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Next-gen Xbox plans include AI-powered, crypto-enabled console

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Microsoft is dealing with a huge internal document leak and among the reveals are plans for the next-gen Xbox console. 

While people might sit back and daydream about what the future of gaming looks like, Microsoft basically gave fans a spoiler. The massive leak gave fans information on everything from discussions of a Microsoft takeover of Nintendo to estimates on the specs of the Switch 2. Perhaps the most interesting is a look at Microsoft’s plans for the next-gen console that will succeed the Xbox Series X/S.

Internal documents from 2020 to 2022 are not official announcements about official plans for a console estimated to come out several years in the future. Every console manufacturer plans the future ahead of time, and plans can change radically. All that said, this leak provides a complete picture of what Xbox might go for with its next-generation console and what might be in store for the industry as a whole.

xbox series consoles

When is the next-gen Xbox releasing?

According to internal documents, the next-gen Xbox might arrive in 2028, around 8 years after the release of Xbox Series X/S consoles.

The internal document dubbed “The Next Generation of Gaming at Microsoft,” which refers to the next-gen Xbox, is from May 2022. There’s a chance that plans might have evolved from a 2028 release and changes in the market and industry could result in that release window being pushed back or moved forward.

Xbox head Phil Spencer sent an email to Microsoft employees regarding the massive Xbox leak. In the internal email, Spencer expressed his disappointment about the plans that “were unintentionally disclosed” as part of the FTC vs. Microsoft case. Spencer also suggested that the plans may have changed as some of the information is now outdated.

“I know this is disappointing, even if many of the documents are well over a year old and our plans have evolved,” Spencer said in the memo. 

What are the next-gen Xbox features?

Microsoft is aiming for a “hybrid game platform” that will be capable of using physical console hardware and cloud computing to deliver better games.

The internal document unveiled the full vision for the next-gen Xbox which includes performance “beyond the capabilities of the client hardware alone.” This idea isn’t new, Microsoft has already tried this with the cloud-powered Wrecking Zone mode of 2019 shooter Crackdown 3. More recently,  Microsoft Flight Simulator uses the cloud to stream photorealistic scenes.

The leaked slide suggests the next-gen Xbox might be supplemented with a sub-$99 handheld device. The device would use xCloud to stream games directly to the handheld. The handheld’s suggested price is competitive, especially compared to the PlayStation Portal.

playstation portal

The next-gen Xbox may need a neural processing unit to tackle AI-based ambitions. Features like super-resolution, frame rate interpolation, procedural generation, and even support services will be aided by AI and machine learning. The console would also reportedly have the ability to utilize crypto wallets.

Three new Xbox controllers are also mentioned in another document called “Roadmap to 2030.” Alongside a standard controller and the aforementioned handheld device is another controller that would let players boot games on other devices. The controller can directly connect to the cloud as well as the next-gen Xbox, in a way similar to the failed Google Stadia.

On the hardware side, the next-gen Xbox would have an ARM64 vs. X64 Zen 6 processor and a Navi 5-based AMD GPU. The current top-of-the-line Xbox offering uses Navi 2x GPU.

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Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza.

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