What a thing to wake up to! While modern gaming industry leaks are commonplace (I still recall being blown away by the likes of Metal Gear Solid 2‘s Raiden focus that was somehow kept under wraps, which feels like forever ago – because it was!), you don’t come across true bombshells too often. As a result of the Microsoft and FTC fiasco that’s been going on this past year, we’re now privy to new (non-redacted) court documents that possibly showcase a ton of the Xbox team’s future plans. Although the FTC (via spokesperson Douglas Farrar) has gotten ahead of the situation and noted that they were “not responsible” for uploading the leaks to the court website; let’s dig right in.
One of Microsoft’s key strategies for gaming division growth has been acquisitions, and according to these documents, there might be more in the pipeline; as well as some, let’s say, high hopes. As shown in these letters from Phil Spencer, the following organizations were eyed in the past to be scooped up by Microsoft:
- Warner Bros. Games
The latter two are pie-in-the-sky wishlist-type acquisitions, but Spencer notes that bagging Nintendo would be a “career moment,” and “a good move for both companies.” Aim high!
More leaked Xbox games are coming, of course
Targeted game release windows were also part of the leak, and while current and prior releases were made public, future games are listed too. Here is everything shared in the docs, weighted heavily toward Zenimax/Bethesda:
- Indiana Jones game (FY 2022)
- Oblivion remaster (FY 2022)
- Elder Scrolls Online expansion (FY 2022)
- Starfield DLC (FY 2022)
- Doom Year Zero & DLC (FY 2023)
- Project Kestrel (FY 2023)
- Project Platinum (FY 2023)
- Elder Scrolls Online expansion (FY 2023)
- The Elder Scrolls VI (FY 2024)
- Project Kestral: Expansion (FY 2024)
- Licensed IP game (FY 2024)
- Fallout 3 remaster (FY 2024)
- Elder Scrolls Online expansion (FY 2024)
- Ghostwire: Tokyo Sequel (FY 2024)
- Dishonored 3 (FY 2024)
- Doom Year Zero DLC (FY 2024)
So the biggest takeaways here are obviously Doom Year Zero, Dishonored 3, an Oblivion Remaster, a confirmation of a Ghostwire Tokyo sequel, and a Fallout 3 remaster. All of those examples (including Ghostwire!) are technically established IP re-releases/sequels.
A new Xbox Series X refresh might be on the way
Every generation has a “pro” or “mid-generational refresh” phase, and it looks like Microsoft is going to partake with the Series X.
The “Xbox Series X refresh” (codenamed Brooklin) boasts “more internal storage, faster wi-fi, reduced power, and a more immersive controller,” as well as a full console redesign. It looks to sport a 2TB internal storage, as well as a USB-C front port, and a $499 price point. Sustainability will be a key mission for the new box, with reduced power consumption goals and 100% recyclable packaging.
The “world’s best controller” (codenamed Sebile) will have Bluetooth 5.2 support, with new mobile app compatibility, as well as more precise haptic feedback, “quieter buttons and thumbstick,” and a rechargeable/swappable battery. The thumbsticks are also apparently modular and have increased longevity.
An Xbox Series S refresh (codenamed Ellewood) is in the pipeline as well, and the plan is to include a Sebile controller in the box.
The next true Xbox/console generation is possibly slated to start in 2028
Interestingly enough, we might have some more info on when the next generation of consoles will start rolling out: 2028.
One document highlights each subsequent mainline Xbox console release (read: not refreshes/or “Pro” versions), and an “immersive game & app platform” that supports “cloud hybrid gaming” is potentially on track for a 2028 release. Remember the cloud? It’s back with a vengeance in 2028.
Worryingly for many, AI is a huge focus, with Microsoft touting that the next generation of gaming will be “powered by AI,” with “AI game testing.”
When is all this leaked Microsoft/Xbox stuff coming out?
According to the documents, the controller will be announced (in FY24 Q4) and released first (in May of the following year), followed by the mid-generation announcement of the Ellewood and Brooklin consoles; but their actual launches will be 60 days apart (with the Brooklin arriving in November of FY25 before the holidays).
Note that all of this could change at any time, including details, hardware specifics, and actual release dates. We’ve contacted Microsoft for comment and will update you if we hear a response.
Update: Microsoft responds
Microsoft responded to the leak on September 19, noting that some of this information is out of date and that the team would share their plans when they are ready.
Here’s the full statement from Xbox head Phil Spencer:
“We’ve seen the conversation around old emails and documents. It is hard to see our team’s work shared in this way because so much has changed and there’s so much to be excited about right now, and in the future. We will share the real plans when we are ready.”