Microsoft announces three new Xbox console options and hints at its Xbox handheld plans

new Xbox console options
(Image credit: Xbox)

Microsoft has prepared three new Xbox console configurations for launch ahead of the holiday season. Admittedly, the new offerings aren’t earth-shattering, mainly switching up console color and storage options. However, in a post-showcase interview, Xbox chief Phil Spencer stirred some excitement by dropping the biggest hints yet about an Xbox Handheld.

During the Xbox Games Showcase a few hours ago Microsoft said it will release the Xbox Series X – 1TB Digital Edition in Robot White, and Xbox Series X – 2TB Galaxy Black Special Edition, in time for Christmas. It has also readied an Xbox Series S – 1TB in Robot White.

The new Xbox trio delivers mainly minor changes to styling and storage configurations. Microsoft’s biggest eye-brow-raiser at its showcase was probably the Xbox Series X – 1TB Digital Edition. Removing the optical drive should shave a few dollars off the Xbox Series X console price for digital-only gamers, and it will be available later this year for a $449.99/€499.99 ERP. However, the regular Xbox Series X – 1TB is currently on offer for $449.99 in the U.S., so the disc-less version will have to be cheaper to sell.

On the topic of Xbox Series X variants, Microsoft is also touting a new – 2TB Galaxy Black Special Edition. It is just a double storage version with a $599.99/€649.99
ERP. A speckled finish is supposed to invoke feelings of exploration and adventure in outer space…

Most affordably, the new Xbox Series S – 1TB in Robot White is simply a white version of the existing Carbon Black model. So, it delivers a new color option, that is all. Pricing of $349.99/€349.99 ERP is the same as the black model, and $50 more than the 512 GB edition. All Xbox Series S consoles are all-digital.

New Xbox configuration pre-orders will become available soon, promises Microsoft. If you are interested, keep your eyes peeled for announcements specific to your region.

Xbox Handheld ‘almost confirmed’

In an interview with IGN, held after the showcase event, Xbox's Phil Spencer did nothing to quash rumors about an Xbox handheld. Spencer interrupted the host, who highlighted the gap in the Xbox market and blurted out “I think we should have a handheld too!” Spencer went on to add that he was excited about the Microsoft development team’s work on “different form factors, different ways to play.”

Later in the interview, it was interesting to hear Spencer say that he thinks handhelds should play games locally, like the Asus ROG Ally, or Valve's Steam Deck. So, if there were to be an Xbox handheld in the pipeline, it shouldn’t be limited to games streaming. The audience watching the IGN interview cheered at this point.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • Metal Messiah.
    And, in a post-showcase interview, Xbox chief Phil Spencer dropped the biggest hints yet about an Xbox Handheld.
    Microsoft hints at its Xbox handheld plans...

    Later in the interview, it was interesting to hear Spencer say that he thinks handhelds should play games locally, like the Asus ROG Ally, or Valve's Steam Deck.

    This is Old news, well, kind of.

    Phil Spencer, has been dropping hints about a potential Xbox handheld for months now. Earlier this year, Feb 2024, he said he was “a big fan of handhelds,” after liking posts on X that mention the possibility of this new hardware.

    There have been persistent rumors of an Xbox handheld, and Spencer has been liking posts on X that mention the possibility of this hardware. “I’m a big fan of handhelds,” says Spencer. “I’m a big fan, but nothing to announce.”
    He does admit that there’s still a lot of work to do on the Windows side for handheld gaming PCs. “One of the weak points in the experience on a ROG or the Lenovo is Windows,” says Spencer.

    “How Windows works on controller input only on that kind of DPI, on a smaller eight- or seven-inch screen. That’s a real design point that our platform team is working with Windows to make sure that the experience is even better.”

    https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/15/24073723/microsoft-xbox-next-gen-hardware-phil-spencer-handheld

    Also, earlier this year Spencer has already talked about wanting a compact Xbox mode on a handheld gaming PC.

    “I want to be able to boot into the Xbox app in a full screen, but in a compact mode,” said Spencer in a Polygon interview. “Like I want it to feel like the dash of my Xbox when I turn on the television. on those devices.”
    https://www.polygon.com/24108660/xbox-handheld-console-phil-spencer-interview
    Reply
  • cknobman
    I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction that the Xbox handheld could very will be mostly useless without a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

    With the rise of so many PC handhelds now I would never go back to the subscription model.
    But as usual Microsoft misses the boat because they lack any vision.
    Reply
  • ET3D
    I think that hardware is already at a point where an Xbox handheld could run games as well as a Series S, so people could buy one and use it docked to replace a console and play on the go without losing performance.

    The main question is whether Microsoft will have a custom CPU for this, like Valve uses. Coupled with the price benefit of consoles, due to making money off games, this could make an Xbox handled seriously good value.
    Reply
  • ET3D
    cknobman said:
    With the rise of so many PC handhelds now I would never go back to the subscription model.
    What subscription did you have? What made you feel that it's bad value compared to buying games?
    Reply
  • edzieba
    ET3D said:
    What made you feel that it's bad value compared to buying games?
    Same reasons every other subscription is bad value: If you pause shelling out cash for even a moment, you lose everything. If the company you've been shelling out cash to goes under, you lose everything. If the company you've been shelling out cash to just up and decides "nah, we don't want to do that anymore", you lose everything.
    Reply
  • DS426
    ET3D said:
    ...

    The main question is whether Microsoft will have a custom CPU for this, like Valve uses. Coupled with the price benefit of consoles, due to making money off games, this could make an Xbox handled seriously good value.
    It seems like a natural fit to me that they continue using AMD semi-custom APU's; if they essentially use a slightly lower-clocked / efficiency-optimized version of the chips they are using now, MS can easily ensure that existing Xbox games will work fine with the new handheld with basically no workload for game devs. Another possibility is refactoring existing APU's to be produced in a smaller, more advanced litho node to get the efficiency and lower heat output needed in a handheld while maintaining the same levels of performance of at least the Series S.

    On another note, Phil Spencer is kind of a tool, but I'm happy to hear that he sees the value in having a handheld. I think Microsoft's research would find that the data is stronger in supporting it now than even just six months ago.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    Given how old the Xbox is now surprised no price drop and as always the increase in storage too costly.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    ET3D said:
    What subscription did you have? What made you feel that it's bad value compared to buying games?
    Hard to believe someone would ask this question and no understanding of why.

    I had game pass ultimate for my series X.
    Like @edzieba indicated I dont own any of the games I play.
    If I am in the middle of a game (I play infrequently) and they remove it from game pass I lose everything I was working on.
    If I stop paying every month I cant play games.

    On my steam deck I own everything.
    And I can buy my games for pennies on the dollar.
    They are mine online and offline.
    I can play them at any pace I want without fear of losing access to them or my progress on them.

    Subscription model is fine for obsessive gamers that consume games quickly and often then move on to the next "shiny" thing.
    For gamers who play less often, want to own their games so they can be played forever, and only pay once; subscriptions are a rip off.

    Most younger people dont understand.
    A subscription is the "carrot on a string".
    The hook to keep you paying.

    Just like renting your home.
    "You will own nothing and be happy".
    Reply
  • artk2219
    Honestly the one thing that i want to see, and that we probably wont see, is an external disk drive for the digital edition and Series S. Yes it voids the main reason for buying a digital only console, but it would be nice to be able to play those older XBOX One games that you already own, or that aren't available as a digital download. We're likely to see Halo infinite actually get a finished split screen co-op mode before we would see an external disk drive.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    I would say Microsoft should give up on this generation, but apparently they already have.

    When the Gamecube was flopping as badly as the XseX/S , Nintendo slashed the price to $99 and bundled some of the best games of all time.
    But what does Microsoft do? Another laughably redundant all digital version, which strips out the most used Xbox feature this generation (UHD movies) and they raise the price of the top end console by $100.... just for an extra $30 worth of storage that is only useful for downloading the exact same number of games that don't exist.
    The people on Xbox this gen are just playing the same 2 or 3 annual-franchise shovelware games over and over until the next edition comes out. They don't need the extra storage.

    Their target should have been an all-digital 1TB XSeX in a significantly more compact case, for $250 - with the XseS discontinued and their current unsellable stock on fire-sale at $150 or below.
    Since they apparently don't want to do that, these new revisions are a simply a waste of good development time and marketing money. Their next best choice would have been to cut off the current gen off at 5 years, and go all-in on their next-next gen console to rush it out the door by end of 2025.
    Reply