Rumors have surfaced about the existence of both a smaller Xbox One unit, as well as a more powerful version of Microsoft’s console, to be released next year.
Anonymous sources speaking to Kotaku have allegedly confirmed the development on an upgraded version of the Xbox hardware, which reportedly will feature a more powerful GPU capable of running Oculus Rift and is expected to launch next year. Little else has been revealed aside from the codename (Scorpion), though the report also says that Microsoft is in the process of closing a deal with Oculus as well.
In the more immediate future, the company is also expected to announce both a smaller iteration of the current Xbox One hardware; the would-be Xbox slim, said to have a 2 TB hard drive and 40 percent smaller form factor than the original hardware, is forecasted to release later this year, if reports from both Kotaku and The Verge are to be believed.
Finally, Gamespot is also reporting that two Xbox streaming devices are also likely to be unveiled at Microsoft’s E3 press conference next month, though the details on how these might work – one may be used for steaming media while the other can handle some games – are still unclear. Regardless, devices like these would certainly further Microsoft’s recent initiative to create a unified ecosystem between Xbox and Windows 10.
None of these rumors seem very surprising in the lead-up to E3. Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke in March about his interest in a more iterative future for consoles, and Microsoft has been pivoting away from the initial plans for the Xbox One, which originally included an always-online requirement as well as a convoluted and limited system for used games, since after the system’s launch in early 2014.
It’s anyone’s guess whether a potential new hardware revision might pare down or even abandon the Xbox One’s original approach, which focused on non-gaming applications as much as games themselves and currently uses an integrated OS that snaps back and forth between functions, an early effort to give the console an broader entertainment box feel. It’s unlikely that Microsoft plans to sit idle given Sony’s (also as-of-yet unconfirmed) plans for an upgraded PlayStation 4 capable of 4K output if not actual gaming – which may release as soon as September. Whether or not its performance will outclass Sony’s machine remains to be seen.
Neither streaming devices or a smaller Xbox One revision seems far-fetched, either. The former could be a way simply to bolster the bond between Windows 10 and Xbox hardware, or it could indicate a more streamlined upgraded console when it launches; a slim Xbox One has also been rumored before, but given the urgency of a new console probably on the horizon, now would be the time. (Microsoft previously announced the Xbox 360 Slim at E3 2010).
In any case, it’s been interesting to see how Microsoft has slowly started righting the massive Xbox ship since the missteps taken in 2013, pushing more toward games and across-device connectivity with Windows 10. At the very least, the company’s next year promises to be eventful.