The Xbox Series X has a cheaper, less powerful sibling console codenamed “Lockhart” in the works, according to an Xbox developer kit leak from earlier this week that was today verified by The Verge (opens in new tab).
More proof of Lockhart, this time from the XDK/GDK release notes for June 2020. pic.twitter.com/hulDoC9owvJune 24, 2020
According to Twitter user @XB1_HexDecimal, the June release notes for the Xbox Development Kit reference a “Scarlett dev kit” that includes three different console modes -- “default, AnacondaProfiling and LockhartProfiling” -- as testing options. Since Microsoft’s codename for the Xbox Series X was Project Scarlett and a picture of an anaconda is etched into the Xbox Series X mainboard, the leak sparked speculation that “LockhartProfiling” refers to a new, unannounced next-gen Xbox.
an Anaconda snake is etched into the Xbox Series X mainboard, so what's going to be eteched into Lockhart? pic.twitter.com/cV7oXoDZmOMarch 17, 2020
Now, we have more to go on than screenshots and hearsay. According to The Verge today, it confirmed via anonymous "sources familiar with Microsoft's Xbox plans" that the Xbox developer kit does include a “special Lockhart mode." The sources also claimed that enabling the mode reduces the kit’s performance to the standards that Microsoft is planning to hit with an unannounced budget next-gen Xbox.
“We understand that includes 7.5GB of usable RAM, a slightly underclocked CPU speed, and about 4 teraflops of performance,” The Verge reported. “The [standard] Xbox Series X includes 13.5GB of usable RAM, and targets 12 teraflops of GPU performance.”
The report also pointed to Twitter user @bllyhlbrt (opens in new tab), who highlighted several Lockhart references in the Xbox One operating system, alongside references to Anaconda and Dante (the name of the developer kit, according to The Verge's sources).
Whether Lockhart will be included in the Xbox Series X branding or sold under a different name (Xbox Series S?) is unknown.
The Verge did, however, claim that the console is meant to target “gaming at 1080p or 1440p,” as opposed to the 4K at 60 frames per second standard the Xbox Series X has been advertising.
A second, less expensive console would fit into Microsoft’s announced, PC-like Xbox strategy, as the company has been adamant about the Xbox Series X and Xbox One maintaining the same library in the first few years after release.
This would eliminate the need to make or buy different versions of games for different Xbox consoles. Remember when Ubisoft made versions of Assassin’s Creed 4 for both PS3 and PS4? Instead, compatibility would be assumed, and a game’s performance would simply be decided by how powerful your machine is, opening the door for plenty of different models and configurations.