Earlier today, we reported on leaked news concerning Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S refreshes scheduled for a 2024 launch. Microsoft will redesign the Xbox Series X with a cylindrical shape, double storage to 2TB, add Wi-Fi 6E/Bluetooth 5.2, improve efficiency and kill the internal Blu-ray drive. However, leaked documents from the FTC vs. Microsoft court case also revealed the company's plans for a true, next-generation game console.
Leaked slides show that the Xbox Series X successor will land sometime in late 2028, although developer kits would likely ship a year earlier. Microsoft's vision for its Xbox Series X follow-up is to "develop a next-generation hybrid game platform capable of leveraging the combined power of the client and cloud to deliver deeper immersion and entirely new classes of game experiences."
Microsoft already relies heavily on the cloud with its current-generation console, with services like Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming. But this new endeavor aims to "enable new levels of performance beyond the capabilities of the client hardware alone."
So, what exactly will that mean for gamers? Well, Microsoft says that developers will release "cloud hybrid games." As The Verge aptly points out, Microsoft dipped its toes into this realm with Microsoft Flight Simulator. It would be impossible to cram photorealistic map data covering the entire world into a Blu-ray disk, and it would take up too much storage space even for a digital download. Microsoft Flight Simulator instead streams Bing Maps data, two petabytes worth, on-demand and in-game.
We'd imagine that Microsoft and third-party developers will take this "hybrid" approach to the next level by relying even less on local storage to carry the heavy lifting for game assets. This could even lead to a reduced reliance on including expensive, high-performance silicon inside the console and instead pushing the burden on server farms (think Xbox Cloud Gaming).
Microsoft says it is currently debating using ARM64 or AMD Zen 6 architecture for the CPU. Note that the Xbox Series X uses a custom Zen 2 CPU, while Zen 4 is used in present-day laptops and desktops. Microsoft appears to be leaning towards an AMD Navi 5x (RDNA 5) GPU compared to RDNA 3 for the current-generation Radeon RX 7000 Series (and a custom RDNA 2 GPU for Xbox Series X).
However, we must take these leaked documents with a grain of salt. Nothing is set in stone, especially for hardware not scheduled to ship to customers for another five years. These are Microsoft's alleged aspirational goals for the future of Xbox, and plans can and likely will change.