notch with a couple of changes. A new design with refreshed ergonomics makes the Xbox controller look more like a part of the current-gen Xbox consoles. The controller will also feature enhanced connectivity with Bluetooth 5.2. Users will be able to connect and manage the pairing with all devices via a mobile app. The haptic feedback will see an improvement and thanks to the presence of VCA haptic motors, you also get onboard speakers. The presence of an accelerometer has been confirmed and the buttons are said to be quieter as well.
In line with the sustainability theme, the new Xbox controller is said to be easily repairable. There are new modular thumbsticks that add to the overall longevity of the controller. The old AAA batteries will be let go in favour of rechargeable and swappable batteries. A ‘Lift to Wake’ function will now switch on the controller as well.
Note: The new Xbox Wireless 2 controller will be bundled with the new Xbox consoles.
Xbox 2028: The future of Microsoft’s game consoles
The next generation Xbox console is due in 2028 and Microsoft is poised to take on Sony with serious firepower. The successor to the Xbox Series X is still in the development stages and Microsoft is currently choosing between the ARM64 and the AMD Zen 6 CPU architecture. While the decision is yet to be taken, the GPU will be developed with AMD based on the RDNA 5 architecture. This GPU should be able to support Next-Gen DirectX Raytracing.
A Neural Processing Unit (NPU) should also allow for improved machine learning on the console. The advantage of ML can be used in features such as super-resolution and frame interpolation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– When is the next-gen Xbox Series X expected to be released?
The updated Xbox Series X will be released in 2024 whereas the next-gen Xbox is expected to be ready by 2028.
(Hero and Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Padraig Treanor via Unsplash)