A massive leak has just placed all of Microsoft’s cards on the table regarding its future Xbox game console plans. The leak was courtesy of unredacted documents (first noticed at Resetera) uploaded as part of the ongoing FTC vs. Microsoft court case related to the latter’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. As ever with leaks, take the news with a pinch of salt.
Not only do the docs provide specs for the alleged upcoming Xbox Series X refresh (codenamed Brooklin) and a new controller design (Sebile), but there are also images. The Xbox Series X refresh features an all-new design that is no longer a box at all. Instead, it is a tall, black cylinder somewhat reminiscent of the old “trash can” Mac Pro. This design seems best suited for sitting vertically, although we wonder if Microsoft will include a plastic cradle accessory in the box to sit it horizontally on a shelf or entertainment center.
You'll be disappointed if you were hoping for a performance boost with the refresh. Instead, Microsoft says it's using a new 6nm die shrink of the current AMD Ryzen SoC for improved efficiency. The reduced power demands also mean that the internal PSU is now 15 percent smaller and the new Xbox Series X's standby mode only consumes 20 percent of the power required by the current console.
Other changes include doubling the internal SSD capacity from 1TB to 2TB and upgrading the wireless radios to Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E. However, the most controversial change will no doubt be the removal of the internal Blu-ray drive. Yes, the Xbox Series X refresh is all-digital, or as Microsoft's internal slide proclaims, "Now adorably all digital." For gamers with a firm grip on physical media, this is a shocking reminder of the direction the industry is heading towards.
Microsoft’s Xbox Series X console will also come with a redesigned wireless controller with Xbox Wireless 2, Direct-to-Cloud and Bluetooth 5.2 support. The controller includes precision haptic feedback, quieter buttons, modular thumbsticks, an accelerometer and “VCA haptics [that] double as speakers.” The new controller also has a swappable and swappable battery pack.
According to the leaked roadmap, Microsoft’s new Xbox wireless controller will launch in June 2024, while the Xbox Series X refresh will launch in November 2024 for $499. An Xbox Series S refresh (Ellewood) with 1TB of storage, Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E will land in September for $299. Again, take the news with some salt until it can be verified.