We posted earlier about the hardware leaks of the next Xbox. Check it out here. Moving on, let’s get into some more juicy leaks. The report, based on leaked documents from Microsoft’s internal communications, reveals some closely guarded secrets of the Xbox division, including its future projects, acquisitions, and partnerships.
Key Insights from Confidential Xbox Leaks: Future Plans
- The Elder Scrolls 6, one of the most anticipated games of all time, is confirmed to be an Xbox console exclusive, meaning it will not be available on PlayStation or Nintendo. The game is expected to launch in 2026, according to a roadmap from Bethesda, which Microsoft acquired in 2020.
- Nintendo is working on a next-generation console that will succeed the Switch. The console was reportedly pitched to Activision in December 2022, suggesting that Nintendo is aiming for a 2023 or 2024 release date. The console’s specifications and features are unknown, but it is likely to compete with the Xbox Series X and S and the PS5.
- Microsoft is not resting and is planning to release updated versions of the Xbox Series X and S next year. The Xbox Series X (Brooklin) will be a smaller and sleeker version of the current flagship console, but it will also lack a disc drive, making it a digital-only device. The Xbox Series S will also receive a minor upgrade, but both consoles will retain their current prices of $499 and $299 respectively.
- Two of Bethesda’s most beloved games, Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, are getting remastered versions for the Xbox Series X and S and PC. The remasters will feature enhanced graphics, performance, and mod support, as well as new content and features. The release dates are not confirmed, but they are likely to coincide with the 15th anniversary of Fallout 3 in 2023 and the 20th anniversary of Oblivion in 2026.
- Microsoft is already looking ahead to the next generation of gaming and is developing a new Xbox console that will launch in 2028. The console is codenamed “Project Zephyr” and is described as a “next-generation hybrid game platform” that will combine cloud gaming, streaming, and local processing. The console will also support VR and AR technologies and will be compatible with all Xbox games and services.
- Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has been very ambitious in his pursuit of expanding Microsoft’s gaming portfolio. According to the leaked documents, Spencer has expressed interest in acquiring some of the biggest names in the gaming industry, such as Nintendo, Valve, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. However, none of these deals have materialized so far, due to various legal, financial, and cultural barriers.
- Microsoft is also working on new gaming hardware that will complement its consoles and services. One of these devices is a new game controller that will have direct-to-cloud connectivity, meaning it will not require a console or a PC to play games. The controller will use Microsoft’s xCloud service to stream games from the cloud to any screen. The controller is expected to launch in 2025 and will cost $99.
- Phil Spencer was very confident in the Xbox Series X and S before they launched in 2020. In an email to his team, Spencer stated that Microsoft had “a better product” than Sony’s PS5, citing the Xbox’s superior performance, design, and features. However, this email was sent before the current generation of consoles hit the market, so it is unclear if Spencer still holds this view after seeing the sales and reception of both consoles.
- An email chain among Xbox executives revealed that Microsoft faced some challenges in its 2022 game lineup due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the games that were pushed back include Halo Infinite, Fable, Avowed, Everwild, and Perfect Dark. To compensate for these delays, Microsoft sought to secure third-party deals with publishers such as Ubisoft, EA, Capcom, and Rockstar Games.
- Red Dead Redemption 2 might receive a next-gen update for the Xbox Series X and S and the PS5. The update will improve the game’s graphics, loading times, and frame rate, as well as add new content and features. The update is rumored to be released in late 2023 or early 2024.
The FTC has blamed Microsoft for the leaks but has denied any responsibility for uploading the leaked documents online. The FTC claims that Microsoft failed to protect its confidential information and that it has no control over what third parties do with it.
These leaked documents provide significant insight into Microsoft’s gaming plans and its competitive strategies in the gaming industry. They also raise many questions about how these plans will affect gamers, developers, publishers, and regulators.
What do you think about these leaks? How do you feel about Microsoft’s gaming vision? Let us know in the comments below.