The latest documental treasure trove outlines plans for a hardware refresh of both the Series X and Series S next year. Someone needs to tell Xbox boss Phil Schiller who just last month was telling reporters that there was no need for a mid-gen refresh.
Of course, you could argue that the document kind of proves his point, because we’re not looking at something that’s dramatically different from the models you can buy right now.
Storage is doubled (to 2TB for the Series X and 1TB on Series S which sounds familiar) with Bluetooth 5.2 radio and Wi-Fi 6E support on both. Be still my beating heart.
The Series X will also get a die shrunk to 6nm for better efficiency, and the console will need 15% less power to run.
Oh, and it’s now cylindrical for some reason — maybe to give Microsoft an excuse to take out the disk drive. That’s a change that the document calls “adorably all digital” which is a cute way of framing the removal of consumer choice, and also pretty weird for non-marketing material, but there we are.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the upcoming consoles is that they’ll feature an all-new controller, codenamed Sebille. It includes gyro support, modular thumbsticks and — praise be — a swappable battery. It’ll also feature a new ‘lift to wake’ function, meaning you won’t risk a career-ending finger injury pressing the power button too hard anymore.
Both consoles will keep the same price as the current models, apparently, but Microsoft is planning a two-month gap between next year’s releases. The Series S is set to arrive in September, while the X will arrive in November.
A “60 day+ separation between launches enables dialogue with different audiences,” apparently, and will also give Microsoft a chance to flog off old 512GB Series S models on Black Friday. Aren’t commercial imperatives marvellous?
These details going public so early is bad news for Microsoft, and it might make the company speed up the process if it can. After all, who’s going to buy a new Xbox when the company has accidentally signalled that a new and (slightly improved) model is just 12 to 14 months away?